Going into Monday’s game, there was an unlikely leader in playoff power play points in the NHL: Edmonton Oilers centre Mark Letestu.
That’s right. Ahead of Malkin, Crosby, Subban, Ovechkin. Ahead of everyone.
“I wanted to prove I belong there,” said Letestu, who became a fixture on the Oilers power play in November. “For me, I knew I could shoot the puck well. I know those guys are great passers. It’s turned into something. It’s worked out well for the power play and for me.”
Letestu has four goals and four assists with the man advantage in the post-season. In the regular season, he scored 11 of his 16 goals on the power play.
“He anticipates well. He reads plays. He puts himself into position,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “His skill level is way, way underestimated. Not by us, but by other people. When your top players want to play with a certain player, it’s telling you volumes what they think of him as well.”
Letestu has become the trigger-man on the first unit power play, a right-hand shot on the left wing who likes to fire the puck.
“When we put him on the power play, we didn’t have that trigger-man with that unit,” explained McLellan. “We knew in the past he could do that. We gave him the opportunity. He made good on it. It’s part of his skill set, the ability to find ice and shoot the puck.”
The Oilers will practice at Rogers Place on Tuesday and then fly to Anaheim. Game seven against the Ducks is Wednesday night and can be heard on 630 CHED. Puck drop is at 8:00 pm with the face-off show starting at 6:00 pm. (jrw)