from Bruce McCurdy of the Cult of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal,
Here we go again. Every season National Hockey League referees start out calling everything in sight, and every season the crackdown peters out as the games gain importance. The 2013-13 season is no different.
This is bad news for clubs like the Edmonton Oilers who seemingly rely on special teams as a difference-maker. The Oilers have outscored their opposition by a 29-20 count on special teams this season (25 powerplay goals to 19, and 4 shorthanded goals to 1), but have been taking a beating at even strength to the tune of 36 for, 56 against in 5-on-5 or 4-on-4 play.
Last year we noted a strong decline in powerplay opportunities for the Oilers as the season progressed. It’s been more of the same in 2013-13. With 28 games on the books now, let’s split Edmonton’s season into quarters and look at their powerplay opportunities per game in each segment.