Penalty Kill Struggles

When I last checked in on the OIlers penalty kill in early November, things were humming along just fine. They had the 4th best penalty kill percentage with 90.2% efficiency, and they allowed the fourth fewest goals against per hour with 3.01. One issue the team was having at the time was that they were allowing a higher than average rate of unblocked shot attempts against per hour. And this issue was being masked by some outstanding goaltending, which was mostly Cam Talbot, as the Oilers had one of the best team save percentages in the league, with 93.55%.

Fast forward to today, and it looks like things are starting to catch up to the Oilers. The club is now ranked 10th in the league with an efficiency of 83.5%. They now sit at a goals against per hour rate of 4.87, 8th best in the league, with the league average being 5.80. The rate of unblocked shot attempts against is now at 67.47, now only slightly higher than the league average of 67.12. And the club’s team save percentage on the penalty kill has come back down to earth, down to 89.86%, but is still ranked 7th in the league, with league average being 87.77%.

We can also break out the Oilers performance on the penalty kill into rolling 10-game stretches, to get a sense of the overall trend. Below is the goals against per hour rate over the first 32 games. The first dot in the graph represents the rate of goals against per hour between games 1 and 10. The second dot represents the rate of goals against per hour between games 2-11, then 3-12, and so on. What we see here is that the Oilers were pretty darn good early on, well below league average, but things have been getting progressively worse. It looks like things may stabilize for the Oilers around the 5.0 goals against per hour mark, right around the league average, but the most recent stretch of 10 games have been pretty bad. We also have to consider here that the Oilers have had a pretty grueling schedule over the past couple of weeks, so fatigue may be a factor.

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Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

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