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Hockey Analytics

Power Play Line Combinations

by Gus Katsaros
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

I was curious to see what the Columbus power-play was doing so right in order to generate a 25% efficiency, while also trying to differentiate who's benefiting on the ice by all this firepower.

 

This neat breakdown by Jack Han offered a visual explanation of how the Blue jackets utilize triangles to formulate success.

 

New #1MinuteTactics: Why is #BlueJackets 1-3-1 PP so visually appealing and offensively potent? Triangles! @AlisonL @IneffectiveMath pic.twitter.com/cWUAEdEB7Q

— Jack Han (@ml_han) November 20, 2016

 

 

Not everyone has the ability to highlight efficiency through video however and pinpointing specifics maybe too deep an analysis if you’re looking to supplement your fantasy roster with a player knocking it out on the power play.

 

Another neat feature appears on Corsica. is the ability to evaluate entire line combos performance, taking the conventional WOWY (with or without you) analysis one step further from player pairings to include the full forward unit. The site also offers the ability to download the results into a handy .csv file to open with Microsoft Excel for more detailed analysis should poolies/users require to do some work offline.

 

Most power plays have experimented with, or use a lone defenseman at the top of the 1-3-1 or umbrella, adding a fourth forward and changing the dynamic somewhat.

 

At 5v5 this is a very useful tool, but for the purposes below I just wanted focus on 5v4 line combos. Power play analysis can be enhanced immensely by system/video and analytics work (as Jack showed in his video), with practical applications, detailed and focused study used as a springboard to launch the talented Arik Parnass into an NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche.

 

Here, we are going to dive into some 5v4 line combinations. Injuries, futility and occasional coach’s carousel changes things up, but most teams don’t stray too much from a main unit – and a secondary unit if time permits – unless the first unit scores a ton.

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning have used 18 different combinations at 5v4 accumulating 78 total points, while the Buffalo Sabres have used five different units - 58 points. The high flying Columbus Blue Jackets have 74 points among the nine different combos (data cutoff is as of Nov 21).

 

In all, 137 different NHL line combinations have produced at least one goal at 5v4 and 158 combination totaling 369 fruitless minutes without a goal.

 

Only 25 line combos league wide have scored more than five goals. At the bottom of the listing (which is alphabetical), four different Toronto Maple Leafs combinations featuring an Auston Matthews/William Nylander combination or either of them with the Nazem Kadri/Leo Komarov pairing.

 

P1

P2

P3

Team

TOI

GF

SF60

FF60

KYLE.OKPOSO

SAM.REINHART

MATT.MOULSON

BUF

50.25

10

72.84

96.72

SAM.REINHART

RYAN.O'REILLY

MATT.MOULSON

BUF

31.94

9

75.14

108.95

SAM.REINHART

RYAN.O'REILLY

KYLE.OKPOSO

BUF

30.38

8

71.1

104.67

RYAN.O'REILLY

KYLE.OKPOSO

MATT.MOULSON

BUF

28.82

8

74.95

108.26

ALEX.WENNBERG

CAM.ATKINSON

NICK.FOLIGNO

CBJ

36.18

12

63.02

91.21

ALEX.WENNBERG

SAM.GAGNER

NICK.FOLIGNO

CBJ

32.27

8

57.64

79.95

SAM.GAGNER

CAM.ATKINSON

NICK.FOLIGNO

CBJ

31.56

8

58.94

83.65

ALEX.WENNBERG

SAM.GAGNER

CAM.ATKINSON

CBJ

30.54

8

60.9

84.48

TYLER.SEGUIN

PATRICK.EAVES

JAMIE.BENN

DAL

58.66

10

52.17

83.87

JASON.SPEZZA

TYLER.SEGUIN

JAMIE.BENN

DAL

31.65

6

43.6

79.62

JORDAN.EBERLE

CONNOR.MCDAVID

MILAN.LUCIC

EDM

51.54

8

50.06

68.68

MIKE.FISHER

RYAN.JOHANSEN

JAMES.NEAL

NSH

32.08

6

65.46

74.81

WAYNE.SIMMONDS

CLAUDE.GIROUX

JAKUB.VORACEK

PHI

64.59

9

65.03

98.47

BRAYDEN.SCHENN

WAYNE.SIMMONDS

CLAUDE.GIROUX

PHI

58.5

11

70.77

103.59

BRAYDEN.SCHENN

WAYNE.SIMMONDS

JAKUB.VORACEK

PHI

54.37

7

69.52

102.63

BRAYDEN.SCHENN

CLAUDE.GIROUX

JAKUB.VORACEK

PHI

53.07

7

67.83

101.75

EVGENI.MALKIN

PHIL.KESSEL

PATRIC.HORNQVIST

PIT

42.67

9

70.31

87.18

EVGENI.MALKIN

PHIL.KESSEL

SIDNEY.CROSBY

PIT

34.5

9

53.91

66.09

TYLER.JOHNSON

STEVEN.STAMKOS

ONDREJ.PALAT

T.B

40.81

6

66.16

86.74

VLADISLAV.NAMESTNIKOV

STEVEN.STAMKOS

ONDREJ.PALAT

T.B

35.98

6

66.7

85.05

ALEX.KILLORN

BRAYDEN.POINT

VALTTERI.FILPPULA

T.B

26.2

6

70.99

84.73

WILLIAM.NYLANDER

AUSTON.MATTHEWS

LEO.KOMAROV

TOR

31.72

7

62.42

83.23

WILLIAM.NYLANDER

AUSTON.MATTHEWS

NAZEM.KADRI

TOR

28.94

6

55.98

78.78

WILLIAM.NYLANDER

NAZEM.KADRI

LEO.KOMAROV

TOR

22.56

6

63.83

85.11

AUSTON.MATTHEWS

NAZEM.KADRI

LEO.KOMAROV

TOR

22.3

6

64.57

86.1

 

 

All the teams listed above appear in the top 10 NHL shooting percentage, with the exception of the Edmonton Oilers, ranked 12th rolling in with one line. Toronto ranked exactly half (15th), playing 90.8 minutes overall and well below the 106 average time on ice, scoring 27 goals – almost doubling the league average.

 

Sorted by team shooting percentage at 5v4 (hello surprising Columbus scoring machine) in the table below, the last column shows the average amount of points earned per goal, a figure that’s more desirable closer to three than one. The NHL average is 1.81. Los Angeles has earned the most points per goal on five 5v4 goals. Tampa Bay who sits right at the NHL average points/goal have scored the most (43) in the NHL.

 

Teams

 Combos

 GF

Line Pts

Tm SH%

TOI

Pts/Goal

CBJ

9

37

74

25

75.2

2.00

MTL

7

8

12

21.6

92.8

1.50

PIT

8

22

42

18.8

96.7

1.91

CAR

8

11

21

16.7

98.7

1.91

T.B

18

43

78

16.4

118

1.81

DAL

11

30

52

15.9

128

1.73

BUF

5

35

58

15.9

103

1.66

PHI

9

38

62

14.6

119

1.63

NSH

9

21

34

14.4

108

1.62

NYR

14

16

32

14.1

106

2.00

COL

6

5

10

13.9

93.1

2.00

EDM

14

27

50

13.3

102

1.85

CHI

7

8

15

12.5

119

1.88

STL

13

18

31

12

119

1.72

TOR

10

27

54

12

90.8

2.00

ANA

6

6

13

11.7

125

2.17

ARI

8

3

5

11.1

95.7

1.67

DET

9

4

5

11

119

1.25

MIN

7

4

7

10.7

109

1.75

FLA

9

8

15

10.3

122

1.88

NYI

11

6

7

8.57

84.1

1.17

VAN

10

8

17

8.57

104

2.13

L.A

6

5

12

8.33

106

2.40

N.J

12

11

17

7.87

117

1.55

OTT

12

14

22

7.58

89.2

1.57

S.J

12

15

22

7.22

107

1.47

BOS

10

7

16

7.14

103

2.29

WPG

11

12

25

6.45

131

2.08

CGY

9

3

5

6.32

131

1.67

WSH

15

18

36

6.17

95.5

2.00

 

Sometimes when trying to supplement a roster and might be looking specifically for a player that performs well at 5v4. Using the functionality here to isolate a team/player, working on their performance on a line – and then breaking it down to that player with each of the linemates separately offers a distinct view of who is driving the power play.

 

For instance, Alexander Wennberg, Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson all rank at the top of points per game at 5v4 and all three players are featured at the top of the Blue Jackets line combination pairings together or supplemented by a complementary player.

 

For the Leafs, the Nylander and Matthews combo have appeared together very often, but as far as production is concerned, Nylander has earned a point on every goal scored while on the ice at 5v4 and Matthews on 57.1% of the goals scored.

 

There’s much more to explore with sites taking analysis to the next level. Check out Corsica.ca for more on this.

Gus Katsaros
Gus Katsaros is the Pro Scouting Coordinator with McKeen’s Hockey, publishers of industry leading scouting and fantasy guide, the McKeen’s Annual Hockey Pool Yearbook. He also contributes to popular blog MapleLeafsHotStove.com ... he can be followed on Twitter @KatsHockey