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Game Thread: Oilers vs Ducks - The Return of Home Ice Advantage?

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As the Oilers get ready to take on the Anaheim Ducks, we look at how the Oilers have fared on home ice over the last decade. It isn't pretty.

Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

"The Oilers have been so bad over the last ten seasons that they [insert random, almost certainly depressing, fact here]."

Sometimes when I'm finishing that sentence I feel a little bad about it. Taking a shot at the Oilers is really low hanging fruit at this point. The Oilers have been bad, we get it, does it need to continually pointed out? But then I reflect back on the years of incompetence, followed by years of being intentionally bad, followed by even more incompetence, and whatever sympathy I might have felt for them simply fades away.

One aspect of the Oilers' play over the last decade that's been particularly frustrating has been their performance on home ice. With the benefit of last change and a friendly (they were once, understandably less so today) you'd think the Oilers would at least be able to put up a fight in games on home ice, giving the fans that paid good money at least a little something to get excited about. Nope. Over the last nine seasons the Oilers won the fewest home games of any NHL; 149 out of 352. Think about that for a second, for the better part of a decade the Oilers lost almost 60% of their home games.

But wait, it gets worse. Over the last nine seasons only five other teams managed to lose more games on home ice than they won: Atlanta/Winnipeg, Columbus, Toronto, the Islanders, and Florida. You know things are going well when that's the group you're listed with. The Oilers are the only team in the league to have a points percentage below 0.500. Their goal differential (-130) is 55 goals worse that the Maple Leafs, the second worst team over this span. And they're one of only two teams, the Sabres being the other, to have a negative shot differential at -883; the Sabres look like world beaters by comparison, with a shot differential of -331.

This year though things have been looking up for the Oilers on home ice, with 15 wins in 27 games. Not a record that most teams would be excited about, not should they be, but it gives the Oilers a fairly decent chance to finish with more wins that losses - six wins in 14 games is doable even for them - for the first time since 2007/08. And there have been some exciting games for the home crowd too. A third period comeback against Montreal, seven goals versus the Rangers, a lopsided win over the Leafs. The team still isn't much to look at but at least there's a bit of a buzz in the building this season. Just in time to close up shop and move to a new arena.