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The Edmonton Oilers 2024 Stanley Cup Playoff (Not So) Secret Weapon

We have talked a lot about Connor McDavid, Evan Bouchard, and the history that this Edmonton Oiler group has been collectively chasing. But on the morning of Game 7 of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers, today we must discuss one of, if not the most unsung heroes of the Oilers playoff run, the penalty kill. The Edmonton Oiler penalty kill has not only been magnificent, but it has also brought into prominence some of the Oilers key depth pieces. Those players include most notably Connor Brown and Mattias Janmark, who each have a shorthanded marker against the Panthers.

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One of the Edmonton Oilers Key Cup Final Strengths 

Before we get into the Edmonton Oilers, just journey with us for a moment. One interesting point about great teams is that they tend to have great players. One advantage of having great players is, besides the obvious of them being better than their matchup, but what about in practice? Think of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby-era dynasty. What about all the times Marc-Andre Fleury squared off against the likes of Crosby or Evgeni Malkin in practice, making acrobatic saves, and using his athleticism? Well, that is exactly the type of advantage the Oilers’ penalty killers have. You have to think squaring off against Zach Hyman, Leon Draisaitl, and Connor McDavid in practice every day is going to improve the likes of Cody Ceci, Darnell Nurse, or Stuart Skinner. Three of the Oilers are more prominent figures when they find themselves a man down.

What Do They Actually Do

So, why are the Edmonton Oilers penalty killers the best? Because they practice against the best power play. In the 2022-23 season, the Edmonton Oilers had a historic power play at 32.4%, which was over six percentage points better than the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs. This year they were still terrific, but not quite so dominant finishing fourth in the league at 26.3%.

Moving on to the playoffs and that is where the Oilers have really put it all together. They have the second-best ranked power play at 29.7%. Moreover, they have by far the best penalty kill percentage in this year’s post-season. Their 94.1% success rate is over six points better than the second place, none other than, the Florida Panthers.

Now for some stats to leave you with to showcase the penalty kill’s uncanny effectiveness. First of all, they have outscored the Panthers power play 2-1 in the final series thus far. Florida has gone 1 for 19 overall on the power play against Edmonton prior to Game 7. Furthermore, even back in the previous round against the Dallas Stars, it was a similar picture. The Stars didn’t score on the power play in the entire series in 14 total chances. And finally, we all remember the streak of 34 consecutive kills that went from Game 3 of the second round series against the Vancouver Canucks, and didn’t end until an Evan Rodrigues power play marker in Game 2 of this series. 

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Therefore, aside from the penalty kill, there are some notes before Game 7 to mention. There is still the question of whether McDavid moves up from fourth on the all-time single post-season point record list. In terms of the game itself, the last Game 7 in a Stanley Cup Final was between the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins for the 2019 Stanley Cup. But of course, we have all heard that this is the first time in 78 years a team has battled back to force Game 7, after trailing the final three games to none. In any case, everyone will be locked in tonight when the Game 7 action kicks off from Sunrise, Florida.  

Main photo: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports




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