Over their last ten games, the New York Islanders power play has improved to a 20.7 percent efficiency. A large part of that transformation is thanks to Ryan Pulock.
There’s been one factor plaguing the New York Islanders this season; the power play. With a 16.9 percent efficiency on the power play, the New York Islanders rank 24th in the NHL. As they approach the playoffs, that power play efficiency just isn’t good enough.
Recently though, the Islanders power play has gone through a sort of resurgence. Over the last ten games, the Islanders have scored six power play goals on 29 opportunities. Good enough for a 20.7 percent efficiency.
Over the course of a full season, that type of efficiency would be good enough to rank the Islanders power play 16th in the NHL. Its the perfect time for the Islanders power play to heat up, right as February turns to March, and the playoffs not far away.
A huge contributor to that success has been Ryan Pulock.
Power Play Whisperer
Over the Islanders last ten games, Ryan Pulock has five power-play points with two goals and three assists. If you’re looking for the reason the Islanders power play has come alive recently, look no further than Ryan Pulock. Again, he’s directly implicated in 83 percent of the Isles power play goals over the last ten games.
Two things are helping Pulock become more successful on the power play. One, his shot is being used in a key area, and two, that is then allowing him to look for the open man when he isn’t shooting the puck.
We and the entire NHL know that Ryan Pulock has a cannon of a shot. But every also knows that that shot is wildly inaccurate from the blue line. Rendering it virtually ineffective. What good is a powerful shot if it can’t hit the net?
Now, rather than blast it in from the point at any and all opportunities. Pulock is drifting inwards in the now famous “Ovechkin-spot” near the left faceoff circle. From there, Pulock is able to unleash his powerful shot and hit the net.
Focusing that shot has now allowed Pulock to scan the ice a bit better. And he’s better able to identify a play or at least get one going rather than simply shooting his shot and hoping it hits the net (which it didn’t most of the time).
Twice against the Edmonton Oilers, we saw Pulock make the right play rather than try getting a shot off. First, it was identifying an
(who fed Brock Nelson cross-ice for the one-timer). Then, from that “Ovechkin-spot” Pulock spots an open Clutterbuck in the slot who redirects his pass top corner.
Maybe more important to all of this is the fact that Pulock is playing on his off wing. We’re used to seeing him operate on the right side of the power play. Playing from the left is opening him up for the one-timer. And we’re now seeing how effective that can be.
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The New York Islanders might not be able to raise their overall power play efficiency to above 20 percent for the season. But at this point of the season, it’s trending in the right direction thanks to Ryan Pulock. And maybe, as the playoffs approach it will be one less weakness for the Islanders.