SUN Hockey Pool

Oil face special issues

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

EDMONTON -- It almost sounds like good news when you suggest the slumping Edmonton Oilers have been playing pretty well five-on-five lately. It's just that their special teams are a mess.

Then you realize being good everywhere except powerplay and penalty kill is like saying, "He's a really, really good pilot -- he's just not very good at landings."

In today's NHL, special teams are everything, and when they don't work, you're headed for a, er, plane crash.

So you don't have to search the smouldering ruins of their 15th-place Western Conference standing for a little black box to figure out why the Oilers are in a tailspin.

The penalty kill is junk, and it's been that way all year (27th in the NHL).

And the power play, which used to be pretty good, is sinking fast as well, scoring just twice in its last 27 chances.

Until they get this sorted out, nothing else matters.

"We competed hard, but you're going to win less than 10% of your games if you don't improve your special teams," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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