Well Now, Let's Talk About That Penalty Kill | Oilersnetwork.com - Edmonton Oilers News and Rumours

Well Now, Let's Talk About That Penalty Kill

That was not pretty. Especially for four players who were on the ice for as many as four power play goals against. Adam Larsson (4), Oscar Klefbom (2), Anton Lander (3) and Iiro Pakarinen (3) got absolutely murdered in short-handed action. It's only one game and the Lander/Pakarinen duo may not be a part of the starting roster, but Klefbom and Larsson will and this needs to get figured out (if they are going to play so much time short-handed) in a hurry.

Photo By Bridget Samuel's

Anton Lander

I've written about Lander in the past. This is his last chance. He's being pushed out by younger (Lander is not old) and more skilled players and he's got this pre-season to show he deserves one more opportunity. Last night's effort is not going to help his cause.

Lander is going to need to provide intangibles. Either he penalty kills regularly, wins faceoffs or makes up part of a fourth line energy group. He did none of those things on Friday (he did have two hits) and if he can't provide those intangibles, he won't be needed on this roster. His three goals against and his abysmal 33% percent in the faceoff circle isn't going to do him any favors.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

Clearly the best Oiler on the ice, which is a good sign. He was free of goals against on the penalty kill, which is amazing if you consider how bad Edmonton's 4 vs. 5 play was. This is a good sign that someone on the ice knew what they were doing and perhaps the four goals against short-handed is not a regular occurrence.

Nuge led forwards with TOI (time on ice) at 18:37 and had five shots in the game. He wasn't great in the faceoff circle, but he was better there at the World Cup, so it's not a huge concern even though it needs to improve.

Areas of Concern

There are players who likely got themselves demoted last night. Matthew Benning, Griffin Reinhart, Anton Lander and Iiro Pakarinen probably played themselves out of the NHL opening night line up. Some had stronger games than the previous one — namely Reinhart — but I don't think it's enough to keep him with the big club. Benning played ok, but showed he needs more time to prepare his game for the NHL.

Benoit Pouliot is playing himself into a third-line role if Patrick Maroon comes back healthy for game one. It's not that Pouliot's game is terrible, but those penalties he's taking (especially in his own zone) are crushing and Edmonton clearly isn't at a point that they can confidently kill them off. Coach Todd McLellan made comment both about how the penalty kill wasn't good, but he also made sure to note that the Oilers can't expect to take these kinds of penalties and win hockey games.

In net, Cam Talbot wasn't strong. This is the second game in a row that Edmonton's goaltending has let them down. One can only hope this just a matter of needing to get warmed up.


The Oilers out-shot the Jets by a margin of 34-21, with players like Drake Caggiula (who I believe is winning himself a position on the Oilers hockey team) with four shots. Caggiula has now had three strong pre-season games and will likely get some rest on Sunday. I have to assume he'll get a couple more to cement his spot on the roster. One of the things that may keep getting him noticed, is his willingness to play sound defensively and hustle on the backcheck. He took two penalties in last night's game but was also 63% in the faceoff circle. Third line center?

Just when you think that maybe Matt Hendricks is getting a bit too old or too slow for the club who has some promising rookies on the horizon, he goes and shows you where his value is. His willingness to engage Byfuglien after Dustin hit Klefbom with an elbow is something Edmonton still needs on a nightly basis. And he was 71% in the faceoff circle. He's not going quietly and I don't see how he's not a fourth-line regular with contributions like that.

But, who cares what I think right? For now, I'll just keep my mouth shut until I feel like spilling my guts again.

Jim Parsons is a business owner, husband, father and sports fan. For more information about Oilersnetwork.com founder and Oil Spill articles author Jim Parsons, click here.

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2 Responses to "Well Now, Let's Talk About That Penalty Kill"

  1. I was away and missed the game. Was it a matter of not working hard enough? My old friend, who knew much more about hockey than I, always said that penalty killing was simply hard work - what was the work level like?

    1. It was hard to tell with the poor quality of the stream from the Oilers website to get a real good look, but one seemed like an unlucky bounce. One was a wicked shot by Sheifele. Overall, I think they just lack the chemistry working together and the system isn't being implemented in place yet. McLellan said he repeatedly put the same unit out there to as a lesson.


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