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THROWBACK THURSDAY: No lack in numbers

EdmontonOilers.com looks at the different rarities, common sights and unique facts behind the variety in digits worn by Oilers players over the club's 40-year history

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays

EDMONTON, AB - What's in a number?

You'd have to ask the Oilers players who've made up the 654 different number combinations in franchise history on what led them to go with their choice.

If it's not the name on the back or the crest on the front, numbers are a big identifier for fans and players alike. 97 has become synonymous with Connor McDavid, and 34 always comes to mind when thinking of another Oilers favourite like Fernando Pisani.

It could've been their birth year like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' 93, a special familial connection to 45 for Joe Gambardella, or just the one they were assigned when they were younger like Mikko Koskinen's unorthodox number 19 as a goalie, but numbers can say a lot about a player and the style of hockey they play.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Holiday history

The Oilers have celebrated the holidays on 12 occasions with a 6-4-1-1 record overall on Boxing Day against the Rockies, Flames and Canucks

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Oil Country.

Games on Christmas used to be a common sight in the NHL before the league ended the practice in 1972. A year later, games on Christmas Eve were scrapped as well, leaving Boxing Day as the only festive fixture remaining over the holiday period.

The Oilers weren't around in the early '70s to celebrate December 25 at the rink, but the club throughout its history has played 12 games on the following day and are 6-4-1-1 overall on Boxing Day against three opponents ­- the Colorado Rockies, the Calgary Flames, and the Vancouver Canucks.

As part of a festive Throwback Thursday, EdmontonOilers.com looks at the Oilers history on Boxing Day.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: 2016 Heritage Classic

Cam Talbot became the third goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout in an outdoor game as the Oilers blanked the Jets 3-0 at Investors Group Field.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 3, Jets 0 | Box Score

It was the second outdoor game in the franchise's history. Thirteen years after Edmonton played in the NHL's first outdoor game in 2003, the Oilers faced the Jets at Investors Group Field, home of the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Some would call it the ideal conditions for a game outdoors. However, temperatures above zero degrees Celsius didn't stop Cam Talbot from rocking a toque on his helmet, just as Jose Theodore first did it back in 2003.

And with over 33,000 fans in attendance, it was number 33 between the pipes who stole the spotlight. 

Talbot turned aside all 31 shots he faced for the 12th shutout of his career, becoming the third goaltender in NHL history to record a shutout "under the lights."

 Video: Heritage Classic Recap on NHL Now

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Return to Royalty

As the retro royal blue jerseys make a return to Rogers Place, EdmontonOilers.com looks back at the team's 1990 Stanley Cup victory.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 4, Bruins 1 | Box Score

"Once again, Hockey Night in Canada salutes the Edmonton Oilers. Stanley Cup champions, 1990!"

It was the fifth and final Stanley Cup victory during the Oilers dynasty. Yet, there were a few notable differences in the championship photo this time around.

For one, there was no Wayne Gretzky hoisting hockey's ultimate prize. Instead, it was Mark Messier who dawned the 'C' - his first championship as team captain and fifth Cup overall.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Eliminating Hitch and the Stars

In one of the most iconic games in team history, the Edmonton Oilers defeat Ken Hitchcock and the Dallas Stars in Game 7 with Todd Marchant's overtime winner.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 4, Stars 3 (OT) | Box Score

It's one of the most iconic games in Edmonton Oilers history.

Ron Low and the Edmonton Oilers versus Ken Hitchcock and the Dallas Stars. Game seven.

The Oilers were making their first post-season appearance in five seasons. Led by Doug Weight, Ryan Smyth and Curtis Joseph, Edmonton squeaked into the NHL Playoffs with a 36-37-9 record - one of four teams to qualify for the playoffs with a winning percentage below 50 percent.  

Ken Hitchcock led a Dallas squad featuring Mike Modano, Joe Nieuwendyk and Andy Moog to first place in the Central Division (48-26-8). The 1996-97 season was Hitchcock's first full season behind the bench - he was hired halfway through the 95-96 season, replacing Bob Gainey.

 Watch: Youtube Video

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: November 15, 2002

After being acquired exactly two years prior, Anson Carter had two goals while Tommy Salo turned aside 29 shots for his first shutout of the season as the Oilers routed the Blues 5-0.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 5, Blues 0 | Box Score

After missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons in 2001-02, the Oilers quest to make it back to the big dance was off to a rocky start. Beginning the season with a 5-7-3-1 record, Edmonton had a stiff test against the 10-3-1-0 St. Louis Blues.

Third-year Head Coach Craig MacTavish was coming off 39 and 38-win seasons in his first two seasons and had a well-balanced group to deploy against the Blues.

And they capitalized.

Led by Anson Carter's two-goal performance, the Oilers left St. Louis singing the Blues en route to a 5-0 win - their largest margin of victory recorded during the season.  

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: November 1, 2005

Ales Hemsky scored twice while 11 different Oilers recorded at least a point as the Oilers defeated the Blue Jackets for the team's third-consecutive win.

by Tony Brar / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 5, Blue Jackets 1 | Box Score

The National Hockey League was coming off a full-season lockout when teams returned to the ice for the 2005-06 season. After a three-game win streak to begin the year, Edmonton dropped their next seven games (0-6-1). However, the Oilers were able to find their scoring touch on the back-end of a three-game road trip, scoring 10 goals against Dallas and Nashville and winning both matches.

With a chance to reach the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 20, the Oilers returned home to face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets for the first of four meetings of the season.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Mironov dazzles in 8-2 win over Capitals

The Oilers blueliner slid past the Washington defence and scored a memorable goal from his knees in a 8-2 defeat of the Capitals on October 28, 1998 at the Skyreach Centre.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers 8, Capitals 2 | BOX SCORE

Boris Mironov dangled the puck through Washington defenceman Kelly Miller and side-stepped Adam Oates before sliding in on his knees and finishing off what was one of the Russian's greatest career goals in the third period of an 8-2 demolishing of the Capitals nearly 20 years to the day on October 28, 1998.

Watch: Youtube Video

Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig, who went 2-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average for Germany earlier that year during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, had already been shelled for four Oilers goals on 12 shots and pulled to make way for Rick Tabaracci, who didn't fare much better with four goals against in two periods of relief.

Boris' older brother Dmitri could only look on from the Capitals bench as his sibling scored one of two goals at the Skyreach Centre that night, ending with three points (2G, 1A) to go along with four-point performances from defenceman Janne Niinimaa (0G, 4A) and right-winger Bill Guerin (2G, 2A).

Mironov would notch 40 points (11G, 29A) in 63 games for the Oilers before being traded in March with Dean McAmmond and Jonas Elofsson to the Chicago Blackhawks for Ethan Moreau, Christian Laflamme, Chad Kilger and Daniel Cleary.

The Oilers continued their form onwards into a four-game winning streak at home after the victory, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins (4-1), Vancouver Canucks (5-3), and the Nashville Predators (3-2) before finishing the season 33-37-12 and losing in the Conference Quarter-Finals 4-0 to the Dallas Stars.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: A history of home openers

The Oilers are 21-12-5 all-time in home openers and are set to host the Bruins for the first time in their season debut at home.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - It's been a long time coming for the Oilers to host their 2018-19 NHL home opener at Rogers Place.

October 18 is the longest Oilers fans have had to wait to see their team at home outside of lockout years in 1994-95, 2004-05 and 2013-14 due to the club opening this season on the road in Germany and Sweden as part of the NHL Global Series earlier this month. Visits from the New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets back on October 1 during the 1999-00 and 2013-14 seasons respectively are the earliest dates the Oilers have ever opened up their home campaign.

Tonight will be the first time the Oilers have taken on the Boston Bruins in their first home game of the season after having already visited the Bruins on the road this season following their arrival back in North America. The most frequent franchises to serve as opposition for the Oilers on opening night historically are the Calgary Flames (7), Detroit Red Wings (5), the Quebec Nordiques/Colorado Avalanche (4) and the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes (4).

The Oilers are 21-12-5 in their home debuts since joining the NHL in 1979.

Ahead of tonight's visit from the Bruins, let's look back at some of the best Oilers home openers in recent memory:

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ALUMNI: Jackson carving out unrivalled coaching career in Germany

The former defenceman and two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Oilers is already one of the German coaching greats after lifting eight championships in 11 seasons.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Alumni Don Jackson could only reply with three words when asked how his German has improved over 14 seasons coaching in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL).

"Besser und besser," the two-time Stanley Cup champion said, speaking with EdmontonOilers.com via phone from Germany where he's manned the bench for EHC Red Bull München as head coach since 2014.

The translation? Better and better.

"We speak English in the room and make ourselves familiar with some of the important things in German and pretty well get what we want," he added.

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