Short-handed goals against and power play efficiency

BOSTON, MA - MAY 17: Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins scores a first period goal on a power play past Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 17, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the stronger power play units in the National Hockey League during the 2010-11 season, and best overall in the Eastern Conference to boot. People feared Steven Stamkos and his booming snap shot. 11 players on the roster all had goals with the man advantage. When the unit was doing as it should, it was outright menacing.

And when it turned the puck over during a power play, it could be an inept monstrosity.

The Bolts power play allowed 16 short-handed goals to opponents last season, the most in the NHL. Part of the blame might be attributed to lackluster goaltending for the first half of the season, but any time you repeatedly hang a goalie out to dry in that situation - be it Mike Smith, Dan Ellis, Dwayne Roloson, or even a Tim Thomas, Ryan Miller, Pekka Rinne or other noteworthy netminders from around the league -- they're not always going to stop a breakaway or an odd-man rush. It's just the law of averages.

Yet, with these 16 goals allowed on the power play, the Bolts were still ranked sixth in the NHL, and #1 overall in their Conference, with a 20.5% power play conversion rate.

Does that seem odd to anyone else? The fact the Lightning went 69 for 336 - and yet they allowed 16 goals-against on that otherwise potent unit? There's an unfairness to the fact that rankings were not effected by such a grand inefficiency of allowing so many short-handed goals against (SHGA). In comparison, the Montreal Canadiens - the #2 power play in the East last season - went 57-for-290 on the power play (a 19.7% conversion rate). They allowed 6 short-handed goals, however. If you subtract SHGA from both teams total power play goals, the Canadiens unit trumps Tampa with a 17.6% efficiency to 15.8%.

That's just one team to compare to. Here's how all 30 NHL teams would stack up if SHGA were factored against the base power play conversion rate. Note, it'd be possible to factor in shots-allowed during the power play, but I opted to keep it simple in adjusting power-play percentage by just subtracting power play goals for every SHGA allowed:

Team

Total: GP

PP Opp

PPG

PP%

SHGA

ADJ PPG

ADJ PP%

ADJ RANK

POS CHANGE

1-30 of 30 results.

 

1

Vancouver

82

296

72

24.3

2

70

23.6

1

0

2

San Jose

82

289

68

23.5

7

61

21.8

2

0

3

Anaheim

82

285

67

23.5

7

60

21.1

4

-1

4

Chicago

82

277

64

23.1

4

60

21.7

3

1

5

Detroit

82

301

67

22.3

7

60

19.9

5

0

6

Tampa Bay

82

336

69

20.5

16

53

15.8

9

-3

7

Montreal

82

290

57

19.7

6

51

17.6

7

0

8

Calgary

82

318

62

19.5

9

53

16.6

8

0

9

Buffalo

82

279

54

19.4

13

41

14.7

16

-7

10

St. Louis

82

279

52

18.6

1

51

18.3

6

4

11

Colorado

82

265

49

18.5

11

38

14.3

18

-7

12

Atlanta*

82

289

53

18.3

10

43

14.9

13

-1

13

Minnesota

82

292

53

18.2

7

46

15.8

10

3

14

Dallas

82

306

55

18

15

40

13.1

27

-13

15

Ottawa

82

257

45

17.5

4

41

16

9

6

16

Washington

82

263

46

17.5

5

41

15.6

11

5

17

NY Islanders

82

302

52

17.2

7

45

14.9

14

3

18

NY Rangers

82

290

49

16.9

5

44

15.2

12

7

19

Philadelphia

82

295

49

16.6

5

44

14.9

15

4

20

Boston

82

265

43

16.2

5

38

14.3

19

-1

21

Los Angeles

82

292

47

16.1

6

41

14

21

0

22

Toronto

82

326

52

16

8

44

13.5

26

-4

23

Phoenix

82

289

46

15.9

6

40

13.8

22

-1

24

Carolina

82

346

55

15.9

6

49

14.2

20

4

25

Pittsburgh

82

311

49

15.8

6

43

13.8

23

2

26

Nashville

82

269

41

15.2

2

39

14.5

17

9

27

Edmonton

82

304

44

14.5

2

42

13.8

24

3

28

New Jersey

82

237

34

14.4

8

26

11

29

-1

29

Columbus

82

301

42

14

11

31

10.1

30

-1

30

Florida

82

267

35

13.1

5

30

11.2

28

2

 

For the most part, the league rankings stayed rather similar with some noteworthy exceptions. Vancouver's efficient power play remained #1 overall, and while the Florida Panthers improved it's ranking, it wasn't so much that you'd change perception of their underwhelming man advantage play.

There were a few big swings. Dallas, which gave up the second most short-handed goals last season, with 15, suffered most in these adjusted rankings. They fell 13 spots. The Nashville Predators, with an underwhelming power play but an effective and efficient defense, moved up 9 spots to 17th in the league.

With their SHGA subtracted from their conversion rate, the Lightning still were in a tie for 9th in the league. That is a testament of the potency the team had while playing a man-up last season. It also makes one wonder if Guy Boucher and company can find a cure for defensive woes while playing with the man advantage, and turn a rather good power play into something fantastic.

 

Raw Charge on Facebook @RawCharge


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