21.7%. That’s the Golden Knights’ power play percentage this season, the 13th best rate in the NHL. It’s just 0.3% off the franchise high-water mark which was set in the 71-game 2019-20 season.
We may not quite be at the point to say the Vegas power play has completely turned it around, but there’s no question it can be scratched off the weaknesses tab, where it has been atop the list for quite some time.
The Golden Knights have scored at least one power play goal in seven of the last ten games, including three in a row, and they have outscored their opponents on special teams in six of the last ten.
I think there’s some chemistry developing. In the middle of the power play they are able to adjust better to what the other team is doing than they were last year, or more willing. More willing to move around and play different positions on the power play but still maintaining the structure of the 1-3-1. -Bruce Cassidy
Movement has been something missing for an awfully long tme and it appears the new setup the Golden Knights rolled out during the Eastern road swing has seemed to unlock it.
With Chandler Stephenson out of the lineup for two games to start off that trip, the Golden Knights were forced to bump William Karlsson up to the first unit. In doing so, they opted to shift Mark Stone to the bumper role and swap sides of the ice with Jonathan Marchessault and Jack Eichel.
So, rather than…
The Golden Knights are now using…
It’s a good setup. Petro has the one-timer up top if I feed it to him and Marchy has the one-timer if I can get it through the seam, and I can also shoot coming downhill too. It just gives us a lot of options. It’s been working good. -Jack Eichel
The biggest difference has been how the puck reacts on Eichel’s stick when he’s on his off-side as opposed to the strong side. On the left, where he used to be, Eichel was known to hold onto the puck for longer periods of time waiting for the pass into the bumper or through the seam. But on the other side, he’s moving the puck much quicker which has been more effective for the unit as a whole.
We’re going through the checklist and we’re hitting them better than we did probably last year. I think we forced more plays and were more predictable last year. -Cassidy
The current setup also offers something unique that not many power plays in the league have, three right-handed players through the middle band of the unit. Marchessault, Stone, and Eichel are all shoot with their right-hand which gives Vegas a look Cassidy was fearful of from one of the better units of the past.
It reminds me of Winnipeg years ago when they had Laine, Scheifele, and Wheeler. I thought they were as dangerous as any power play. They used the bumper and the seam and as long as their spacing was good one guy couldn’t cover both so it made it tough on the net front D. -Cassidy
Since making the change, Vegas has converted on 9 of 43 power plays. That’s almost identical to their season average. But, they’ve seen an increase in just about every metric. On a per 60 basis since December 14th, the VGK power play is up 13 shot attempts, 7 shots on goal, 1.7 expected goals, 14 scoring chances, and 11 high-danger chances.
The new-look power play is cooking, and it appears it’s here to stay.