Red-hot Oilers pursue record win streak, host Blackhawks
Posted on: 25 Jan, 2024 at 12:32 PM
Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
With a franchise-record 14-game win streak already in hand, the Edmonton Oilers will try to take another step closer to the all-time NHL mark when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
The Mario Lemieux-era Pittsburgh Penguins hold the NHL record with a 17-game streak set during the 1992-93 season, while the 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets own the second-longest run at 16 games.
One would have to like Edmonton's chances of extending its win streak to 15 on Thursday.
Chicago is playing the second game of a back-to-back that began with a 6-2 loss at Seattle on Wednesday. The Blackhawks are an NHL-worst 4-21-1 away from home and have lost 18 consecutive road games (0-17-1), one off the franchise record set in 1953-54 and matched in 2003-04. The Blackhawks' last road victory came on Nov. 9, a 5-3 win over Tampa Bay.
The Oilers overcame a slow start on Tuesday to extend their streak with a 4-1 victory over the visiting Blue Jackets. Evander Kane scored the go-ahead goal in a third period that saw Edmonton record three unanswered goals. Stuart Skinner made 27 saves to extend his personal win streak to 11 games, breaking the single-season team record of 10 in a row set by Hall of Fame member Grant Fuhr in 1985-86.
"It means a lot," Skinner said of breaking Fuhr's record. "I was feeling a lot of emotions, especially when I went out on the ice for the first star. It's pretty cool to be able to break a record from one of the best goalies to ever live."
Edmonton had just 13 shots on goal in the first two periods but entered the final period tied at 1-1 thanks to the goaltending of Skinner.
"That honestly could have been a 5-0 deficit after two periods," said forward Warren Foegele, who had a goal and an assist. "(Skinner) was rock solid. He's been playing unbelievable."
"We got away with one," Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said. "I think in the third period we played a really strong period, and that's how we've played the majority of the stretch. They were the faster team for the first 40 minutes. We only had 13 shots in the first two periods. It wasn't good enough.
"The other teams are getting really excited to play us. We're on a winning streak, they know we're playing well. They're excited to end that streak. We're getting the other team's best now."
The injury-plagued Blackhawks learned earlier this week that star rookie Connor Bedard will be out at least another six weeks with a fractured jaw sustained on Jan. 5. They will be playing the third contest of a four-game road trip that began with a 2-0 loss at the Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
Chicago trailed 2-1 after the first period in Wednesday's contest at Seattle before the Kraken received second-period goals by both Alex Wennberg and Brandon Tanev. Nick Foligno's power-play goal early in the third period cut the Blackhawks' deficit to 4-2 but Seattle pulled way after that with a pair of goals by Tomas Tatar.
"We can't play two or three good shifts and have one bad one," Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We've got to make sure we're more consistent. That's what we've been trying to do all year, and we're not there yet."
Tatar's first goal came seconds after Ryan Donato was stopped on a breakaway that would have cut the Seattle lead to 4-3.
"We let the guys know, if (the Kraken) get a change of possession, they will blow the zone," Richardson said. "So we were aware of it. We missed it for about two or three seconds, and that's all it takes."
--Field Level Media