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Weekly Red Wings Power Play Update - Week Six

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Detroit Red Wings Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Week Six of the Detroit Power Play Update series. Each week, I’ll take a look back at the previous week’s power play performance. At the bottom, you will find links to the previous editions.

5v4 Stats Update

This article is accurate up to the Carolina game on November 10th. Even though this article posts on Wednesday, it’s written on Tuesday, so the Coyotes game will go into next week’s article.

First, here’s a quick update on the team metrics that this series is focusing on:

Goals / 60: 6th. Last week: 7th
Unblocked Shots / 60: 20th. Last week: 19th
High Danger Chances For / 60: 9th. Last week: 10th.
% HDCF of Unblocked Shots: 4th. Last week: 7th.

Detroit has held nearly steady at three out of these four metrics, but they moved up 3 slots in the percentage of unblocked shots that are high danger. Since they were already in the top quarter of the league, moving up 3 spots is a pretty big jump.

Also, based on a suggestion by reader Magic_13, here are the 4v5 rankings for the teams Detroit played this week:

Goals Against / 60: 19th
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 15th
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 22nd
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 25th

New York Rangers:
Goals Against / 60: 21st
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 22nd
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 26th
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 20th

Goals Against / 60: 27th
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 1st
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 14th
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 28th

Shot Locations

Since the team improved in % HDCF of Unblocked Shots, it makes sense to look at the shot locations from the past three games.

Over the past three games, the team has done a good job of getting shots from dangerous locations.

In today’s article, the focus is going to be on face-offs. Last week, we talked about the face-off performance of Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen, and Andreas Athanasiou, the three players who have taken five or more face-offs at 5v4. Each has been over league average, but face-off percentage covers every face-off location. How have they been doing at each face-off location? Let’s take a look.

Face-off Locations

The first thing that is immediately noticeable is the discrepancy between the left and right offensive zone face-off circles. Detroit is 62% or higher at 5v4 in every face-off dot except for the dot to the right of the opposing goalie. They’ve taken 29 face-offs in each of the offensive zone dots, but they are 24% worse in the right dot.

This seemed like an interesting discrepancy to dig into. Prashanth Iyer suggested that the discrepancy can be from Detroit’s lack of right handed centers. Luke Glendening is right handed, but he’s not taking 5v4 face-offs.

Here is a breakdown of Detroit’s 5v4 face-offs by location and player.

Dylan Larkin is doing better from the left side, but he’s also above 50% on the right side, which is 16% higher than the team total, so he doesn’t seem to be the main culprit. In fact, Dylan Larkin is 15th in the league in 5v4 Face-off%, and only 3 people above him have taken more than three 5v4 face-offs. (Stick tap to Prashanth for pointing that out).

Andreas Athanasiou does not often take draws at 5v4 this season, only taking 6, but he’s won both of the ones he’s taken from the left dot and two of four taken from the right.

That leaves Frans Nielsen, who turns out to be the leading cause of Detroit’s low face-off percentage from the right offensive dot. Even so, his overall 56 win% at 5v4 is tied for 46th in the league (out of the top 100 players by total face-offs)

To be fair, with the small number of face-offs so far, a good run of games could easily see his number increase dramatically. It’s a cause for concern, but not something to panic over.

Last year, Larkin was 62% in both offensive zone face-off dots at 5v4, while Nielsen was 67% at the left dot and 50% at the right dot. So, even though #51 had a lower win% at the right dot last season, it was much higher than this season. It’s very likely, he’ll end up much closer to 50% than 12%.

Let’s Go to the Videotape

So here’s the thing.

In these last three games, Detroit took eight 5v4 face-offs. So, the plan to look for patterns hit a snag, as there wasn’t enough there. But, we don’t want you to go away empty-video-handed. So here’s the power play goal Detroit scored last week, which came off a play set up by a clean face-off win.

Larkin wins the draw against Antoine Roussel (who currently has a 42.86% 4v5 face-off win percentage) back to Mike Green. Mantha curls back to the net front role, Abdelkader slides into the slot, and Martin Frk goes to his position on the half-boards. Green passes back to Larkin, and you can see Mantha start to slide out to the boards to give Larkin a passing option.

Mantha goes back to Larkin, who gives it back to Green. Green passes back to Larkin, who tries to thread the needle to Frk at the backdoor. While if the pass gets through, Frk has an open net, Larkin forces this pass. Fortunately for Detroit, the puck doesn’t make it through, which normally wouldn’t be good, except for the part about it landing on Abdelkader’s stick for an easy goal. The Red Wings forward still should get credit for being in the right place, and let’s be honest, we’ve seen players not score on easier chances.

So Far

The large gap between face-off wins from each of the offensive zone face-off circles is going to be interesting to follow as the season progresses. I’ll keep an eye out in future weeks to look for differences between face-offs at the two dots. Again, based on last year’s results, it does seem like there is a difference between the left and right dot, but it’s likely that Nielsen’s win% in the right dot will increase as he takes more.

As always, please let me know if there are specific aspects you want me to focus on in future installments. Thanks for reading, and come back next week.

Previous Editions

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five