December 19 2013 10:50PM
The game-winning goal in Thursday’s game was scored by the Colorado Avalanche, while the Edmonton Oilers were on the power play. That’s bad. That it’s just the way Oilers power plays tend to go these days is worse.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Justin Schultz coughs up the puck at the opposition blue line.
This one isn’t especially complex; that’s the crux of it. The initial pass is inexplicable; Schultz had time and space but decided to force a pass to a covered Taylor Hall rather than hang on to it himself or pass it to the open man on the far boards.
That started a two-on-one. Hall did his level best to get back in the play and gained some ground but wasn’t able to get there in time. The Oilers would have been okay if Schultz had played the pass, like every defenceman defending a two-on-one ever is supposed to, but he didn’t and that left Devan Dubnyk hanging out to dry.
Here’s a statistic: In the last 13 games, the Oilers have surrendered 14 shorthanded chances. They have only managed to generate 11 themselves all season.
Here’s another one: in the last six games, Edmonton’s power play has been out-chanced 8-7.
Superficially, the power play ranks 16th in the NHL in overall effectiveness, with 23 goals on 130 chances (17.7%). However, after eight shorthanded goals are taken into account it slips to 25th overall in goal differential/opportunities. It’s a ludicrous number given the talent the team has at its disposal.
Edmonton plays games on Saturday and Monday, but then has a long-ish break before playing Calgary on Friday (Update: as Jason Gregor reminds me, there's a little-known holiday called "Christmas" in that stretch, which makes it somewhat less than ideal as a time for practicing things). That break might be a good time to completely reimagine the power play.
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