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Weekly Red Wings Power Play Update - Week 16

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to Week Sixteen 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

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

Goals / 60: 24th. Last week: 22nd

Unblocked Shots / 60: 27th. Last week: 27th

High Danger Chances For / 60: 25th. Last week: 28th

% HDCF of Unblocked Shots: 18th. Last week: 26th

A week in which Detroit scored one power play goal with more chances than they are used to (Detroit had 19:33 of 5v4 time over that period) means it’s not surprising they still find themselves near the bottom of the league in 5v4 stats.

Here is a look at the PK stats of the teams we played last week.


Goals Against / 60: 18th
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 28th
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 31st
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 28th


Goals Against / 60: 16th
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 3rd
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 7th
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 22nd


Goals Against / 60: 24th
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 10th
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 18th
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 24th


Goals Against / 60: 20th
Unblocked Shots Against / 60: 6th
High Danger Chances Against / 60: 22nd
% HDCA of Unblocked Shots: 28th

The big chance this past week to pick up ground on the PP was against Anaheim. Detroit had a grand total of 0:00 PP time that game. Detroit is no longer last in the league in 5v4 TOI, but they are still near the bottom (27th)

Passing Locations

With the big gap in games, I hope to get a lot closer to being up to date with my manual tracking project, in which I track all Detroit pass attempts on the power play this season.

Through 10 games, here are the passes in which the next event was a goal:

Out of the nine goals, five were scored off of setup passes that were cross-crease (sometimes called “royal road.”) Obviously, it’ll be interesting to see what the percentage looks like with more data.

Just to make sure it’s clear, the shot was not necessarily taken from the exact spot in which the player received it. A goal was scored by the player receiving it shortly after. When I am up to date on all the data, I’ll go more in depth.

If you remember a previous edition when I showed a little of this data, I looked at where Cholowski’s passes were coming to see if he was really favoring one side like it appeared. Here are Cholowski’s PP pass attempts for the first 10 games and Kronwall’s for comparison.

It does appear that through ten games, Cholowski was making far more passes from his left side than his right.

One of the reasons I started the tracking process is that I thought that Vanek was making more passes to high danger areas than other players. While there’s still a lot more data to collect, here are Vanek’s pass attempts through the first ten games:

There are definitely a good amount of passes to dangerous areas, but it awaits to be seen how it compares to other players.

Let’s Go To the Videotape!

For the video segment before we take another week off, since there are no Detroit games to look at, here are some positive moments that show that even though Detroit only scored one PP goal last week, they actually did do well on the power play sometimes. There are also some negative moments to show areas for improvement.

(The power play against Edmonton looked mostly terrible, which a few good spots).

This first clip is a really nice passing play from Bertuzzi, to Green, to Mantha, to Athanasiou for the one-timer in a dangerous location. As poor as the power play looked against Edmonton, it looked real good in parts of the Calgary and Vancouver games.

We’ve seen variations on this next breakout before, but this is a really good example of mixing up the breakout and making the right decision quickly all around.

I want to point out that from watching all of the power play breakouts so far, I’ve noticed the play often seems to break down on that last pass going into the zone. Either the pass is off or the receiver can’t handle it cleanly, and a defender gets it and shoots it down the ice. This play nearly broke up at that point, but Vanek does a ice job to regain control and keep possession.

This play works because we are so used to seeing Kronwall drop the puck here, but this time he passes forward to Vanek. While the defense is adjusting, Vanek basically does what Kronwall would have done with a drop pass, only now the defenders are off-balance. An all-around nice job here.

The third clip here is another example of good, quick passing. Again, Vanek has the key pass with the one-timer that gives Larkin a great scoring chance.

The next two clips are the goal against Calgary. While the goal isn’t scored until the second clip, the first one is a fantastic example of why having two players below the goal line on a 5 on 3 can be so effective. Vanek is below the goal line, which gives him a great angle to Larkin in the slot, but what also contributed to that was the pass from Nyquist also coming from below the goal line.

In the past, Detroit has moved the puck way too slowly and predictably on a 5 on 3. Not in this case.

There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the goal, although it’s a continuation of the previous clip, and Calgary has to pay close attention to the potential pass to Vanek because of the previous play, so Mantha has more room to shoot than he typically would here.

One more good sequence before the negative clips (and a bonus one at the end that ties back to last week’s article).

In the Vancouver game, even though the team didn’t score on the power play, they had several sequences of sustained pressure, great passing, and solid chances. This next three clip sequence is one such example.

Four out of the five Red Wings touch the puck on this sequence. The fifth should have scored, except for a short time both referees apparently blacked out and missed one of the most comical no-calls I’ve seen in quite a while. Notice the player movement in addition to the puck movement. The defense has to constantly be aware of players moving and switching locations.

The player/puck movement continues in the next clip (which continues immediately from the end of the previous one). Vanek tries a play he’s attempted a few times recently, which is to deflect the pass, looking to go over the goalie’s shoulder. It hasn’t worked yet, but he’s come close at least one other time. Also, I love Mantha in this spot. He’s been sliding from the blue line as another point option to the circles as a one-time option.

Here’s the last clip in the sequence. These three taken together are a good illustration of how evaluating the power play’s performance is more than just “did they score?” Keep doing this, and the goals will follow.

Obviously, it wasn’t all good. The next two clips are indicative of a problem when the power play is running poorly. These next two plays from Kronwall and Mantha aren’t just bad passes, those are going to happen sometimes, but they are bad passes that are due to a lack of concentration. Both of them don’t seem to pay much attention to where the pass is going and each pass leads to a regroup, resulting in wasted time.

On the first one, I don’t fault Kronwall for waiting behind the net. The team was changing, and he shouldn’t try to go up ice until they do. The problem is that this pass is such an easy pass for an NHL player that there’s no excuse for it.

On Mantha’s miscue, first notice that they are running the same breakout play that they did in the second clip of the article, but this time Vanek waits instead of one-timing the pass back. It’s a good setup with multiple options. The pass that Mantha makes is a good one, assuming the defender hasn’t gone to the board to cut it off. But he has, and Mantha needs to recognize that before throwing it back to the point.

The next clip is indicative of how the power play mostly looked against Edmonton. Everything is too slow. Players aren’t in positions to receive passes. It was not fun to watch (outside of Athanasiou’s near goal)

The last clip before the bonus callback one is the shorthanded goal against scored by the Flames. It may be tempting to blame Cholowski here, but Vanek puts a really hard to handle pass into a space where the rookie has to settle it down with three defenders around him. Kronwall does a good job getting back, and is in good position. Larkin is in good position to harass the shooter. This goal is partially on Vanek for the initial pass that leads to the turnover, but this is an atrocious goal for Bernier to let in here.

As I alluded to before, I wanted to end with a clip that made me think of a comment from last week’s edition from user Magic_13.

The topic of Athanasiou’s positioning on one-timers came up, and we talked about how hard it is to make the pass from one half-boards to the other to set up the one-time shot closer to the goal line. I present: Filip Hronek.

So Far

Heading into the All-Star break, Detroit has shown some signs of life on the power play, although some of the previous trouble areas are still there.

Previous Editions

Week One
Week Two
Week Three
Week Four
Week Five
Week Six
Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine
Week Ten
Week Eleven
Week Twelve - No Edition This Week
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen
Week Fifteen