(Image courtesy of sportsnet.ca)
With the 2016/17 iteration of the Edmonton Oilers finally giving fans something to cheer about, it appears that the darkest chapter in team history has drawn to a close.
Let’s be clear: that is no hyperbole. Between the 2006/07 and 2015/16 seasons, the team collected 43.5% of all available points. That’s bad enough, but when you consider that 90 of those points were “earned” by losing in extra frames (overtime, shootout) it become obvious that those numbers are actually a bit inflated. Over the same span of time, the Oilers posted a putrid 38% winning percentage (37.98%, to be precise).
That said, even the darkest stretch of years in team history had some bright spots. Today we dig into three of the happiest moments for Oilers fans between the 2006/07 and 2015/16 seasons:
- Andrew Cogliano’s Third Consecutive Overtime Winner [March 11, 2008]
The 2007/08 season was by far the Oilers’ best during what is now known as the “decade of debacle”. Three rookies in Sam Gagner, Andrew Cogliano, and Robert Nilsson combined to form what local media dubbed “The Kid Line”. An offensively lethal unit, they formed one of the NHL’s most productive lines in the second half of the season and kept the Oilers in the playoff hunt until the second-last game of the season.
But what many fans remember most is Andrew Cogliano’s record-setting overtime goal against the St. Louis Blues. With seconds left on clock, Sam Gagner tossed a last-ditch backhand pass into the crease, which Cogliano hammered past Manny Legace to secure his third overtime winner in as many games – a record which stands to this day.
- Ben Scrivens Shuts Out the Sharks With 59 Saves [January 29, 2014]
By the start of 2014, the Oilers were already languishing under rookie coach Dallas Eakins (who was altogether just an odd and demanding personality). Things had gone from bad to worse. Enter masked man Ben Scrivens who, two weeks to the day after being acquired from the L.A. Kings, caught lighting in a bottle in front of a sellout crowd at Rexall place.
59 shots is like two nights of work in one for a goalie, but Scrivens stared down the dominant Sharks time and time again. His defencemen melted down repeatedly, but “the professor” didn’t give an inch. Things obviously didn’t work out for Scrivens in Edmonton, but on that cold night in January he etched his name into team and league history.
- Sam Gagner’s Eight Point Night [February 2, 2012]
While Gagner’s loving life these days, the years that followed his great rookie season in Edmonton were tumultuous. It certainly didn’t help that the Oilers rushed him into the NHL; Gagner was only 17 years old when the Oilers selected him in the 2007 Entry Draft, turning 18 mere weeks before the beginning of the NHL preseason.
Against the juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks, Gagner orchestrated one of the greatest individual outings in NHL history with four goals and four assist in the 8-5 win. Gagner became the 11th player in history to collect eight points in a game, and only the second to get a point on all eight of his team’s goals. No wonder fans still cheer when he visits Rogers Place.