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Reflections on the Oilers’ Loss of Their 16-Game Win Streak

The Edmonton Oilers 16-game winning streak is over. What did the team learn through their successful streak and its final conclusion?

The Edmonton Oilers’ remarkable 16-game winning streak has come to an end in Las Vegas. While it was going on, it was a remarkable stretch of games that pulled the Oilers from almost the bottom of the NHL into a strong playoff position. It also pushed them into NHL history books.

Looking back on the streak, what was learned, what lessons can be taken away, and what needs to happen moving forward?

Reflection One: The Oilers Lost When They Played Well

Interestingly enough, the streak ended not because the Oilers played poorly. While I haven’t looked at the advanced analytics, I’d bet they favored the Oilers. They likely should have won, except for the valiant effort of Adin Hill in the Golden Knights’ net. Save for one two-on-nobody short-handed breakaway by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Hill stopped everything.

Oilers McDavid and Golden Knights Adin Hill

In the end, the Oilers fell short in a hard-fought 3-1 loss. The defeat serves as a reminder of the fact that even a solid game can end up in a loss. That’s the nature of professional sports, where even the most extraordinary achievements can be ended by the unpredictability of the game. I’m glad the Oilers lost by playing well. It should steel them for the playoffs, where undoubtedly it will happen yet again.

The disappointment is fresh as McDavid noted after the game, but the team still should have a sense of pride in their accomplishment. To use a Vegas expression, the Oilers defied the odds. As they did so, they captivated hockey fans. This was a game that I wasn’t about to miss.

Reflection 2: The Unyielding Spirit of Never Giving Up

The Oilers showed remarkable determination during their 16-game winning streak. It’s hard to win even a game in this league. Yet, the team won 16 of them in a row. That demonstrates their ability to overcome challenges and emerge victorious. It couldn’t have been easy to keep fighting and not give up. Even in Tuesday night’s game, despite the end of their streak, their Oilers’ determination never waned.

The point is that this game – this loss – will help set the concrete of a strong foundation for future success. The Oilers’ journey was a time when the team learned to pull together toward the commitment to win and by doing so by overcoming obstacles, adversity, and just bad luck. There’s no way the team has not come out the other side stronger and more determined than they were when they began. They also learned to play together. They turned from an offense-focused team into a 200-foot team that can play (and win) close games. This streak is going to help them in the long run.

Reflection 3: Lessons Learned During the Streak Point Forward

Perhaps the Oilers’ player who learned (and grew) the most was goalie Stuart Skinner. His play was stellar. His performance was the key factor in the Oilers’ success. He also became the number one goalie on this team. The Oilers are no longer beating the bushes for any breathing goalie a team might want to give up. He’s the guy!

Oilers Stuart Skinner is carrying his team.

Skinner’s remarkably consistent play solidified the Oilers’ net. It has provided Edmonton with strength and confidence in the crease. Skinner’s play points forward to the Oilers’ remarkable defensive efforts from the goal outward. They are better set for the playoffs than they’ve been in two decades.

As the Oilers’ streak ends, the team has learned a ton of valuable lessons that will help them prepare for a long postseason journey. These lessons have made them more playoff-ready. This is the kind of journey the Oilers can draw on as they contend for the Stanley Cup. It should give them a leg up – a competitive edge.

Just as the loss of the game to the Golden Knights was surprising because the Oilers played better than their opposition, the Oilers might not win the Stanley Cup this season. That truth said they are far more prepared to do so because of this 16-game winning streak. Congratulations to them on the accomplishment.

Related: Streak Snapped: 3 Takeaways from Oilers 3-1 Loss to Golden Knights

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