The Edmonton Oilers made the playoffs just once during the 2010’s. As the decade comes to a close, it is hard to look at the last ten years as anything but a massive failure.
As is the case with everything in life, however, there were positives and bright spots for the Edmonton Oilers over the course of the last ten seasons. There was a handful of games that Oilers fans can’t, won’t and shouldn’t forget.
10: Opening Night Magic (October 7th, 2010)
The first game of the 2010-11 season was a memorable one for a number of reasons. It was the first game of the new era, with Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi making their NHL debuts.
Eberle would create the highlight of the season at 1:24 of the third period with his first career goal, while Nikolai Khabibulin would stop 37 shots on his way to a shutout victory.
Gilbert Brule, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Oilers in the 4-0 victory.
9. So Long, Captain Canada (April 12th, 2014)
Ryan Smyth’s legendary NHL career came to an end at Rexall Place on this night. Although he didn’t score, Smyth was the focal point on this night. He wore the captain’s C, gifted to him for the evening by Andrew Ference, and provided emotion and energy all night.
Roman Horak scored his only goal as a member of the Oilers in the win, while Jeff Petry, Will Acton, Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all chipped in with goals.
Ben Scrivens stopped 40 shots in the 5-2 victory. One of the highlights on this night was the act of sportsmanship shown by the Canucks during Smyth’s tearful farewell postgame.
8. McDavid’s Return (February 2nd, 2016)
In his first game back from a broken collarbone, Connor McDavid stole the show as the Oilers blew out the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 at Rexall Place. McDavid made a beautiful move and scored his 6th goal of the season at 9:58 to give the Oilers a lead they would not lose.
Eric Gryba scored his first as an Oiler on this night, while Benoit Pouliot, Leon Draisaitl and Eberle also found the back of the net.
Cam Talbot made 36 saves in the victory, which was highlighted by McDavid’s magical move.
7. The Professor Is In (January 29th, 2014)
Ben Scrivens’ career with the Oilers didn’t go the way anyone was hoping. On this night, however, Scrivens played his way into the record book. The Spruce Grove native made a club record 59 saves on his way to a shutout victory over the San Jose Sharks. It was the most saves ever in a shutout in league history.
Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall and Eberle scored the goals, but this night was all about the netminder. Scrivens’ performance sent the fans home happy and had everyone believing, for one night, that perhaps the Oilers had found their goaltender of the future.
The Sharks finished the night with a Corsi For of 72.5% and completely dominated the Oilers. It was Scrivens who made it all happen on this night.
6. Draisaitl Stuns Canadiens (October 29th, 2015)
This Thursday night started off as a disaster. The Canadiens got goals from Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell and Alex Galchenyuk to build a 3-0 lead in the first period of play.
Leon Draisaitl scored with just 52 seconds left in the second period, but no one thought much of it. Brandon Davidson smashed home his first of the season at 6:15, then Benoit Pouliot evened things up with his third of the year at 10:43.
An electric Edmonton crowd was then treated to the first truly big moment of Draisaitl’s career, as the German scored with just over a minute to play to give Edmonton a highly unlikely regulation victory.
5. McDavid’s Wild Ride (February 5th, 2018)
The spotlight was on Nikita Kucherov and the elite Tampa Bay Lightning when the night began. When it ended, the 23-24-4 Edmonton Oilers stole the spotlight thanks to a 6-2 drubbing of the Bolts at Rogers Place.
The highlight of the night? Of course it was Connor McDavid. In a battle of the stars, McDavid scored four goals and finished with five points as the Oilers dominated this hockey game.
McDavid scored once in each of the first two periods, then added two in the third to complete a night for the ages. Kucherov, meanwhile, was held off the scoresheet as McDavid began to pull away on his way to yet another Art Ross Trophy.
4. Yakupov Slides Into Edmonton’s Heart (January 24th, 2013)
The career of Nail Yakupov was a massive disappointment. His star never shined brighter than it did on this night, when the emotional forward tied the game with just five seconds left. Yakupov’s second NHL goal sent Rexall Place into a frenzy after the club had a goal disallowed seconds earlier.
Sam Gagner would score the overtime winner 3:01 into the extra frame and the Oilers would improve to 2-1-0 on the season.
No moment from this season is remembered more than Yakupov’s goal and ensuing celebration.
3. Sam Gagner You Are Ridiculous (February 2nd, 2012)
There’s something about the day February 2nd and the Edmonton Oilers. Four years before McDavid’s sensational goal, Sam Gagner stole the show with eight points as the Oilers doubled up the Blackhawks 8-4.
Gagner finished with four goals and four assists to set a franchise record for points in a game. He scored all three of his goals in the third period, and tallied six of his eight points overall in the final frame.
The Oilers as a team scored five in the third period, getting three from Gagner and one each from Cam Barker and Eberle.
2. Draisaitl Forces Game Seven (May 7th, 2017)
Leon Draisaitl made his presence known to the rest of the NHL on this Sunday afternoon in Edmonton. Draisaitl scored twice in the game’s first 7:22 to give the Oilers a lead, then added two assists later in the contest.
Leon put the exclamation point on this win with a powerplay goal to complete the hat-trick at 15:27 of the third period.
The Oilers rolled over the Ducks, crushing them 7-2 and forcing a Game 7 on the road that few people thought they would lose. They did lose, unfortunately, and the Oilers haven’t returned to the playoffs since.
Draisaitl’s performance on this day was simply sensational, and might be the best performance of the decade by an Oilers player.
1. Desharnais Completes The Comeback (April 20th, 2017)
Trailing 3-1 late in the second period of Game 5, the Edmonton Oilers appeared to be in trouble. If they couldn’t comeback, the Oilers were heading back to San Jose facing elimination. It would be a tall task for the club to get back home for a seventh game.
Mark Letestu scored his first of the playoffs at 18:33 on the powerplay, giving the Oilers a sense of life heading into the third period.
The Oilers reacted by completely dominating the next 38:15. Oscar Klefbom blasted his second of the series home at 17:14 to force overtime, which is where David Desharnais etched himself into Oilers history.
Desharnais scored his first of the playoffs crashing the net at 18:15, taking a feed from Draisaitl and beating Martin Jones. The win gave the Oilers a series lead, which they closed out two nights later in California.