Oilers stuck in another losing skid as season of runs continues
It's been a roller-coaster season for the hot-and-cold Edmonton Oilers and the team is once again cold as the holiday break nears.
The Oilers are currently mired in a three-game losing streak that has come on the heels of an eight-game win streak that began to turn the team's season around.
Despite a coaching change, the Oilers remain a streaky team this season and have yet to post a one-off loss this campaign.
The Oilers season to date has gone as follows:
Two-game losing streak
Four-game winless streak (one point earned)
Four-game losing streak
Three-game winning streak
Three-game losing streak
Eight-game winning streak
Three-game losing streak (current)
Add it all up and Edmonton is 13-15-1 on the season and back to sitting well outside the playoff picture.
After closing to within one point of the final wild-card spot after on Dec. 13 after an eighth straight win, the Oilers enter play Thursday seven points back of the Arizona Coyotes for the last playoff spot, though with two games in hand.
“Not great timing,” defenceman Mattias Ekholm told the Edmonton Sun after the Oilers' latest loss - a 3-1 defeat to the New York Islanders on Tuesday. “We need wins right now; we need points right now.”
“As much as tonight is no fun and it sucks, we have to turn the page quickly and move on,” he added. “We have two more games before Christmas and those are crucial games for us.”
Head coach Kris Knoblauch's record since taking over the team has dropped to 10-6 amid the Oilers' current stretch. The team opened the 2023-24 campaign with a 3-9-1 record before firing Jay Woodcroft.
Following Tuesday's loss to the Islanders, the Oilers remain on the road for two more games before their holiday break – Thursday against the New Jersey Devils and Friday against the New York Rangers. The Rangers lead the Metropolitan Division with 45 points, while the Devils are fighting to enter the playoff picture after a slow start to their season.
“It’s disappointing, we certainly could have had two out of those three games,” Knoblauch said reflecting on losses to Islanders, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. “The next two games are going to be very difficult for us.”
Following the back-to-back games, the Oilers will be back on the road after their break, taking on the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks over the span of four nights to close out their 2023 calendar.
Brown to be a healthy scratch Thursday?
Connor Brown appears set to serve as a healthy scratch as the Oilers try to shake things up for Thursday's game.
Brown skated as an extra during line rushes in practice Wednesday, while Adam Erne entered the forward group on the fourth line. Sam Gagner moved into Brown's spot on the third line with Mattias Janmark and Ryan McLeod.
The 29-year-old winger has just one assist in 23 games this season after joining the Oilers as a free agent in July. Brown played just four games last season with the Washington Capitals due to a torn ACL.