Oilers prospect Kristians Pelss is probably getting used to winning games in Edmonton, something not many Oilers are used to. Photo courtesy Lisa McRitchie, all rights reserved.
When it comes to the Edmonton sports scene the Oilers cast a pretty large shadow. The Eskimos are able to shift the spotlight onto them during the summer, on game days, and when they make a ridiculous trade, but for the most of the year the Oilers dominate the sports pages and they get most of the attention of local sports fans. The teams a rung further down the ladder than the Eskimos – Capitals, Edmonton FC, Oil Kings, Golden Bears, etc. – are, at times, all but forgotten.
The Oil Kings advertising slogan "The Other Oil In Town" goes so far as to reference to Oilers with a don’t forget about us vibe to it. Still, based on the size of the crowds at games, it would seem that the Oil Kings are being forgotten more often than not. This is a little unfortunate because the Oil Kings are quietly putting together a great season, one of the best that hockey fans in Edmonton have seen in a very long time and tonight will be trying to do something that the Oilers have never done, win their tenth straight game.
The Oil Kings last lost on November 19 in Lethbridge; since then they’ve won nine straight games – matching the Oilers franchise record set in the 2000/01 season – including eight during their current home stand and have been absolutely dominant along the way. They have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 54-18 over the last nine games and have won more games by four or more goals (five) than they have by three goals or less. In total the Oil Kings have trailed only three times for a total of 18:03 during their current streak. Saying that it’s been a good run would be a bit of an understatement.
Thanks in large part to their winning streak the Oil Kings have shot up the standings and now sit atop the WHL’s Eastern Conference with a 21-8-3 record and have a WHL best +47 goal differential (+1.47/game). Where the Oil Kings really shine though is at Rexall Place where they’ve won 14 of 16 games this season and are on a current 13 game winning streak and have outscored their opposition at a 2:1 rate. If you were curious the Oilers longest home winning streak is eight games which they did first in 1984/85 and again the following season.
If you’re a fan of the Oilers like I am this level of play at home could seem hard to understand at first, and there is good reason for that. In the last 20 seasons the Oilers have won more games than they’ve lost only seven times and haven’t posted a winning percentage over 0.600 since 1987/88. If the Oil Kings win just two more home games this season (they have twenty remaining) they will be guaranteed a better winning percentage than the Oilers have posted in any of the last three seasons.
Even through the last few seasons I’ve never tired of going to watch the Oilers play but I can honestly say it’s a very different feeling going to a game and expecting the home team to win each and every night. If all goes well with the rebuild the Oilers could be at that point in the near future, the Oil Kings are there right now.