Oilers win 16th straight by pouncing on Preds, one away from tying record
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers’ impressive win streak has reached a sweet 16.
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman also scored for the Oilers (29-15-1) who became just the third team in NHL history to have a streak hit the 16 game mark — the Columbus Blue Jackets won 16 games in 2016-17, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won a record 17 straight in 1992-93.
“It’s special,” Draisaitl said. “It takes a lot of good efforts and a lot of good games to get to that number. We have been a bit sloppy the last three games but have obviously had some individual performances that have gotten us the wins. You need that sometimes too. It’s been a great stretch for us.”
The Oilers are now 24-3-0 in their last 27 games — the third team in NHL history to do that as well — and have gone a franchise-record 14 consecutive games allowing two or fewer goals.
“It’s exciting, obviously it’s a great run, obviously the goalies have played great,” McDavid said. “This past week wasn’t our best hockey and we found a way to get three wins, which is a great sign. We’ve gotten great goaltending, the back end has been good, the kill has been amazing, those are all good things.”
Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner made 29 saves to improve to 19-2 in his last 21 starts.
“It’s been really impressive,” Skinner said of his team’s ability to keep the other team from scoring during the streak. “It’s been a lot of fun being able to be on the back end of these things. We did everything we could to keep the puck out of our net.”
Colton Sissons scored for the Predators (26-22-1), who have lost three of their last four.
"I thought we outplayed them but unfortunately it doesn’t matter when you don’t get two points,” Sissons said. “It still hurts.”
Edmonton started the scoring eight minutes into the opening period on the power play as Nugent-Hopkins slid into the high slot and took a feed from Draisaitl before unleashing a quick wrist shot that beat Predators goalie Kevin Lankinen for his 12th goal of the season. McDavid picked up the other assist to extend his home scoring streak to 18 games.
Nashville had several solid chances in the first, none better than on their own power play four minutes later when it looked like Luke Evangelista had a sure goal, only to see Skinner come up with a huge blocker save.
The Oilers’ power play came through again with just over eight minutes remaining in the middle frame as McDavid sent it across to Draisaitl who unleashed a wicked one-timer for his 23rd. The goal was Draisaitl’s 800th career point, making him the fourth-fastest player to reach the milestone, doing so in 683 games.
Edmonton gave itself a bit of a cushion midway through the third as McDavid picked the puck up in traffic and went to swing behind the net before banking the puck off of Lankinen’s backside from behind the goal line for his 20th.
Nashville finally ended Skinner’s shutout bid with 6:33 to play in the third during a scramble in front of the Edmonton net as Sissons batted in a loose puck for his 13th of the season. It was the first goal Edmonton had allowed in 158 minutes of play.
Edmonton regained its three-goal edge with three minutes left to play as Hyman was able to score his 30th of the season into an empty net.
“I thought we played a really good game 5-on-5,” said Nashville head coach Andrew Brunette. “Some self-infliction again tonight with careless penalties and the best power play and the best player in the world made us pay.
"I thought we created enough to win the game but I think we kind of gave up a little bit too much. The penalties and the power-play goals really hurt.”
It was the third and final meeting between the two teams after splitting the first two contests. The Oilers won 6-1 in Nashville on Oct. 17 before suffering a 5-2 defeat in Edmonton on Nov. 4. … Veteran forward Corey Perry made his debut for the Oilers after signing a one-year deal with the team on Monday. He played 12:44 and had no points. … The Oilers came into the game having not allowed more than two goals since Dec. 22 and having outscored their opposition 58-23 during their winning streak. … Predators blue liner Tyson Barrie was a healthy scratch, missing out on the chance to play his 800th career game against his former squad in Edmonton. … Nugent-Hopkins played in his 846th game, passing Glenn Anderson to become fourth in all-time games played for the Oilers.
Predators: Play the final game of a three-game road trip against the Senators in Ottawa on Monday.
Oilers: Have a lengthy break before travelling to Vegas to face the Golden Knights on Tuesday, Feb. 6.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2024.