Shutting down the Oilers power play – at the blue line

It was probably the most frustrating Oilers power play so far this season. Just prior to the halfway mark of the first period, Aaron Volpatti went to the box for boarding. On the ensuing power play, despite eight attempts, the Oilers were never able to successfully complete a zone entry.

Attempt 1

Justin Schultz (19) has just passed the puck to Jordan Eberle (14) at the top of the screen. Eberle is under a tight check and has held on to the puck for just a moment too long; he has no passing options so he’s going to try and skate it in.

Unsurprisingly, Eberle is taken out along the boards. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) could probably make a fight of this if he skates at top speed toward the puck. He does not, and the Canucks clear easily.

Attempt 2

This time it’s Hall (4) passing to Eberle. Once again, Eberle is being covered – the puck will be knocked off his stick and out of the zone in the next second, again preventing the Oilers from entering.

Attempt 3

Having been rebuffed twice, the Oilers try something different – Hall attacks up the middle.

Hall, having gained the line, passes the puck to Eberle in coverage – and once again the Canucks easily gain possession and clear the puck. And that’s it for the first unit.

Attempt 4

With Hall having gained the line successfully by going up the middle, Gagner (89) decides to do the same thing.

The Oilers look like they just barely go offside here (though the whistle doesn’t blow) but somehow Gagner, Hemsky and Hartikainen all decide they need to fill the same spot on the ice. In the confusion, the lone Canucks’ penalty killer takes the puck and backhands it out of the zone.

Attempt 5

Having failed twice entering on the right wing, and twice entering up the middle, Sam Gagner passes to Nail Yakupov (64) on the left wing. The puck rolls of Yakupov’s stick and is quickly sent the other way by the Canucks.

Attempt 6

Sam Gagner gains the blue line with speed… and Ales Hemsky (83) is offside. That’s it for the second unit.

Attempt 7

Back to the first unit. Nugent-Hopkins has some difficulty with the pass from Schultz and tips it to Hall right after gaining the line. It’s probably not surprising that this pass never makes it to Hall, and the Canucks clear easily.

Attempt 8

Justin Schultz tries to make a pass to Taylor Hall at the blue line, but the puck goes past and the Oilers end up getting called for icing. And that’s it for the power play.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Terribad execution. The Oilers “star young guns” looked overmatched and arrogant all night. Enough with the one man shows… It’s time for the top line to dump, chase and cycle.

    On the bright side, Gagner is emerging as a solid 2 way threat and Dubnyk has been fantastic. Who’d a thunk it?

    Also: foiled not fisted.

  • charliedont

    Gagner has been in more highlights than he would probably like this season, as he is generally beside the guy on the other team scoring with no intentions of laying a stick on the guy. He’s getting points, albeit second-assists sometimes, but his lines defensive abilities are a big reason for the team losing some of these nights. I would have broken this line up a while ago.

    Gagner: -4
    Hemsky: -5
    Yakupov: -6

    As for Yakupov, he had zero intentions of playing defense in OT tonight. He was cherry picking like a kid playing summer rec hockey. You can get on RNH all you want for still being goalless this season, but at least he cares about playing in his own end. It’s hard to fault Krueger for playing Yakupov in OT again, especially with his track record of scoring big goals, but he looked bad on this play.

    The Scandic Line was great tonight.

  • A-Mc

    I can’t remember the last time I was so frustrated while watching a powerplay and I’m a Flames fan for pete’s sake. After the third failed attempt at passing shortly after gaining the zone I was just shaking my head that it seemed that not one person had thought of dump and chase.

    Not one zone entry on 8 attempts against the leagues 20th place PK. If I was on the Oilers’ PP I would still be embarrassed about that.

    • charliedont

      Actually it was Eberle who left the zone too early leaving the Canucks with the odd man advantage when Petry lost the puck. Yak had stayed behind, and although he might have looked out of position, Tanev was Eberle’s man. Yak nearly got his face in front of the shot-pretty bravce move. But, sorry Wanye, that goal was on Ebs.

      • A-Mc


        Eberle took off and created a 4 on 3 in the Oilers end. Yak did not play it that badly – he covered the open man in the slot and when Smid saw that he went towards the puck carrier coming off the boards. With Ebs up ice that left Tanev wide open and when Yak tried to block the shot he screened Doobie.

      • OilersBrass

        I was just about to say exactly that. You know the team is COMPLETELY out of position when Yakupov is the only one back helping out the goalie. Once again positioning seems to be the downfall of the Oilers.

  • Lofty

    The Nucks also jammed the oilers at their blue line at even strength. A noticeable difference compared to the oilers who give up their zone too easily. Defence needs better gap control.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    The other teams have coaches and can watch video too. Teams know they have to stop this group from entry on the PP, because once they are in and have possession they are deadly.

    The Oilers kids (with coaching and video) will figure it out and adjust.

    • I had the same thought. The Oilers have been getting away with using that right wing entry a lot, and once the Canucks took that away from them they weren’t able to adjust.

      They’ll get there, but I think Vancouver’s aggressive holding of the blue line caught them unprepared.

    • The 'Real' Ron Burgundy

      Time for a new name son!

      The world ain’t big enough for the two of us, and I don’t want no one confusing your decent thoughts, with my asinine theories.

      “I’m the ‘Real’ Ron Burgundy, and you’re a smelly pirate hooker” #Confirmed

      (I read somewhere if I hastag it ‘confirmed’ it is the truth, so no need to verify it).

  • 15w40

    Have to change something up if they are going to stand up like that. Get Harti back in there and dump it behind them.

    Make them turn around – not greasy enough. The book is out on the pp – both units. They always want to carry/pass it in so just put up a wall at the blue line and clog it up.

    There is probably 20 ugly goals for every one pretty one.

  • 2004Z06

    Lawndemon and Dougtheslug….Bang on! I damn near threw something at the tv watching them continue to try and carry the puck in. Why is it so hard for them to adjust? If the PK is standing up at the line, you dump and chase…if they are backing off, you carry it in…Not that complicated. The Oilers HAVE to learn to shoot more. Teams have adapted to the Oilers “pretty passing”. A stick in the lane or pressuring the passer to cough it up and teams are gone the other way. Really growing tired of Hall crying to the refs. Even on the penalty shot he was whining until he saw the arm go up. He wonders why he never gets a call!

  • A-Mc

    This game was full of weirdness.

    Passes were all over the place.
    Guys were bunching up and passing to teammates that were clearly covered by someone already.
    No one standing in front of the net, or hell – even just charging to the net when you know a shot is coming.
    Far too many cross ice passes instead of just taking the shot.

    The list goes on.

    The shot clock tells the story. IMO the Oilers don’t deserve a single point from this game. Although it is nice to reward the best Oiler tonight: Duby. Duby was outstanding.

    PS: the nordic line was really good imo. They were the bright light of the evening for me.

  • That Yakupov chip pass to Hemmer was exactly what they needed to do. If the D is standing you up at the blueline, just chip it in. Oiler speed should into the zone should win you a majority of the puck battles that will come of it.

    Yaks chip pass may have been an accident, but you can replicate it.