The Edmonton Oilers won their fifth straight Sunday night with a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues at Rexall Arena. The win pushed the Oilers’ record to 7-2-2, their 16 points good for first place in the Western Conference.
Not too shabby for a team that finished last overall in 2010-11.
Edmonton’s strong start begs the question…are the Oilers, like, good now?
The knee-jerk answer is no, they are not good now. Unless you think:
—- Nikolai Khabibulin, 38, can win the Vezina with the greatest stats in modern hockey history.
—- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18 years old), Taylor Hall (19), and Jordan Eberle (21) can supply half the team’s offense all season.
—- Ryan Smyth, 35, can stay healthy and keep contributing.
—- Shawn Horcoff’s rebirth is legit.
—- A back end getting big minutes from the likes of Tom Gilbert, Corey Potter, Jeff Petry, Ladislav Smid and Cam Barker can maintain the NHL’s best goals-against average.
—- It makes absolutely no difference the Oilers played eight of their first 11 at home.
Edmonton heads out on a six-game road trip starting Thursday in Los Angeles, with subsequent stops in Phoenix, Montreal, Boston, Detroit and Chicago. If you’re a bookie, you’re making the Oilers underdogs in all six games.
Indeed, it could all come crashing down for Edmonton in the next two weeks. However, it’s worth noting they predicted the demise of the 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche – a team with a number of similarities to the 2011-12 Oilers – all season long and the Avs held on to make the playoffs.