Oilers winning streak ends 2624

LAS VEGAS -- The Edmonton Oilers put up a good fight but came up short in their quest for an NHL record.

The Oilers lost 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Tuesday, ending their winning streak at 16 games, one shy of the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest in NHL history.

“We had a lot of things go right, obviously. Winning 16 straight you have to have things go well and you have to get some bounces, and we got some bounces, but I thought we went out and earned our bounces and earned our luck,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “Tonight, we didn’t go out and get it. Credit to them. They make a shot and they’re able to clog it up enough to get it done. We’re disappointed that we lost tonight. It’s been a while since we’ve done that (it was Edmonton's first loss since Dec. 19), and you forget sometimes how much you hate losing and it’s a good reminder.”

With the winning streak now over, the Oilers (29-16-1) will try to get back to making up ground in the Pacific Division. Although they gave up two points to the Golden Knights (30-15-6) on Tuesday, they are only seven points back of them for second with five games in hand.

It's a far cry from Nov. 12, when Edmonton was 3-9-1 and hired Kris Knoblauch to replace Jay Woodcroft as coach.

“I can only speak for myself, but I’m kind of happy I don’t have to talk about [the streak] anymore,” Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “Obviously, you want to win every game you can, but at the same time, the closer we got to this record, I feel the more and more talk there was about it, and now it’s kind of behind us and we have to start a new streak. We have to keep playing well down the stretch to get into the position we want to be.”

As the Oilers inched closer to the record, talk of the streak did intensify outside of the locker room. Along the way, Edmonton surpassed the longest streak in its history (nine games) and the longest by a Canadian team in League history (12). At 16 wins, it is tied with the 2016-17 Columbus Blue Jackets for the second-longest streak in League history.

Yet all things eventually come to an end. Even so, the focus for the Oilers was never the number, but the process, trying to play up to their potential every night.

“We do approach every game one game at a time, but it’s an 82-game schedule and it’s tough to bring your best every night and you don’t know what you’re going to get from the opposition,” Knoblauch said. “The opposition can come out and have unbelievable games, and even if you are pretty good, it’s not good enough. I think that kind of showed tonight. I thought we were pretty good, but it wasn’t good enough."

Small margins made a big difference on Tuesday.

For example, while on the power play in the second period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the puck bounce to him alone in the slot, but his shot grazed the shin pad of Chandler Stephenson and deflected wide.

Later, on the same man-advantage, McDavid teed the puck up for Evan Bouchard to step into, but his shot hit the inside of the goal post and bounced out.

Leon Draisaitl had another outstanding chance at 10:03 of the second. McDavid rounded the net, leaving Adin Hill rooted at one end of the crease, and sent a pass to Draisaitl at the other side of the net, but he shot it back across the grain, hitting Hill as the goalie dove across in desperation.

Finally, at 12:10 of the third period, Hill made an outstanding save on Draisaitl by anticipating a pass coming to him from Zach Hyman.

“I liked a lot of parts of our game. I thought it was a very similar game to those we played throughout the entire streak. We just didn't find a way to get a win,” McDavid said. “Their goalie made some big saves. It’s always a tough game in this building, and we were expecting that. It’s disappointing and we move on.”