It’s no secret the Detroit Red Wings haven’t had the success they were hoping for this season on the power play. Coming into Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, they were 3 of 34 (8.8 percent) with 41 shots registered.
The power play came alive against the Kings, as Detroit went 2 of 5 on the night with five shots. Gustav Nyquist continued right where he left off last year, as he potted both power-play goals.
The Red Wings are now 5 of 39 (12.8 percent) on the power play with 46 shots. So why was the Red Wings power play so effective last night?
Quick Puck Movement
On the two goals the Red Wings scored, their puck movement was phenomenal. When they played the Pittsburgh Penguins last week, I noted how quickly the Penguins moved the puck when they were on the power play. Very rarely did a player hold the puck for more than a second, which got the defense out of position and opened up passing and shooting lanes.
On Nyquist’s first power-play goal, watch how quickly the puck moves from tape to tape before Nyquist rifles a shot past Jonathan Quick, who is also out of position because of the quick passes.
Same thing happened again on Nyquist’s second goal. Four of the five players on the ice touched the puck, with the lone player not touching the puck parking himself in front of the net to screen Quick.
Nyquist got the help of a lucky bounce off the boards, but the passes were so quick and effective that Los Angeles spent the entire power play chasing Detroit.
Still Need More Shots
Despite being so successful on the power play, the Red Wings still are not getting a lot of shots with the man advantage. On five power plays against the Kings, they registered just five shots. It’s simply not enough.
Los Angeles nearly outshot Detroit shorthanded, as they had four shots on the penalty kill. Never should a penalty kill get even close to the amount of shots a power play has.
The power play is continuing to improve, but the team needs to get more shots on the opposing goalies. More shots means more rebound opportunities, which means more scoring chances.
Franzen’s Return Should Help
According to MLive.com’s Ansar Khan, Johan Franzen will be in the lineup for the Red Wings when they play the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Babcock confirms Franzen playing tomorrow, Quincey out but making trip. Lashoff in. Howard starting vs. Sabres. Going w/ lines used today.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) November 1, 2014
Franzen takes a lot of criticism for not scoring as many goals as people believe he should, but he has five points in four games this season.
He could take Nyquist’s spot on the first power-play unit, which will give the second power-play unit a boost with Nyquist, or they can keep Nyquist on the first unit and put Franzen on the second unit.
With a Buffalo team that takes a lot of penalties (tied for third most with 41), the Red Wings should have a lot of opportunities with the man advantage.
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Tom Mitsos is a Detroit Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow him on Twitter @tom_mitsos.