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Analysis: Detroit's special teams in 2007-08 and 2008-09

You may have noticed that things are a little slow around here. While news is slow, we're taking some time to recharge our batteries. During the rest of the off-season, we'll try to take a look at some interesting stats and the current roster. Today, WIM will compare Detroit's special teams between the 2007-08 and 2008-09 regular seasons.

When you compare the two seasons, it's easy to spot the differences:

2007-08 2008-09
Power Play 20.7% 25.5%
Penalty Kill 84.0% 78.3%

During the 2007-08 season, the Red Wings had a moderately successful penalty kill and had a strong power play comparatively speaking to the rest of the league (and not 2008-09).

Detroit's PP was third overall two years ago, sitting behind only Montreal (24.1%) and Philadelphia (21.8%). They recorded a total of 81 power-play tallies. Interestingly enough, the Wings registered a  20.7% success rate both at home and on the road.

Their penalty kill ranked eighth overall, allowing 57 goals when at least a man down. They did tally five shorthanded markers during the season. There was a slight difference in their kill percentage based on where they played, earning 83.1% at home and 84.8% on the road. FYI- Pittsburgh sat at No. 23 at 81.0%.

In 2008-09, the Winged Wheel led the league in power-play success rate at 25.5%, seeing more success on the road with a 26.4% success rate versus 24.7% at home. Detroit tallied 90 goals with the man advantage. Washington (25.2%), San Jose (24.2%), Boston (23.6%), and Anaheim (23.6%) round out the top five. FYI- Pittsburgh came in at No. 20 with a not-so-impressive 17.2%.

However their penalty kill wasn't so hot, ranking a sad No. 25 with only Tampa Bay, Edmonton, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Toronto registering lower penalty kill percentages -- not exactly company you want to share. While their power play performed better on the road, that was where they struggled on the PK. Detroit went 80.4% at home, yet 76.4% on the road. They did one-up last year, scoring six times while shorthanded.

So why do you guys think Detroit's power play went up by so much, but the penalty kill faltered after the 2007-08 season?

We have some other interesting comparisons...


The Red Wings' power-play was most successful against Columbus (30%) and San Jose (30%). [Note: I only included teams we've played more than twice in a season.] Against just those two squads, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom posted four goals apiece while Johan Franzen and Nicklas Lidstrom tallied three markers each with the man advantage.

Detroit's penalty kill particularly struggled against San Jose (62.5%) while succeeding versus Phoenix (100%, 14-14) and Calgary (94.7%, 18-19).


A year later, Detroit had a PP success rate of over 30% against five teams (!). These teams include Edmonton (32%), Chicago (33%), Vancouver (37%), Nashville (38%), and Phoenix (53%).

The Wings' penalty kill wasn't so hot against Phoenix (61%) or Colorado (62%) last season. They were able to handle Columbus pretty well with a 91% kill rate over six games. I find it interesting that we were best on the PK last year against Phoenix, but the hardest to deal with on the penalty kill this season.

So what do you guys think? Anything we can pull from this data?