Fall too far behind the pack in the NHL, even early in the season, and it can be very hard to climb back into the race.
That fear is starting to weigh on the 3-7-1 Edmonton Oilers as they look to wrap up the month with road games in Phoenix and Los Angeles, followed by a home contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“That’s for sure the concern,” forward Jordan Eberle told the Edmonton Sun. “We’ve played a lot of road games and we know we have a lot of home games coming up … but we’re four games below .500 right now. The next few games are must-wins.”
Part of the issue is how good the Pacific Division — and really the Western Conference in general — has been. The Oilers are already seven points behind in the race for a playoff spot. If they lose against the Coyotes this afternoon and the Kings on Sunday, then they’ll be nine points behind in the postseason berth race by the end of the weekend.
The Oilers have dealt with some serious injuries already, including ones to forwards Sam Gagner (jaw) and Taylor Hall (knee). At the same time, Edmonton needs to demonstrate that its young team is willing to move past the rebuilding phase and that’s a hard argument to make as long as the Oilers sit in the Western Conference basement.
When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.
With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).
As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.
Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.
Kane also tied Denis Savard (1985-86) for second-longest streak in Chicago history. Bobby Hull had a 21-game streak.