There has been some discussion on the Oilogosphere that the Oilers have come out flat far too often this year. Most people can agree that this has been true, but there are some that are inclined to offer excuses and/or reasons for these poor performances. The reason that I'd like to look at here is that of the fabled "first game home after a long road trip." I heard this from several fans after the Oilers lost to the Maple Leafs and at first glance, it seems like a reasonable enough statement. The guys are tired after all.
But then I looked at the numbers and to this point in the season they just don't show that this has any effect on results. So far this season there have been 37 games (of 320) where the home team is playing its first game back after at least three consecutive road games. Their record in these games is 20-10-7. The record of the home team in all other instances is 148-95-40. So when the home team is coming off a road trip of at least three games the home team has a points percentage of 63.5%. In instances where the home team is in the midst of a homestand or coming off a shorter trip, their points percentage is 59.4%.
The sample size is still small, and the difference isn't that much, so I wouldn't want to conclude that the home team has a better chance of winning coming off of a long road trip, BUT I do think that this shows that it doesn't provide the home team with any disadvantage.
The Oilers lost to the Leafs because they're just not a good team right now (and they're worshipping idols).