Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/19/13
There are problems pervading the Edmonton Oilers’ lineup as evidenced by their 1-6-1 record. But one of the egregious trouble spots is the Oilers’ penalty killing which has allowed nine power-play goals the most in the NHL. That’s a noticeable drop from ninth place where Edmonton finished last season. As head coach Dallas Eakins said: “Every night there’s a goal in our net and it’s hard to recover from that.” The power play has also come up short in the last three losses failing to score in nine straight man-advantage opportunities three each game. “We need to be more of a factor on the power play ... and we’ve definitely spent a lot of time on it over these last couple of days” said Jordan Eberle. “Over the last two years it’s been a strong point of our game. We’ve been able to score and create opportunities on the power play. For this team to be successful we have to be productive.” Eakins wasn’t as discouraged about the work the unit did against the New York Islanders on Thursday save for the lack of finish. But the Oilers should be more productive given all the skill they have. For all that was wrong with the club the last two seasons the power play was eighth overall in 2012-13 and third in 2011-12. This group is currently ranked 19th with an efficiency rating of 17.2 per cent. The Oilers have just one power-play goal in five road games despite 16 opportunities (6.2 per cent). “We had lots of looks some great chances on the net. You can’t ask for much more than the finish on it” said Eakins. “It would be one thing if we had players who couldn’t finish. We do. And if we keep executing that way they’ll eventually go in the net for you.” The penalty killing is another matter. Eakins said the first step is to limit the number of penalties. Then it’s a matter of indoctrinating the forwards who are new to the role of killing penalties. The Oilers have incorporated some of their skill players on the units because they don’t have the typical checkers available for that task.
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