In 11 short days, the Edmonton Oilers went from a fragile club on a three-game losing streak, their season very much in jeopardy, to being the hottest team in the NHL.
And now, instead of wondering if this team will even make the playoffs, people are daring to dream about how much damage it can do when it gets there. And about what GM Ken Holland can do at the trade deadline to makes those dreams a reality.
“A couple wins in a row can really change the mindset and get the belief a little higher,” said winger Evander Kane, who might turn out to be the most productive pre-deadline addition in the league. “We got healthy and started playing a lot tighter as a unit of five and that’s really helped our game and led to success.”
This is a stark turnaround for a team that was 2-5-1 heading into the homestand. The Oilers were playing some good hockey in that stretch, posting narrow losses in Tampa Bay and Carolina, but in the end they were just good enough to lose. And when teams they should have beaten decided to push back, like Montreal and Chicago, the Oilers blinked first and handed over the points.