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Why Are the Edmonton Oilers Playing So Well Right Now?

For a team that hasn't had much to cheer about over the past decade, this certainly changes things. The Oilers equaled their best start to a season this week with a win over Nashville and there are additional reasons, on top of McDavid, Draisaitl and the power play, that has Edmonton in the spot they're in.
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For a team that hasn't had much to cheer about over the past decade, this certainly changes things.

The Edmonton Oilers equaled their best start to a season on Wednesday with a win over Nashville and there are additional reasons, on top of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the power play, that has Edmonton in the spot they're in.

Here's a look at what has gone right at this point:

Unbeaten against the rest of the West

Everyone knows how big it is to get wins against teams in your conference and Edmonton has excelled in that department. Among the victims this year include Vancouver, Calgary, Vegas, Anaheim and Nashville.

The last time Edmonton went unbeaten in the first month of a season against teams inside their conference and division came in 1984-85, with the club posting an 8-0-2 record that October.

Simply forcing overtime has been a tall task for any western team, with the Canucks being the only team to do so thus far.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his interesting point production

Some might say he’s having scoring trouble, others might see it as great that he’s still putting up points. But the play of Nugent-Hopkins is still worth mentioning.

So far this season, the Nuge has put up 13 points, but no goals. The most tenured member of the roster has been taking all in stride and hasn’t been down about the fact that he’s yet to put the puck in the back of the net.

“It's one of those things where I've been on streaks or slumps, whatever you want to call it like this before in my career," Nugent-Hopkins said. "You stick with it and it will come eventually, maybe I need one to bounce off of me to go in but, the main thing is we're winning right now and it's a lot of fun when we're winning".

The attention is on the power play but don’t forget about the penalty kill

The power play has been deadly – they're the only team to crack a 40 percent total at 46.4 –  but the penalty kill also deserves some love. It currently sits fifth in the league at a mark of 88.9 percent, making them one of the most rounded-out special teams units in the league.

For coach Dave Tippett, it comes as no surprise to see the penalty kill's impressive play early in this campaign. He credits assistant coach Jim Playfair for making things work, even after bringing in new faces to the fray.

"It takes a little bit at the start to get a feel for who...chemistry with pairs, chemistry with D-men," Tippett said. "We added a couple of new D-mento that mix, Bouchard was kind of new. There's a couple of things, when players come from other teams there's little tweak you make. It took a little time to get everyone up to speed. Our guys, both our special teams have been really good. For a penalty kill you need a good plan in place, smart players and you have to have a goaltender that will make some saves for you. We've had, you know knock on wood we've been pretty good with all three".

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