The post NHL’s Best Defensive Minds Talk Slowing the Oilers’ Power Play appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

In a recent article by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the journalist and NHL insider spoke with a number of the NHL’s great all-time defenders and asked them a simple question: How would you stop the Oilers power play? A power play that is clicking at a 53% success rate this series against the Los Angeles Kings at at 48% over the past three playoff encounters, it sounds like an impossible task. If anyone would know, it’s some of the greatest penalty-killers and coaching minds in NHL history.

How do you defend the Oilers’ power play? No easy answer.
But I asked Patrice Bergeron, Guy Carbonneau, Ken Hitchcock, Dave Tippett, Gerard Gallant and Craig Berube that very question. My latest for ⁦@TheAthletic⁩ ⤵️

— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) May 1, 2024

There was a common trend. Most hinted that you can’t stop the Oilers’ power play. You can only pray to slow it down.

Related: NHL Analyst Calls McDavid’s Unprecedented Feat a “Killer” Quality

Six-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron said, “I don’t know if I have an answer for that.” He added, “There’s so many threats. Usually it’s like pick your poison, right? Like what do you think is the most dangerous shot? Or usually its seams. You don’t want teams to seam you. Then if you take the seams away, they’re going to use the low play or use the shot from the point, which — (Bouchard’s) usually pretty accurate and usually gets it through.”

Guy Carbonneau noted that the Oilers have too many weapons a team has to worry about. “You know what [Connor] McDavid can do. You know what [Leon] Draisaitl can do. Both of them can pass or shoot and are not afraid to do it.” He then explained that adding Zach Hyman and Evan Bouchard to the mix “makes everything complicated.”

Oilers win without McDavid

Like many others have suggested, Jack Adams Award-winning coach Dave Tippett said, “Don’t take penalties.” Clearly, that’s easier said than done, especially if the Kings want to try to impose their will on the Oilers physically. Former Oilers’ coach and Hall of Famer, Ken Hitchcock joked, “It’s a good reason to not be coaching.” Craig Berube echoed those comments.

Can the Oilers Power Play Be Stopped?

The consensus among the all-time great defenders and hockey minds was to pressure the Oilers’ two top stars, particularly McDavid on the zone entries. Once the Oilers get set up, it’s pretty much game over, even if their intended plays break down. And, stopping the oncoming McDavid is difficult, because he’s fast and strong and it would be easy to take another penalty. If the Oilers go 5-on-3, it’s a virtual guarantee at least one puck is getting behind your goalie. Still, Berube said teams can’t let McDavid “fly around there with speed.”

Because the Oilers’ power play is so unpredictable, they’re almost as good when things break down and it turns into road hockey as they are when things go according to a set play.

Bergeron suggested that you do everything possible to win faceoffs against the Oilers and attack any non-clean win by Edmonton. “Every time there’s a bobbled puck, I would pressure and try to create stalls and create havoc,” he said. Of course, that’s not easy either, since Draisaitl wins most of his faceoffs. He is an astounding 83.3 percent on the power play so far this postseason.

In the end, almost all asked said that the Oilers’ power play is an incredible thing to watch. “I’m also glad I don’t have to defend against them,” said Bergeron. Perhaps the best defensive player in NHL history.

Next: Lightning Likely Make ‘Take It Or Leave It’ Offer to Steven Stamkos

The post NHL’s Best Defensive Minds Talk Slowing the Oilers’ Power Play appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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