Edmonton center Adam Oates can’t explain why the Oilers own the worst penalty-killing unit in the NHL—one that has allowed a power-play goal in each of the last 13 games.
“I don’t have an answer for that,” Oates admitted. “I’ve been through a couple of streaks like that before, but I don’t think it was 13 in a row. Obviously there have been mistakes and breakdowns, but it seems like something different every time.”
The Oilers hope to shore up their porous special teams play as they host the Minnesota Wild.
Edmonton, which has allowed at least one power-play goal in 25 of its first 31 games, was beaten for another in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss at Los Angeles. The Oilers have won just two of their last 12 games (2-7-3) to drop into last place in the Northwest Division.
The Oilers have killed off just 33 of 52 penalties during their 13-game run of short-handed futility. Edmonton’s penalty-killing unit has not held an opponent off the board since a 5-2 win over Chicago on Nov. 18.
The Wild climbed two points ahead of the Oilers in the Northwest with Wednesday’s 3-2 win at Colorado.
Sergei Zholtok’s second-period goal, the 100th of his career, proved to be the difference as Minnesota won its third straight and improved to 5-2-1 in December after finishing November on a five-game winless skid (0-4-1).