Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Puck Prospectus Post: "What Power-Play?"

"After the 2007-08 season, the NHL changed a rule in order to increase offense on the power play. In the past, when a penalty was called, the first power play faceoff was taken wherever the puck was touched. Starting with the 2008-09 season, faceoffs were now going to be in the penalized team's defensive zone. This had the desired impact - teams no longer had to skate the length of the ice when they had the man advantage, so they had the opportunity to spend a little bit more time on their actual power play. The overall impact was a nine percent increase in power play scoring..."

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Scoring Probability vs Length of a 2-man advantage

I was asked recently about how the length of a 5-on-3 affects the rate at which teams score. Obviously, very few 5-on-3s run a full two minutes - it's both rare to take two penalties at once, and to successfully kill a two-man disadvantage. (In fact, it has only happened once so far during the 2008-09 season.) Here is the overall scoring rate this season for power plays versus the length of the man-advantage:

The way to read this is as follows - at 60 seconds, 30% of 2-man-advantages have resulted in a goal, while the rate is about 12% for 5-on-4s. That includes all goals scored in 60 seconds or less, and all power plays that have lasted 60 seconds or longer. If you're already on a 5-on-4 and there's a delayed penalty call against the other team, the break-even point for simply passing the puck to the other team is very low - certainly you should do it if you're looking at a 2-man-advantage of 15 seconds or longer.

This chart would look slightly different prior to the 2008-09 season. A rule change for this season puts all face-offs to start a power-play in a team's offensive zone, regardless of where the puck was touched by the offending team. In past, teams would have required another few seconds to move the puck up the ice on some power plays, and the scoring rate would have been shifted rightward in the first few seconds.


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