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Golden Knights Adding Variety To Power Play Entries

I’m aware this is from a while ago, but how often do we get a chance to use a picture of Tom Wilson in the box and it kinda fits? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

The Golden Knights power play is, how do I say this politely, a… work in progress. They currently sit 30th in the NHL, connecting on 13.5% of their chances this season.

It’s one aspect of the game Vegas’ front office and coaching staff specifically targeted as an area for improvement this offseason. So far, improvement is not what we’ve seen, but recently, we’re starting to see some changes which could lead to a breakthrough.

Aside from numerous shifts in personnel, mostly due to injury, the Golden Knights have begun to mix up their entry strategies. Previously, basically since DeBoer took over, the Golden Knights have been reliant on the drop pass entry. One player, usually a defenseman, takes the puck from behind the goal, skates hard into the teeth of the penalty kill’s neutral zone set up, then wheels and drops the puck off to a teammate coming up behind him. Here’s what it looks like.

The idea is to first back off the defense, basically forcing them to either stand still on the blue line or retreat into the defensive zone. Then, the puck is laid off to a puck carrier with forward momentum and options spread across the ice. It’s a much maligned power play entry tactic by fans and media alike, but historically it’s proven to be the most consistently effective strategy both in gaining the zone and scoring directly off the rush on the power play.

The Golden Knights have implemented a few different wrinkles to the drop pass entry including having multiple options to drop to, quickly advancing a pass to the red line only to drop it back, or even occasionally using a double drop pass. But for the most part, this style of entry has been the primary style of attack the entire DeBoer era and most of the time before him. Here’s an example of a double drop pass entry that works brilliantly.

Recently though, we’ve started to see some new entry methods mixed in and it’s helped the power play tremendously. One of the most commonly used new entry styles is a stretch entry. Instead of waiting for everyone on both teams to set up, the Golden Knights are looking for the quick pass up the ice to catch the penalty kill before it is ready.

Another similar option is the quick entry. In this one, the Golden Knights hit a shorter pass and take the ice given to them to just skate it right in. It won’t always be there, but when it is, it makes the hardest part of the power play look way too easy.

Finally, when those two faster options aren’t available, the Golden Knights have started to default to a five-across carry option. One player skates up with the puck with two players fanned off to both his right and left. He can either take it all the way himself (unlikely) or move it off to any of the four options, all moving forward, coming with him.

The new found variety in entry seems to be helping the power play quite a bit. Since the Detroit game on the road, the Golden Knights have been much more varied in their entry styles. The drop pass is still included from time to time, but it no longer appears to be the clear number one option as it was prior. Since that game, Vegas has hit on three of their 16 power play chances, good for 18.8%. Before that, they were just two for 21 (9.5%).

The VGK power play still has a long way to go before it can truly become a threat that scares opponents, but seeing meaningful changes for the first time in a long time is a step in the right direction.

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16 Comments

  1. All the videos are the same

  2. Daryl

    Getting the puck over the blue line is only part of the PP. Keeping control of the puck once you enter and setting up the offense is another issue all in itself. I don’t really like the last option you mentioned as uts a slower entry and gives the PK time to set up. The first two options requires your Dman to be able to cleaning carry the puck into the offensive zone but that is hard to do with a NZ attack. If you can time it and use an even rush, similar to the last example, it pushes the defense back and the puk carrier can stop just over the blueline and control and setup the PP

  3. Galdom

    Max Pacioretty should help!!!!!

    Hope he is ready tonight.

  4. THE hockey GOD

    1- I expect the power play to get better when a) VGK get more PP chances (they have the least in the league, or close to it; which means it makes it harder to get good at it when you can’t get real time game experience) b) players suited to play on the power play get off the IR. Also , inherent in this is ability to draw penalties. IT’s tough on your PP if your players who draw the penalty are also on subsequent PP unit. The youngsters need to draw more penalties. And everyone needs to stop taking stupid offensive zone penalties.
    2- VGK fast transition style is not suited to power play especially when other team stands four men up at blue line (Freddy Shiro style of play vs. Red Army).
    3- I am not in favor of the drop pass AT ALL. It takes one player immediately out of play (the player dropping the pass), and puts you back to four on four situation.
    4- I like using variety of options on entering zone
    5- NHL is seeing an increase in trend of player passing puck to themselves off the side boards.
    6- I ‘ d like to see more of “zone dump” into the offensive zone, with three players outnumbering the PK with strong fore checking. Which BTW the VGK “used to be ” a strong forechecking team. The only players I see forechecking with any positive results are no. 10 and some times no 61.

    enuf
    said
    call Ed

  5. Tim

    I really don’t know much about PP strategy but I do know it takes athletes who can put the puck in the net and I see them using personal who couldn’t hit an open net. In baseball you have to have the knack to be able to hit the ball consistently in hockey it’s no different you have to have a knack to put the puck in the net. I’d like the answer to this question if you haven’t scored a goal why would they be on a PP. I think a direct pass for a goal is an assist but pass to someone who passes to someone who gets a goal is a joke. Fabricated scoring to make the stats look good. Don’t get me started on that subject.

  6. I have seen some improvement, but too often on the PP shooters are telegraphing the shot allowing the goalie and defense to set up and easily block. That’s the number one issue besides an almost complete lack of movement by both the puck and skaters (although I have seen some improvement the past two weeks).

    Get Kolesar off the PP!

  7. Vic

    Yes. 55 should be nowhere near a power play. Ever.

    I like the 3rd and 5th options Ken showed above. Would be nice if they first win the initial face off, and then don’t go offside with the initial entry. That would make it a bit easier to spend some quality time inside the O zone. Simplify and make quick, sharp passes and maybe the VGK can have an average PP. All of this has been stated over and over for a year Mr. Spott.

  8. THE hockey GOD

    WOW >>>breaking:

    Kenny was the CEO of Lee’s Discount Liquor, Nevada’s largest liquor retailer, with 23 stores in Las Vegas, Reno, Mesquite, and West Wendover.

    “It is with very heavy hearts that we regretfully announce that Kenny Lee passed away in a vehicle accident yesterday, November 19, 2021.

    Kenny was the CEO of Lee’s Discount Liquor, Nevada’s largest liquor retailer with 23 stores in Las Vegas, Reno, Mesquite and West Wendover. He was an active member of the community, who, with his father, founded Lee’s Helping Hand, that over the past 20 years, has contributed millions of dollars to Nevada charities.
    Kenny was an avid golfer, passionate Golden Knights fan and most importantly, a loving
    son, husband and father.

  9. Do you think you are the only one to get news or what. You apparently are a frustrated news announcer who couldn’t get a job as one. You neglected to also mention. His dad passed a short time ago. Just on case you missed that.

  10. Excellent insightful analysis Ken. Thanks for the work you put into assembling that.

  11. phantom major

    one timers from the circle is the best way to go. and they have had some success with that when the point man moves the puck quickly. but when the point man, either 27 or 7, holds the puck and hesitates, then the whole thing crumbles into the opponent’s favor.

  12. sb

    The ‘drop back’ is losing, slow motion hockey. A PP is five strong hitting the blue line fast. This forces the D to back up. Two options: drive the puck behind the D-men or carry the puck over the blue line. Alternate these two entries and the opposition never knows which of the two are coming at them. Hit the blue line with speed, all five players. Speed makes them back up. The puck carriers are Stephenson or Karlsson or Eichel, puckhandlers with speed.

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