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Oilers' penalty kill has made a major difference in the Stanley Cup Final against the Panthers

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Oilers' penalty kill has made a major difference in the Stanley Cup Final against the Panthers
News

News

Oilers' penalty kill has made a major difference in the Stanley Cup Final against the Panthers

2024-06-22 18:00 Last Updated At:21:21

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — For all the talk going into the Stanley Cup Final about the Edmonton Oilers' vaunted power play and how Florida might have to adjust to stay out of the box, their penalty kill has actually been one of the biggest difference makers in the series.

Edmonton has killed off 19 of 20 penalties, including three in a 5-1 victory in Game 6 on Friday night to force a deciding Game 7 on Monday night in Sunrise.

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Florida Panthers' Sam Reinhart (13) and Edmonton Oilers' Philip Broberg (86) battle for the rebound from goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — For all the talk going into the Stanley Cup Final about the Edmonton Oilers' vaunted power play and how Florida might have to adjust to stay out of the box, their penalty kill has actually been one of the biggest difference makers in the series.

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) crashes into Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) crashes into Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett (9) checks Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett (9) checks Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Vladimir Tarasenko (10) is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Darnell Nurse (25) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Vladimir Tarasenko (10) is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Darnell Nurse (25) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Evan Rodrigues (17) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Evan Rodrigues (17) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

“In every series, you work hard at the start of the series, get a little momentum, a little confidence," said forward Mattias Janmark, who has skated 13 minutes on the PK in the final and scored one of the Oilers' two short-handed goals. "They get on their heels maybe a little bit, we get on our toes and get the upper hand. But the next game, they’re probably looking over there at the one goal they can score in the next game, so we’re going to have to be at our best next game.”

With Janmark, linemate Connor Brown and defensemen Mattias Ekholm and Darnell Nurse — plus, of course, goaltender Stuart Skinner — leading the way, the Oilers' penalty kill is converting at an NHL playoff-best 94.1%, allowing just four goals on 68 opposing power plays.

“We’re playing with instinct and fast and closing things down,” Nurse said. “When the block needs to be made, guys are making blocks. It’s good. I think we’re doing it. I think for us even when we have success, we’re always trying to evolve and be even more on our toes.”

So on their toes that the penalty kill has outscored the Panthers power play 2-1 in the series. The Oilers were the first team since the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins (Mario Lemieux and Bob Errey) to score a short-handed goal in consecutive Cup final games.

That's the result of taking Florida out of a rhythm and having the speed and talent to go the other way. Skinner pointed to winning a faceoff during a penalty kill in Game 6 as one example of being able to set the tone.

“Guys are just battling really hard,” said Skinner, who made four short-handed saves Friday night. “We’re keeping guys on the outside in the neutral zone, and when they do get their chances, we get big blocks. I think we just got a really good flow going right now, and we’ve gotten a lot of opportunities on the PK so for us to have that sort of chemistry has been great and we’ve got to do that for another game.”

Coach Kris Knoblauch delegates penalty killing duties to assistant Mark Stuart, a retired defenseman who skated plenty of these shifts during a 12-year NHL career. Nurse said Stuart does a good job preparing players for what to expect, and the system is working.

“They’re prepared," Knoblauch said. “They know what to do. I think we have a good system for the group that we have.”

Knoblauch also senses confidence from his penalty kill, which has been building now for four rounds. That's turning into smart plays and not a whole lot of mistakes, something that has fueled Edmonton's comeback from down 3-0 in the final.

“I feel like we’re doing a good job of cleaning up sticks and being physical, and when we’ve had the chance to clear the puck, we’ve been getting our clears, too, so it’s a good recipe,” Nurse said. "It’s been good, been instinctual, been fast, shutting stuff down, but we’ve got to do it again.”

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL

Florida Panthers' Sam Reinhart (13) and Edmonton Oilers' Philip Broberg (86) battle for the rebound from goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Sam Reinhart (13) and Edmonton Oilers' Philip Broberg (86) battle for the rebound from goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) crashes into Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Aleksander Barkov (16) crashes into Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett (9) checks Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett (9) checks Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) during the second period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Vladimir Tarasenko (10) is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Darnell Nurse (25) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Vladimir Tarasenko (10) is checked by Edmonton Oilers' Darnell Nurse (25) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Matthew Tkachuk (19) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Evan Rodrigues (17) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

Florida Panthers' Evan Rodrigues (17) is stopped by Edmonton Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner (74) during the third period of Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Friday, June 21, 2024, in Edmonton, Alberta. The Oilers won 5-1 to tie the series. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

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Student protesters vow 'complete shutdown' in Bangladesh as clashes continue

2024-07-18 19:54 Last Updated At:20:00

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police clashed Thursday with student protesters attempting to impose a “complete shutdown” in Bangladesh’s capital, following days of violent confrontations during demonstrations over a system of allocating government jobs.

Students have been demonstrating for weeks against a quota system for government jobs they say favors allies of the ruling party, but the protests have escalated since violence broke out between protesters, police and pro-government student activists on the campus of Dhaka University on Monday. Six people were killed on Tuesday, leading the government to ask universities across the country to close and police to raid the main opposition party’s headquarters.

As violence continued to take place on Thursday, Bangladesh’s Law Minister Anisul Huq said in the afternoon that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked him to sit with the protesters for a dialogue, and he was ready to sit down on Thursday if protesters were willling.

On Wednesday night, the protesters announced they would enforce “a complete shutdown” across the country on Thursday in response to security officials’ continued attacks on the campus demonstrators. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party said that it would do what it could to make the shutdown a success.

Clashes continued as protesters attempted to enforce the shutdown Thursday morning. In Dhaka's Uttara neighborhood, hundreds of protesters were chased by police after they blocked the road and chanted. In other places, police fired tear gas and charged with batons disperse the protesters, who threw stones in response. Scores, including police, were injured in the violence, said a spokesperson for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.

Police said protesters attacked and set fire to a traffic police box and vandalized police vehicles amid clashes across the city.

Traffic was thin on Dhaka's usually clogged streets on Thursday morning, while many malls closed. Offices and banks opened, but commuters complained that transport was limited. Police set up checkpoints at the entrances to Dhaka University.

Local television reported violence in other cities including Chattogram and Khulna, while protesters also blocked some major highways.

Salma Rahman, an official at a financial institution in Dhaka, said that she left her car at home and caught a ride on a motorcycle. “Our office has alerted us to stay safe on streets, as there is fear that violence could happen during the shutdown.”

Protesters are demanding an end to a quota system that reserves up to 30% of government jobs for family members of veterans who fought in Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971. They argue that the system is discriminatory and benefits supporters of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose Awami League party led the independence movement, and they want it replaced with a merit-based system.

Hasina’s government halted the quotas after mass student protests in 2018. But last month, Bangladesh’s High Court nullified that decision and reinstated the quotas after relatives of the 1971 veterans filed petitions, triggering the latest demonstrations. The Supreme Court then suspended the High Court’s ruling and is expected to rule on Aug. 7. The government has also appealed the High Court decision in the wake of the protest, according to the attorney general's office.

Huq said the government was seeking an early hearing.

“I have already asked the attorney general to appeal in the Supreme Court on Sunday seeking early hearing,” he told reporters. The Supreme Court had earlier set Aug. 7 to make decision on the quota issue. Friday and Saturday are parts of the weekend in Bangladesh. The court opens Sunday.

“I am requesting all to wait with patience until the verdict is delivered,” Hasina said in a televised address Wednesday evening. “I believe our students will get justice from the apex court. They will not be disappointed.”

While job opportunities have expanded in Bangladesh’s private sector, many people prefer government jobs because they are stable and well paid. Each year, some 400,000 graduates compete for 3,000 jobs in the civil service exam.

Hasina said there would be a judicial probe into Tuesday's deaths and vowed that those responsible would be brought to justice.

“Some precious lives have been lost unnecessarily,” she said. “I condemn every killing.”

U.N. Human Rights chief Volker Türk said in a post on the social media platform X that all acts of violence and deadly use of force must be investigated and the perpetrators held accountable. Türk said freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights.

Bangladesh’s ruling party blamed the BNP for the chaos, and Dhaka police raided the party’s headquarters late Tuesday. Detective Chief Harun-or-Rashid said police arrested seven members of the party’s student wing, and said detectives found 100 crude bombs, 500 wooden and bamboo sticks, and five to six bottles of gasoline in the raid.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a senior BNP leader, said the raid was a government attempt to divert attention from the protests.

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Policemen fire tear gas to disperse students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Policemen fire tear gas to disperse students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

An injured policeman lies on a street during clashes with students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

An injured policeman lies on a street during clashes with students protesting against the quota system in public service in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students clash with riot police during a protest against a quota system for government jobs, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, July 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students advocating for quota reform in public service held a mock funeral at Dhaka University in memory of those who died during clashes, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Students advocating for quota reform in public service held a mock funeral at Dhaka University in memory of those who died during clashes, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

Police fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to disperse students shouting slogans in favor of quota system in public service at the university campus, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Wednesday, July 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Rajib Dhar)

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