PP Stacking: December 20th

Updated: December 20, 2017 at 4:56 pm by Adam Daly-Frey

This is a new weekly free article, looking at special teams to find some power play stacks every Monday and Wednesday (sorry this has been intermittent, life gets in the way). For Premium members that read the Line-Matching articles, this may help find more of an edge when coupled with 5v5 play.

For PK stats, the ranking in brackets means “-worst”, i.e. Nashville’s 7:53 PKTOI/Gm (1st) means they have the worst mark in the league – so the lower the rank, the better they are defensively.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Stats Toronto (A) Columbus (H)
PP Time/Game  4:36 (31st)  4:49 (26th)
PK Time/Game  5:20 (18th)  4:09 (30th)
PP Shot Rate (/60)  59.21 (8th)  42.48 (31st)
PK Shot Allowed Rate  57.78 (9th)  55.95 (12th)
PP HD Chance Rate  37.61 (1st)  15.02 (31st)
PK HD Chance Allowed Rate  20.22 (22nd)  19.5 (24th)
PK Save %  0.857 (22nd)  0.847 (18th)

Conclusion: The Jackets’ power play has been atrocious all season, ranking DFL in both shot rate and high-danger chance rate. One of the issues for the Jackets has been finding a set-up that works; most teams have shaded to the left circle (where Panarin sets up in the OV/Laine office) to take that shot away, which also means that Werenski‘s point shot is also taken away. With no Werenski in the lineup tonight, Seth Jones should be running the 1st power play unit, but that may not make a difference. The Leafs PK does allow a lot of shots from the center of the ice from the d-men, so Jones makes a nice target just on shot volume, but CBJ will have to clean up rebounds if they hope to get pot one on the man advantage. Targets from Columbus: Jones, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nick FolignoAlex Wennberg.

Conversely, the Leafs have one of the most dynamic power plays in the league, generating the 8th-most shots per 60 and a MASSIVE amount of high-danger chances. To put their HD rate in perspective, the second-best team in that category is Dallas who generate 29.22/60, a full 8HD chances less per 60. The Leafs run most of their shots/chances from the right side of the ice, letting players like Mitch Marner or Jake Gardiner shoot from the circle, and the Leafs convert the rebounds very well. The Jackets PK is pretty strong although they allow a fair number of shots, but there’s no one area of the ice they don’t protect – if Toronto is to score on the PP, expect it to come on a rebound. Targets from Toronto: Nazem KadriMitch MarnerJames van Riemsdyk

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Detroit Red Wings

Stats Detroit (A) Philadelphia (H)
PP Time/Game  4:50 (25th)  5:36 (13th)
PK Time/Game  5:33 (11th)  4:46 (27th)
PP Shot Rate (/60)  47.63 (29th)  63.87 (2nd)
PK Shot Allowed Rate  55.26 (15th)  54.82 (17th)
PP HD Chance Rate  19.13 (23rd)  23.67 (12th)
PK HD Chance Allowed Rate  23.54 (14th)  24.75 (11th)
PK Save %  0.902 (30th)  0.769 (3rd)

Conclusion: The Flyers also have one of the most potent power plays in the league, taking the 2nd-most shots/60 and drawing a slightly above average amount of PP time. They run the PP through Shayne Gostisbehere on the point, who holds the center of the ice while looking for the shooting lane or Jakub Voracek on his right. Voracek can then either fire the puck or look for a lane back to GhostBear or through the center of the ice, but the Flyers basically ignore the entire left side of the zone. That won’t work too effectively against the Red Wings, who shut down most perimeter shooting except for the left side of the ice. Philadelphia targets: Voracek and Gostisbehere.

Detroit’s PP would be the worst on the slate if not for the anemic CBJ special teams, as the Red Wings barely shoot, barely draw penalties, and never get HD chances. One thing in their favour is that Philadelphia is bad at allowing high-danger chances, and even worse at stopping them (3rd-worst HD sv%). Detroit tends to look to the right side of the ice (near the circle) and either take the shot from there, or like the Flyers try to feather a pass through the center of the ice. On the second unit, they set up Martin Frk in the Ovechkin spot, but most teams have been shading to that side to take that shot away – except Philadelphia struggles in that regard. Even then, the focus should be on the net-front (Abdelkader/Tatar on PP1, Larkin/Athanasiou on PP2) and the right-side shooter (Zetterberg and Mantha on PP1/PP2 respectively).

Calgary Flames vs. St. Louis Blues

Stats St. Louis (A) Calgary  (H)
PP Time/Game  5:56 (4th)  5:43 (9th)
PK Time/Game  5:10 (24th)  5:21 (16th)
PP Shot Rate (/60)  56.23 (11th)  51.54 (21st)
PK Shot Allowed Rate  54.82 (17th)  60.53 (5th)
PP HD Chance Rate  21.92 (14th)  25.92 (8th)
PK HD Chance Allowed Rate  26.13 (7th)  26.32 (5th)
PK HD Save %  0.822 (10th)  0.800 (8th)

Conclusion: St. Louis and Calgary both draw a good number of penalties, and struggle on the penalty kill – moreso the Flames. Unfortunately, the loss of Jaden Schwartz is a big one for the Blues who any other night would be a great team to target. St. Louis still have a strong power play set-up that relies on the d-man (Parayko or Pietrangelo) a lot, set up in the center of the ice. More often than not they’ll look to the right side of the ice (Tarasenko) to get the puck on net, but the Flames have been much improved in shutting down shot attempts from both circles. The Flames struggle in allowing rebound chances and allow too many shots from the point to get through, so the St. Louis targets would be one of the d-men (Parayko/Pietrangelo) and the net-front presence (Schenn).

Calgary’s power play relies heavily on the defensemen, which helps explain their low shooting rate but high HD rate – they tend to pass up shots from the circles and have the d-men force shots through. Given that the Blues PKers play a very aggressive style up at the points, this should leave a lot of passing lanes open to the circles, but the Flames will need to be able to force those passes through and change their PP set-up. Assuming they can do that is a big assumption, but if they do the targets would be the wings on either side (Gaudreau/Bennett).

Power Plays to Target
2) DETPP2 – better at shot generation (69SF/60 to 44SF/60) & HD chances (32HDCF/60 to 16HDCF/60)
3) STLPP1 – not much interest in anyone but Parayko/Pietrangelo, and Brayden Schenn