Since Todd Nelson took over behind the Oilers bench as interim head coach, the team's power play has been outstanding. The team had a 12.0% overall power play success rating (and 4.7% on the road) with only 13 total goals scored (2 on the road).
“I think at the start of the year we were getting a lot of chances and we just couldn’t score. You start holding on to the puck too long and that really hurt us. Now lately, we go out there with a lot of confidence, feeling like we’re going to score. Putting a lot of pucks on the net, working hard and winning battles,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on the team's much-improved play with the man advantage.
Since Nelson, the team's power play has been running along at a 25.0% clip with 23 goals on 92 opportunities. The best power play in the entire NHL -- the Detroit Red Wings -- are at 25.3%. On the road, that power play has been 29.5%.
“I think the personnel, the units that we have, they’re working well together," said Nelson. "Our challenge from our staff is to outwork their penalty kill. I think Craig Ramsay’s done a great job of preparing them but the message is to keep it simple, get pucks going to the net, get traffic and try to outwork their penalty kill.”
The power play has gotten even better since the all-star break. In that six-week stretch, the Oilers have the best power play in the entire NHL by a significant margin at 28.1%. On the road, it's even better at 34.2%.
It's all the more amazing when it's considered that they have accomplished this all without Taylor Hall, the team's usual leading power-play point-getter who was injured coming out of the break.