The Edmonton Oilers aren’t peaking at the perfect time.
They’ve just been elite overall.
The Oilers, who are trying to chase down the top spot in the Pacific Division and Western Conference, have been the National Hockey League’s top team for quite some time.
Since January, in fact.
Edmonton, who recorded its first back-to-back 100-point seasons for the first time since the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons, have led the NHL since January 10 in points percentage — topping that of the Presidents Trophy-winning Boston Bruins over the past three months.
“I think however the other team plays, their type of style, we have the guys in here that are smart enough, have had enough experience to play that way,” goalie Stuart Skinner told reporters after Edmonton’s latest outing, a 3-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
“Depending on the type of game that’s played and depending on the time of the period all situations are different. It just shows our guys are ready for any type of style. I thought we’ve been playing really, really well, just consistently, especially the past little bit here. It goes to show.”
With a win tonight, EDM hits 100 points for the 2nd straight year, the first time that’s happened since 1987, when the Oilers wrapped up their 6th consecutive 100-point campaign. pic.twitter.com/p1TSRLLGyF
— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) April 5, 2023
The Oilers have played at a .778 points percentage pace since that date, topping the Bruins’ mark of .770 atop the NHL standings. Further, since the NHL Trade Deadline on March 3, Edmonton has completely dominated to the tune of a .844 points percentage, nearly .100 points better than the Vegas Golden Knights’ run of .765.
“I thought the Oilers were a better team,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said after Edmonton bested Boston in a head-to-head matchup March 9. “They were good. We weren’t good enough. I thought they outplayed us, outworked us, outcoached us.
“It was a good lesson for us to learn because they played well.”
Edmonton, who could become the first team to feature three 100-point players since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins, still has an outside shot of catching Vegas for the top spot in the West.
They’ve been fuelled by several elements of late, including a historic, record-setting power play, a franchise record-netting netminder who is inching into Calder Trophy candidacy, and, of course, the NHL’s top player producing at a pace unseen in three decades.
It bodes well for the playoff chances of a team that advanced to the Western Conference Final a year ago before losing out to the eventual Stanley Cup winner.
They aren’t just hitting their stride — the Oilers are setting the pace, as the stats and standings clearly show.