The Golden Knights are one for their last 24 on the power play. They matched their longest stretch of the season by not scoring a PP goal in six straight games and have dropped to 12th in the league at 18.8% on the season.
So, the obvious question is, what’s going wrong that’s keeping the Golden Knights from converting?
The answer, and please don’t want to hurt me when you read this, is nothing. The power play has actually been quite good except for the end product. They’ve been successfully entering the zone with regularity, they’ve won a majority of face-offs, they’ve spent most of their man-advantage time in the offensive zone, and they’ve created a ton of chances, many Grade A+.
In the 24 power play opportunities, the Golden Knights have created 46 scoring chances, 24 of them high danger (according to NaturalStatTrick.com). That’s almost two chances per PP and at least one of them either in the blue paint or right around it.
I watched all 24 power plays and counted just two that I would consider below average. More than 15 were what I consider good or great.
Here are four examples of great chances that aren’t converted into goals.
Yet, just one goal. Why? The main reason is good goaltending. John Gibson robbed about four great chances. Jack Campbell turned away a few. Martin Jones was very good as well. But more so, a lot of it has to do with the variance that’s built into the game of hockey, especially on the PP. The Golden Knights had been very consistent prior to this stretch. Outside of the first six games of the season, Vegas had not gone three straight without a power play goal. They also rose to over 20% and remained in the top 10 in the league for a majority of the year after the miserable start.
Of course, missing Reilly Smith and Colin Miller makes everything a bit tougher on the PP. Miller is a focal point on the unit he plays on, constantly a threat to score from the point, and Smith is dangerous in close to the net making the final pass that leads to the goal.
However, that excuse would hold more weight if it actually showed itself on the ice. Instead, the Golden Knights are getting shots from the point, they are getting through, and it doesn’t look like this as missing a playmaker like Smith.
Also, the Golden Knights remain the only team in the NHL to have not allowed a shorthanded goal. So even without scoring, the PP has guaranteed two minutes of scoreless hockey on the other end. In fact, the Golden Knights barely even allow chances while on the man-advantage. Vegas has only allowed multiple shorthanded scoring chances in a game in four of their 48 games this season. They’ve only allowed 23 chances in more than 243 minutes of PP time.
All in all, while the power play may look anemic at the moment, patience is all that’s necessary. Every ingredient to a good power play is there, they just need the finishing touch and I’m confident they’ll find it, soon.