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Oilers need improved power play for success

Monday, 09.21.2009 / 3:00 AM / 2009-2010 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

EDMONTON OILERS
2008-09 SEASON STATS

Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 85
(11TH WEst/21ST NHL)
Change from 2007-08 -3
Home Points 42
(14TH WEst/25TH NHL)
Away Points 43
(6TH WEst/12TH NHL)
Advantage Margin            +16
Want to know why the Oilers missed the playoffs? They had 29 more power plays at home than their opponents (182-153) but were outscored by 10 goals (27-37).

Even-Strength Goals Margin        +5
The Oilers outscored their opponents 152-150 while playing 5-on-5 and didn't allow a non-OT goal while skating 4-on-4.

Special Teams Goal Margin        -21       
Edmonton's special teams were its downfall. The 24th-ranked power play generated only 60 goals while the penalty killers were 27th in the NHL and scored just three shorthanded goals.

Goals by defensemen            47
In his second season with the Oilers, Sheldon Souray produced the kind of offense expected, firing home 23 goals -- including a dozen on the power play -- tying him with forward Ales Hemsky for the team lead.   

Overtime Record
Total: 7-5-4 (OT: 1-5, SO: 6-4)

The magic the Oilers enjoyed in shootouts in 2007-08 (15-4) disappeared in '08-09 -- especially at home, where they fell from 8-1 to 1-3. They also lost all three overtime games at Rexall Place, meaning Edmonton was 1-6 in post-regulation games at home.

Times Scored First
39 (Record: 28-7-4)

The Oilers were eighth in the NHL with a .718 winning percentage when getting the first goal. They were especially successful on the road, going 16-3-1 (.800) when scoring first.   

Best 08-09 Number             27
Wins by the Oilers when they were outshot, second in the NHL behind Boston. Unfortunately for the Oilers, they got a lot of practice in trying to win while being outshot -- it happened 56 times in 82 games.

Worst 08-09 Number          2-12-1
Edmonton's record on Thursday nights, by far the worst of any team on that night of the week. Edmonton's poor showing on Thursdays negated the Oilers' excellent record on Fridays (8-1-1) and Saturdays (10-3-3).

Scheduling
If the Oilers don't get off to a fast start, it's not because of their schedule: They have their first four games at home (including two with Calgary). Their biggest test begins in early March, when they play eight consecutive road games (sandwiched around the Olympic break) that will keep them away from Rexall Place for more than a month.


Quote of the Day

This is a big year for us in a lot of ways. You can see Garth and management really trying to find that solution to get us into the playoffs and consistently have that. The pressure is great. You have to enjoy it. It just means there's a great opportunity ahead of you.

— Islanders captain John Tavares