Lessons in last season for Oilers

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:27 AM ET

This season is all about lessons for the Edmonton Oilers and often history can be the most valuable teaching tool.

Coming home from a successful road trip where they won all three games, the Oilers are on a high and feel pretty good about themselves.

On Friday, they even took a well-earned day off.

It’s a similar mood the team found itself in at this time last year, coming home after winning every game of five-game road trip.

They went on to lose 20 of their next 21.

This year’s edition won’t come close to matching that run of futility.

There’s too much talent and when it gets going, that talent — regardless of how young it is — is proving difficult to stop.

Yet it would be in the Oilers’ best interest to momentarily look back at last season and realize how quickly the bottom can fall out of the year.

At the time, the Oilers believed they might be able to climb their way back into the playoff race. A similar sentiment is being bandied about this year.

Yet, what started last year with a hard-fought 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings, a game in which Matt Green, of all people, scored the game winner for the visitors, spiralled into the one of the nastiest losing skids on record and ended with the worse season in team history.

“This gives you confidence in your team,” said Jordan Eberle, following the 5-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. “Especially when you come on a road trip and do this (win all three games). But we need to carry this into our next game and learn from it as well.”

On Saturday, the Oilers play host to the St. Louis Blues, who incidentally, they beat in the fifth and final game of that memorable road trip a year ago.

And just like a year ago, the Oilers will be on an extended home stand where they have a golden opportunity to build on their road accomplishments.

After the Blues, the Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets.

With the possible exception of the Canucks, it’s not exactly the cream of the NHL crop. There are plenty of wins out there to be had.

Such was the case last year with the Kings, Nashville Predators and Blues among the teams the Oilers were facing.

This is a different Oilers team with a new outlook, fresher legs and brighter future.

But if they don’t learn from history, they may be doomed to repeat it.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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