Edmonton Oilers’ inability to draw penalties is as puzzling as it is persistent

Game Day 23: Oilers at Sabres

The first measure of special teams efficiency in the NHL is done by percentages. What is the conversion rate of the powerplay? What is the success rate of the penalty kill? Add the two together and if the combined percentages are north of 100, that’s pretty solid.

Or it would be, on the dangerous assumption that the number of opportunities are roughly equal for both units. But that has not been the case for the Edmonton Oilers this season, and especially this month when they have beaten a path to the sin bin at a rate nearly double that of their opposition.

By the first measure, the Oilers special teams are doing well. Over the last 10 games — from the first Detroit game to the second — the Oilers have converted 31.6% of their powerplay opportunities, third best in the NHL in that span. Their 79.4% kill rate is less good at 19th, but somewhere near the middle of the pack. Add up those two rates, though, and the resulting “Bowman Index” is 111, very good indeed.

One problem, though. In those same 10 games the Oilers have scored just 6 powerplay goals and allowed 7 for a net -1. That’s a direct result of a mammoth differential in opportunities: just 19 for Edmonton, 34 for the other guys. Indeed, you have to go all the way back to the first Red Wings game to find a game where the Oilers so much as broke even in the opportunities department. Since then, it’s been nine consecutive games where the Oil have taken more penalties than they’ve drawn. It’s an odd run to say the least, especially in a league with a long standing reputation to evening things up. Hasn’t been happening.

One might think that taking extra penalties …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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