The young, rebuilding Oilers have surprised by catching fire and climbing 17 spots in SI.com’s Week 10 NHL Power Rankings.
Mid-December is a long way removed from mid-April, but this is worth noting just the same: If the NHL season were to end today, the Edmonton Oilers would have earned a berth in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Now, there’s every reason to believe that this remarkable situation—built on six consecutive wins and some dismal play from their Pacific Division bunkmates—won't last. The Oilers, as they proved while allowing 49 shots to Boston on Monday night, remain a deeply flawed team, especially in the defensive zone. But thanks to some remarkable goaltending from Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson, and a deep and dangerous group of forwards, they're finding ways to win games they would have thrown away earlier in the season.
With their next three on the road, this streak will face a stiff challenge. But with only one playoff spot in the Pacific truly spoken for, and Connor McDavid's return just around the corner, Edmonton is getting closer to the point where it will have to be taken seriously.
Biggest jump: Edmonton Oilers (23 to 6)
Biggest drop: New York Rangers (12 to 21)