Skip to main content


Oilers, Flames in trouble as key U.S. Thanksgiving mark arrives


Being in the playoff picture at American Thanksgiving is usually a good omen for the remainder of the NHL season.

With the holiday here south of the border, the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames are among the teams on the wrong side of the standings. 

Last season, just two teams in each conference failed to reach the postseason after owning a playoff spot on Nov. 24.  

In the Eastern Conference, the Detroit Red Wings dropped out the picture after sitting third in the Atlantic Division with a strong 10-5-4 start, and the Pittsburgh Penguins lost their grip on the final wild-card spot after starting 10-7-3. The New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, who sat in the two spots behind the Penguins, made up ground to claim playoff spots. 

In the Western Conference, the Flames dropped out of the playoff picture after holding the top wild-card spot with a points percentage of .553. The St. Louis Blues also technically fell out of the final wild-card spot, though they sat tied with the Minnesota Wild with a points percentage of .526 at the mark. The Wild and Oilers, who had a points percentage of .500 at American Thanksgiving, went on to claim playoff spots.

No team that sat worse than 10th in their conference at the Nov. 24 mark last season reached the postseason - and that does not bode well for the Flames or Oilers this year. 

Calgary dropped to 7-9-3 with Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators, leaving the Flames 11th in the Western Conference with a .447 points percentage. 

The Oilers poor start only got worse Wednesday with a 6-3 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Oilers now sit a 5-12-1, 14th in the West in both points (11) and points percentage (.306).

Edmonton surged after a 10-10-0 start last season, eventually finishing second in the Pacific Division with a 50-23-9 record. The team faces a much tougher path to overcoming their slow star this year, now under the guidance of head coach Kris Knoblauch after Jay Woodcroft was fired on Nov. 12.

The Canucks and Jets have positioned themselves nicely at the Thanksgiving mark, with Vancouver sitting fourth and Winnipeg tied for fifth in points percentage in the West. The Canucks have not made the playoffs since 2020.

Western Conference Standings by points percentage

Rank Team Record Points P%
1 Vegas Golden Knights 14-4-2 30 .750
2 Los Angeles Kings 11-3-3 25 .735
3 Dallas Stars 12-4-2 26 .722
4 Vancouver Canucks 13-6-1 27 .675
T5 Colorado Avalanche 12-6-0 24 .667
T5 Winnipeg Jets 11-5-2 24 .667
7 St. Louis Blues 10-7-1 21 .583
8 Seattle Kraken 8-8-5 21 .500
T9 Anaheim Ducks 9-10-0 18 .474
T9 Arizona Coyotes 8-9-2 18 .474
11 Calgary Flames 7-9-3 17 .447
12 Nashville Predators 8-10-0 16 .444
13 Minnesota Wild 5-8-4 14 .412
14 Edmonton Oilers 5-12-1 11 .306
15 Chicago Blackhawks 5-12-0 10 .294
16 San Jose Sharks 3-15-1 7 .184


Senators Playoff Hopes Intact

If keeping a top-10 spot in your conference at this time is a key component in making the playoffs, the Ottawa Senators are right where they need to be. 

The Senators sit 10th in the East with a points percentage of .533 thanks to a 8-7-0 record to start the year. No team, however, has played less games this season than the Senators at 15. Ottawa is 15th in the Eastern Conference in points, but with as many as five games in hand on teams in the playoff picture. 

A 15-game month December could go a long way in determining whether the Senators can reach the postseason for the first time since 2017. 

Elsewhere in the East, things appear bleak for the Montreal Canadiens despite their win over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Montreal sits tied with the Buffalo Sabres for second-last in the East with a .474 points percentage. While still just three points back of the Red Wings for the final wild-card playoff spot, no team reached the postseason with a points percentage below .500 at the Nov. 24 mark last season. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs are in a strong position to claim a postseason spot for the eighth straight season, currently sitting fifth in points percentage in the East.

Eastern Conference Standings by Points Percentage 

Rank Team Record Points P%
1 Boston Bruins 14-1-3 31 .861
2 New York Rangers 13-3-1 27 .794
3 Washington Capitals 10-4-2  22 .688
4 Florida Panthers 12-6-1 25 .658
5 Toronto Maple Leafs 10-5-2 22 .647
6 Carolina Hurricanes 11-7-0 22 .611
7 Detroit Red Wings 9-6-3 21 .583
8 Tampa Bay Lightning 9-6-5 23 .575
9 Philadelphia Flyers 10-8-1 21 .553
10 Ottawa Senators 8-7-0 16 .533
11 New York Islanders 7-6-5 19 .528
T12 Pittsburgh Penguins 9-9-0 18 .500
T12 New Jersey Devils 8-8-1 17 .500
T14 Buffalo Sabres 8-9-2 18 .474
T14 Montreal Canadiens 8-9-2 18 .474
16 Columbus Blue Jackets 5-11-4 14 .350