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BLOG: Power-play precision

by Meg Tilley / Edmonton Oilers

Following their 6-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, the Oilers went right back to business, working some more on their power play Thursday at practice.

The Blues, who were the number two penalty killing team in the NHL heading into Wednesday, saw their PK squashed by the Oilers, whose power-play performance spiked, scoring on four of their six full-man advantage opportunities.

“There was no magic wand, we didn’t come in and reinvent the wheel, we practiced and adjusted maybe two little things,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan.

Having received much criticism in the past this season for their failure to produce a high percentage of goals on the power play, the Oilers capitalized on the window of opportunity that lay before them against the Blues.

“We outworked the penalty kill,” said McLellan. “It doesn’t happen very often, usually the power play gets a little bit lazy at times…but I thought last night we did a good job of getting to secondary pucks in and around the net. Now, that can only happen when you take the first shot, but with all the question marks around the power play, you begin to look at a lot of the stats. We’re at the middle of the pack as far as shots-on-goal per power play in the league.”

Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two on separate power plays, one in the first period and another in the second, while Mark Letestu and Leon Draisaitl each tucked one away in the middle frame.

It’s a work in progress that McLellan said the team doesn’t take lightly and will continue to work on, enhance and tweak where necessary.

“When you’re not scoring you have fans, media, players, coaches — they’re all yelling at the guy with the puck to shoot. It doesn’t make any sense if you don’t have a shooting lane too so we have to understand, they want to shoot, they want to score, but they take what’s given and maybe we can do a little better job of that as well.”

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