The Edmonton Oilers’ scorching-hot power play will be tested by the Dallas Stars’ impressive penalty-kill unit when the two teams square off in Dallas on Wednesday.
Through 33 games this season, the Oilers have scored on 32.8 percent (40-for-122) of their power-play chances, putting them in line for a piece of history. Since the NHL began charting power-play percentage as a statistic, the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens hold the record (31.9 percent) for highest power-play percentage in a single season.
Edmonton’s pace has only quickened over its last 10 games. The Oilers are 17-for-38 (44.7 percent) on the power play in that span, scoring multiple goals with the extra attacker in seven of those games, including each of the last four.
Unfortunately, this dominant power play hasn’t translated to consistent results on the scoreboard. Edmonton has a modest 4-4-2 record in its last 10 games, including 0-1-2 in its last three.
Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Nashville Predators saw the Oilers equalize three different times during regulation, before Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier scored the overtime winner. The Oilers are 0-3-2 in their last five games decided by one goal.
“Our power play needs to be able to score goals in timely situations, and I feel like we’ve been doing that as of late, but it should bleed into our 5-on-5 play too,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who scored two power-play tallies against the Predators. “I don’t think that we played poorly 5-on-5, we just didn’t find a way to put any in.”
The Stars have risen to first place in the Central Division with a more well-rounded approach. Dallas has a solid power play of its own, and has a penalty-kill percentage of 83.6 (97-for-116), qwhich ranks in the NHL’s top five.
With a 7-2-2 record over its last 11 games, Dallas has killed off 23-of-27 opponents’ power plays in that span.
The Stars had to stop only one power-play attempt from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday, a tightly contested game that saw the two teams combine for a single penalty. Dallas earned a 2-1 win, as Jake Oettinger stopped 27-of-28 Columbus shots.
Oettinger felt Monday’s victory was another instance of Dallas winning “no matter the circumstance. …The guys are going to put a good effort in, and you’ve just got to find different ways to win.”
Strong goaltending has been a big part of the Stars’ success. Oettinger is the probable starter on Wednesday, looking to build on his outstanding 2.35 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
Jack Campbell was in the Oilers’ net against Nashville, so Stuart Skinner will likely start against Dallas. The Oilers announced a three-year contract extension with Skinner on Monday, displaying more faith in a goalie whose quality play has earned him the bulk of starting assignments this season.
Connor McDavid has 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) during a 13-game point streak.
Jason Robertson scored an empty-netter on Monday for his 24th goal of the season. It snapped a seven-game scoring drought for the Dallas forward, though Robertson still contributed five assists during those seven games.
The teams played once earlier this season, with the Stars winning 6-2 in Edmonton on Nov. 5.
–Field Level Media