by Lisa McRitchie on 11/24/11 at 02:30 AM ET
The Edmonton Oilers are off to their best start in years it would seem, but just how good? The last two seasons were of course 30th place, and this team looks as though it just might make the playoffs. Ultimately, it’s interesting to see just where improvements have come from.
In the 2009-10 season the Oilers were 8-10-2, the next year 2010-11 the Oilers fells to 5-11-4 through their first 20 games. This year the Oilers are a remarkable 10-8-2, nearly as many wins as the last two years combined. It was easy to see that the team was winning more games, but when you see them lined up next to each other, it sheds a new light.
The other very remarkable thing is that the goals for totals haven’t changed very much through the three seasons. The opponents are different, and of course every team in the NHL seems to get better or worse every year, but still, it is remarkable that the Oilers consistently seem to score approximately 50 goals through their first 20 games.
In terms of goals against, that is where the big difference can be seen. There have been several games where fans and writers have remarked that the Oilers have played boring hockey, that’s what you get when your team plays a strong defencive game. With a total of 49 goals against through the first 20 games, last year’s total of 82 is a distant memory. While the Oilers’ blue line seemed to be the biggest question mark going into this season, it seems that lessons have been learned and significant changes have occurred during the off-season after all.
Games lost by 1 goal: 2011-12 = 4, 2010-11 = 5, 2009-10 = 8
Games lost by more than 2 goals: 2011-12 = 5, 2010-11 = 6, 2009-10 = 6
Games Oilers were shut out: 2011-12 = 1, 2010-11 = 2, 2009-10 = 3
Games Oilers shut out opponents: 2011-12 = 2, 2010-11 = 1, 2009-10 = 0
As mentioned, the Oilers despite their lack of consistent wins lately, look as through they can be a playoff team and as a result Oilers’ games have been much more exciting to watch. This is only 20 games into an 82 game season, but the results to this point are quite encouraging.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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