Mark Arcobello’s two-points-a-game pace since he returned to Oklahoma City six weeks ago has given the Barons a shot at making the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
Arcobello’s biggest impact has been on the power play.
The Barons scored three more power-play goals in a 5-2 win over San Antonio on Tuesday night at the Cox Convention Center.
“Right now there’s great chemistry among those five guys,” said coach Todd Nelson. “They really know how to feed off each other. Adding Arco made that unit really strong.”
After spending the first three months of the season with the Edmonton Oilers, the Barons’ NHL parent team, Arcobello has scored 26 points in 13 games with the Barons.
The telling stat is half of Arcobello’s points (13) have come when the Barons have owned the man advantage.
“Arco is very patient with the puck,” said team captain Anton Lander, who scored a goal and added two assists. “He ends up making the type of pass that leads to a goal. Plus, he has a good shot, too.”
Since Arcobello was reassigned to Oklahoma City on Super Bowl Sunday, the Barons have a sizzling 30.5 percent success rate on the power play. They’ve scored at least one power-play goal in 14 of their last 18 games.
Oddly enough, the Barons were in a power-play slump before Tuesday’s three-goal breakout. Going just 1-of-12 on the power play their previous three games, OKC was 3-for-7 against the Rampage.
“Special teams are such a big key in hockey,” Lander said. “If you have a good penalty kill and a good power play, that’s huge. We need to work on our PK some, but the power play has been really strong.”
Nelson said Matthew Ford’s role is often overlooked. Ford, who scored his 16th and 17th goals of the season in Tuesday’s win, is a big body camped near the net who can stuff in rebounds.
“Fordy does a great job providing screens,” Nelson said. “On the flanks you have Anton and Arco that are a threat off the sides. You have (Roman) Horak in the middle and you finish it off with Brad Hunt, who has a bomb from the point.”
The Barons broke open a 1-1 tie with two power-play goals late in the first period. Acrobello had the key assist on Hunt’s and Lander’s goals.
Since Arcobello was reassigned to Oklahoma City six weeks ago, the Barons are 13-2-2 the past six weeks to move into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference.
“You have four really skilled forwards, plus Hunt,” Nelson said. “Everybody on that power-play unit brings a little something different to the table. No question, one big reason we’ve had success lately is our power play has really been clicking.”