After starting the 2021-22 NHL season 16-5-0, the Edmonton Oilers have dropped five consecutive games and are now on their longest losing streak since the 2018-19 season.
Edmonton’s latest defeat, a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Place on Saturday (Dec. 11), left the Oilers with an 0-4-0 record on their current six-game homestand. Edmonton had previously been beaten at home by the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild and Los Angeles Kings and lost on the road to the Seattle Kraken.
Words can’t express just how bad things have gone for the Oilers during this stretch. It takes some truly jaw-dropping statistics to illustrate Edmonton’s woes.
First Goal Against
Edmonton has surrendered the first goal in 14 of its last 17 games, going back to Nov. 5, which is two moreover that stretch than the next closest team, the Arizona Coyotes, who sit at the very bottom of the overall NHL standings.
As horrifying as that sounds, the data gets particularly egregious over the Oilers’ current 0-5-0 skid, during which the team has fallen behind 1-0 every time. Over those five games, the opposition has scored the icebreaker at 2:01 or earlier three times, while Edmonton’s goaltenders (Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner) have made an average of just three saves before conceding a goal.
Koskinen, who on Saturday was beaten by Hurricanes star Sebastian Aho at 7:17 on Carolina’s sixth shot, has now allowed a goal within the first six shots against in 11 of his 16 starts this season.
Time Oilers Have Spent Trailing
The Oilers have not held the lead for even as much as a single second during their losing streak. Over those 300 minutes of hockey, Edmonton has been tied for 44:01 (15 percent of the time) and trailed for 255:59 (85 percent).
What’s more, the Oilers have trailed by at least two goals for 86:20 (29 percent), and it gets worse at home, where the Oilers have trailed by two or more goals for 79:44 (33 percent) over their last four games. That’s an average of virtually one full period every game that the Oilers have found themselves staring up at a multi-goal deficit on the Rogers Place scoreboard.
Draisaitl and McDavid’s Points
Seems like it was just yesterday (actually, it was only a week and a half) that the hockey world was giddily talking about Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid both averaging over two points for an entire season and Draisaitl making a run at 50 goals in 50 games.
With 45 points apiece, Edmonton’s Dynamic Duo still holds the top two spots in the NHL scoring race, but has produced well below their lofty standards over the last four games, during which McDavid has no goals and three assists, while Draisaitl has two goals and no assists. That’s a combined 0.50 goals and 1.25 points per game from a tandem that was combining to average 1.68 goals and 3.86 points in 2021-22 prior to beginning this homestand.
In the last four games, Draisatil has gone without a point three times, while McDavid has been pointless twice. In two of those games (against Carolina and Los Angeles), both players failed to record a goal or an assist.
Including the last eight games of the 2020-21 season, Draisaitl and McDavid had a streak of 27 consecutive regular-season games with at least one point between them but have now both gone pointless in three of the Oilers’ last seven games.
To that end, the last few games have been an indictment of the Oilers’ depth scoring. With Draisaitl and McDavid being held in check, no one else has stepped up for Edmonton, which during its five-game losing streak, has just two goals from a forward other than Draisiatl or McDavid.
In the last four games, Edmonton has just five goals total and scored more than one goal only once. This after the Oilers had scored at least twice in 21 of their first 22 games.
Oilers’ Special Teams Percentages
When they woke up Dec. 5, the day they began their homestand, the Oilers ranked first in the NHL with a 35.3 percent power play and second in the league with an 88.4 percent penalty kill.
Edmonton has since gone 2/14 (14.3 percent) with the man-advantage and a ghastly 6/12 (50 percent) on the PK in losing four in a row at Rogers Place. After being scored on while shorthanded in only six of their first 22 outings, the Oilers have allowed at least one power-play goal in four consecutive games.
As worrisome as these recent trends are, the Oilers have trailed by just one at some point in the third period of every game during their losing steak. So there is reason to give McDavid the benefit of the doubt when the captain said during Saturday’s postgame media availability that he’s not worried because his team’s had a shot at winning the games.
The Oilers will next look to reverse course on Tuesday (Dec. 14), when they return to action to host the surging Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Place.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.