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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.

December 26, 1979 - Oilers 4, Rockies 3

The Oilers got their first taste of life in the NHL during the 1979-80 season with their only meeting on Boxing Day against anyone not named the Flames or Canucks.

The Colorado Rockies, led behind the bench by the notable Don Cherry, travelled up to Edmonton and Northlands Coliseum after Christmas and left defeated by a score of 4-3 against a young Oilers team that included 19-year-olds Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.

The Rockies would miss the playoffs with a 19-48-13 record in Cherry's only stint behind the bench with the Colorado club, while the Oilers would lose during the Preliminary Round in three games to the Philadelphia Flyers.

December 26, 1982 - Oilers 4, Flames 4

The old Stampede Corral in Calgary was the setting for a holiday stalemate between two provincial rivals.

Calgary and Edmonton's first meeting on Boxing Day ended in a 4-4 tie, starting a set of three Boxing Day meetups in three years for the two teams. It was also during the season where the Oilers would come into their own as a franchise, making three-straight Stanley Cup Finals with two ending in hardware in '84 and '85.

The Oilers are undefeated (4-0-1) on Boxing Day against the Flames, with their last meeting coming during the 2001-02 season - a 3-2 win for the Oilers.

December 26, 2008 - Oilers 3, Canucks 2 | BOX SCORE

Flashback ten years to find the Oilers last win on Boxing Day against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Oilers lost 4-2 to the west coast club in 2002-03 on Boxing Day, and needed to wait six years to get their revenge. Marc Pouliot, Shawn Horcoff and Sheldon Souray scored second-period goals to lift the Oilers to victory, with two assists from Lubomir Visnovsky and Ales Hemsky. Goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves on 30 shots.

It would be the last time the Oilers have had success on Boxing Day, losing their next four to the Canucks with the last meeting coming in 2015 during a 2-1 overtime loss at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

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