June 24, 2024

Since winning their first game as head coach on November 13, the Edmonton Oilers, led by Kris Knoblauch, have amassed an incredible 26-6 record—the best in the league during that time. Knoblauch’s work thus far has earned a well-deserved “A” mark, according to a recent review on the “Oilers Now” program.

GENE'S BLOG: New Kid on the Knoblauch | Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers have led the league in goal differential since taking over at the head coach’s position. They also rank third in goals per game, which is not surprising considering their potent attacking line. Even more astonishing—and somewhat uncharacteristic—is that throughout that time, they have only allowed 2.28 goals per game against, good for second place in the NHL.

The Oilers are one victory away from creating NHL history by tying the record for the longest winning streak—they haven’t lost since December 19. They have won 16 straight games. Nevertheless, throughout the team’s winning run, Knoblauch has made a number of excellent judgments. We’ve highlighted five of his strategic picks below that have been crucial to the team’s continued success.

The Oilers hosted the Los Angeles Kings at Crypto.com Arena on December 30. In the first period, the Oilers rallied to tie the score after the Kings had taken an early 2-0 lead. Captain Connor McDavid scored the opening shootout goal as the game went into overtime. Leon Draisaitl failed to score on his third try, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took second and beat Cam Talbot.

The Oilers would win the game if they scored on their next opportunity after Anze Kopitar was stopped, as the score was so close heading into the fourth round. The next logical pick for the shootout was Zach Hyman, who was on pace to score 56 goals this season, but Knoblauch followed his gut and went for 37-year-old Derek Ryan, who had only scored three goals this season.

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