You often hear people describe the NHL as a copycat league. Whenever a team does something different, the rest of the league is quick to adopt their own version of it.
Over the last several years, NHL teams have largely adopted the 1-3-1 as their default power play formation. While this is certainly dangerous due to the multitude of passing and shooting options it presents, it is also a look teams have seen before and know how to defend. They may not always be successful, but teams know what to expect.
Today I’m going to explain what I think should be a team’s default power play formation, something that no one really does in 5-on-4 situations. This is to run the power play from behind the net.
I installed this with the team I coached this past season and it worked quite well. I’ve also heard from a variety of other coaches that tried it and reported success with using it.
So, how did I arrive at the decision to install a power play below the goal line? The answer is analytics.
A big focus in my work over the years has been game strategy and isolating specific shot sequences. What are more efficient ways to score? How can we do this?
My first piece on the topic was two years ago. I revisited it last year, and plan on doing so again in the near future. In addition to analyzing these plays, and so it can have an impact later on in the game as well.
The findings are simple: shots that are created from passes originating below the goal line have a significant relationship to future scoring. How can you build a power play around this offensive concept?
Let’s walk through it.
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