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BLOG: Special teams a point of emphasis

The Oilers made special teams a point of emphasis at practice on Friday

by Chris Wescott / Head Writer

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers practiced at the Rogers Place Community Rink on Friday, logging significant time focusing on special teams.

"We spent numerous minutes today in practice working on the penalty kill and trying to clarify situations, and improve in that area," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "Then we flipped it over and spent time on the power play."

The Oilers penalty kill has struggled for much of the season. It looked like it had turned a bit of a corner on the latest road trip, finishing nine of 10. But then they came home and allowed three man-advantage goals to the Dallas Stars. The Oilers are last in the League while shorthanded (70.3%) through nine games.

"We've just got to execute," said Oilers defenceman Kris Russell.

The power play is 26th in the League, scoring at just 13.8%.

"We fix it," said McLellan. "Penalty kill and power play are important parts of the game, not just from the statistics perspective but from the confidence perspective. Your team gets a lot of energy or loses a lot of energy from a goal for or against and we've been on the short end of that for quite a while."

McLellan says he's confident the power play will come eventually.

"We're starting to put the puck in the net, or at least we hope we are, and that will come but the penalty kill has to sharpen up."

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