Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have yet to lead Edmonton to its first Stanley Cup since 1990. But heading into Tuesday night’s game against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, the duo has accomplished something that Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Jari Kurri never did during the Oilers’ dynasty years of the 1980s.
That’s win 10 games in a row.
Edmonton set a franchise record with its 10th straight win on Saturday, prevailing 2-1 in overtime at Montreal to eclipse the previous mark of nine in a row set by the 2000-01 team. Gretzky and company never had double-digit win streaks en route to winning Stanley Cups in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.
“It’s pretty cool,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “This franchise has a rich history, so to be able (to set) a franchise record is pretty awesome.”
Evan Bouchard’s power-play goal at 2:01 of overtime kept the streak alive heading into a stretch that sees Edmonton play five of its next six games on home ice.
The winning streak is even more impressive considering eight of the wins came on the road. The Oilers allowed more than two goals in just two of the victories and have outscored their opponents, 40-17.
“There have been a lot of wins in this organization for a long, long time,” said Draisaitl, who scored his 20th goal of the season at Montreal. “So it’s hard to believe that they never won 10 games in a row back then, with the teams they had.
“It’s something to be proud of, of course. They’ve had amazing teams, and this is a big credit to our group. It wasn’t an easy start to the season, and we’re not looking to stop at 10.”
Toronto comes in with a three-game losing streak after losing 4-2 at home to Detroit on Sunday. The Maple Leafs have just three regulation losses on the road this season (11-3-6), the fewest in the NHL.
It’s the start of a tough four-game western swing for Toronto, which is in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs also visit Calgary on Thursday, Pacific Division-leading Vancouver on Saturday and Seattle — which had a nine-game win streak snapped Monday at Pittsburgh — in the trip finale on Sunday.
This is the second time since the Christmas break that Toronto has lost three games in a row. They rebounded last time to win four in a row, three of which were on the road.
“This is something we have been through before and bounced back and put together a good stretch,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “Obviously, it’s a difficult trip. Some really good teams that are playing very well, and more travel out west. We have to dust ourselves off and be ready for that trip.”
Toronto forward Auston Matthews leads the NHL with 33 goals while forward Mitch Marner scored his 18th goal in the loss to the Red Wings. It was Marner’s 600th career point and came in his 548th career game, the fastest in team history to reach the milestone.
Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler previously held the record at 584 games.
–Field Level Media
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