New York Islanders Should Take A Page From Toronto Maple Leafs
The New York Islanders power play is terrible. Awful. So why not look at one of the most efficient power play in the league in the Toronto Maple Leafs to get some pointers?
The Toronto Maple Leafs have the most efficient power play in the NHL this season. And the New York Islanders could learn a thing or two as they try to exercise their power play woes.
With eight power play goals on 26 opportunities, the Leafs lead the league with a fantastic 30.8% efficiency. The New York Islanders mind you are stuck at zero and dead last in the league.
Zero for 20 that’s how efficient the New York Islanders are. If you count shorthanded goals against as a -1,
, the Isles are effectively running a negative efficient power play.
Looking At The Leafs
I wanted to bring up an example of a good power play run by the Toronto Maple Leafs. How they cycle the puck around with urgency and purpose. Even how they establish an offensive presence with a well-timed zone entry.
First, just take note of how they move the four Rangers penalty killers around the ice as they try to create room. They pull all four from the right and then left to open up a great shooting lane at the top of the right faceoff circle.
Sure, the pass is flubbed. But the importance of pulling players out of position is the key here. Because the majority of the time Auston Matthews is going to make that cross-ice pass to William Nylander.
Now let’s look at a similar example. This time of the New York Islanders.
Right from the start of the play you can see the Isles fail to move the puck around the zone. No one seems to know where the other is supposed to be at any time during the sequence. And they just can’t establish any pressure.
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The Sharks easily press the Isles off the puck and clear the zone. There’s no urgency in their movements until the puck isn’t on a New York Islanders player’s stick. I love the effort to get the puck back, but that same effort needs to be applied to when they’re in control of the puck.
Enter The Zone
I mentioned it with the Maple Leafs example. A proper zone entry can make all the difference in establishing an offensive presence.
I wanted to show an example of an Islanders power play zone entry they’ve been doing for years. And it drives me crazy. I call it the “Super Drop”.
Essentially the “Super Drop” means that a player lugs the puck to the red line before dropping it to another trailing player who make a rush through the neutral zone. The issue I have with this is that the trailing player receives the puck at their own blue line. See the example below.
Look at the three New York Islanders jerseys stationed at the opposing blue line. Look at them! They’re stationary! They aren’t moving. Now go back up and look at that Maple Leafs zone entry. Look at how three players rush the zone, in tandem with speed.
Notice what that does to the penalty killers. It immediately pushes three of the four penalty killers to the top of the crease to defend any possible through pass.
That’s how you gain the zone. Watch how Ho-Sang gains the zone but then doesn’t have an outlet and is quickly crowded out. He has no options. Brock Nelson realizes way too late and makes a play to gain the center ice and the pass is easily picked off and sent out of the zone.
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The New York Islanders have the personnel to make this work. They just need the right strategy to make it work. It’s fundamentals. Timed zone entry. Knowing where players are supposed to be. And urgent passing. I don’t expect them to become a top tier power play over night. But better than 28th over all would be great.