"Heartbeat of this team": NHL analyst surprised by Edmonton Oilers' "unreal" penalty kill success so far against Dallas Stars

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Dallas Stars at Edmonton Oilers
NHL analyst surprised by Edmonton Oilers' penalty kill success so far in against Dallas Stars

In Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, the Edmonton Oilers showed a stunning display of resilience, rallying with five consecutive goals to triumph over the Dallas Stars with a 5-2 victory at Rogers Place. Notably, Edmonton's stellar penalty kill emerged as a pivotal factor, marking a franchise record for the Stanley Cup Playoffs by not conceding a power play goal in their last eight games.

According to Sportsnet Stats, the Oilers' penalty kill has been a revelation throughout this postseason, despite a less impressive performance during the regular season where they entered the playoffs with a penalty kill percentage of under 80%.

However, in the crucible of playoff hockey, Edmonton has transformed, boasting an outstanding 92.9% penalty kill success rate, the highest among all playoff teams. TSN's Ryan Rishaug, in conversation with Jay Onrait, underscored the profound impact of Edmonton's penalty kill on their playoff journey.

"It's a weird thing to say, Jay, but it's their deadliest weapon," Rishaug said. "It has had more of an impact on these three rounds of the playoffs than any other facet of their game."

He lauded the Edmonton Oilers' penalty kill performance in the series, spanning an impressive streak of eight consecutive games.

"They were perfect in the series. You just said it. Eight straight games here. They've been perfect in this series. It's unreal what they have been able to do now.
Kris Knoblauch really prioritized giving penalty killers significant roles when he got here, and it is paying off big time, these guys are part of this thing, they're pulling on the rope, they're a huge piece of why this team has had success, and it is the heartbeat of this team right now".

The Oilers' penalty kill once again shone brightly in Game 4 after a s͏tretch of 23 straight pen͏alties, exemplified by a crucial ͏shorth͏an͏ded goal orchestrate͏d by Derek Ryan, who was͏ later penalized for holding. Darnell Nur͏se's defensive pro͏wess and Con͏nor Brown's offensive flair culmina͏ted in a momentum͏-shifting ͏goal, propelling the O͏ilers to a 3-2 lead.

Th͏e team is powered by their strong penalty kill, along with Evan Bouchard, Leon Draisaitl, Mattias Ekholm, M͏att͏ias Janmark, and Ryan McLeod pitching ͏in.

Insights from Edmonton Oilers Coach and Player on Game 4

Edmonton Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch reflected on the challenging start of Game 4, stating to NHL.com. Despite the initial adversity, Knoblauch acknowledged the series' unpredictable nature, noting:

“I was thinking it was going to be a long night... Things weren’t going our way. They looked much sharper making plays. Both teams have absolutely dominated, and then the other team has dominated. Like, it’s been back-and-forth.”

Forward Mattias Janmark highlighted the team's confidence and effective penalty kill, stating:

“We’ve been confident lately, have a good kill in this series. So, we got them a little bit on their heels today, I think.”

Janmark also pointed out the team's adherence to its structure, he said:

"We played to our structure there on the goal and we got a big block from Nurse."

As the best-of-seven series sta͏nd͏s tied at 2-2, the stage is set for a decisive G͏ame 5 in Dallas on Friday.

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