Detroit Red Wings: Is the power play is finally improving?

Octopus Thrower

The Detroit Red Wings power play has been terrible all season (save for the first couple of weeks). But in the past couple of weeks, the Wings seem to have figured out something on the man advantage. Is the power play finally taking some steps in the right direction?

The power play has scored in four of Detroit’s last five games. After spending a majority of the season with the worst/second worst power play percentage in the league, the Red Wings have a success rate of 16.4 percent. That’s not great by any stretch of the imagination – in fact, it’s the sixth worst in NHL. But compared to last season’s 11.4 percent and the woes earlier this year, the slight statistical improvement feels significant.

The goals aren’t coming from any player in particular. Moritz Seider, Filip Zadina, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi have all found the back of the net. However, it’s clear that the unit is at its best when the team’s lethal goal-scorers (Bertuzzi and Larkin) are contributing.

All too often, the Red Wings power play unit is content with waiting until the opponent blinks first. When this is the case, Detroit often turns the puck over or aimlessly slings it near the blue line. When they successfully convert, it typically includes creative passes and plenty of puck movement. Instead of waiting for the opponent to do something wrong, the Wings try to force errors.

Seider has been perhaps the most important piece of the power play. Acting as the top-unit’s quarterback, it’s up to the rookie defenseman to maintain possession in the offensive zone, cycle the puck and find holes in the opponent’s defense. Seider has been solid in most, if not all of these categories (especially maintaining possession) when the power play is successful. While Mo typically isn’t the one that pulls the trigger, he’s usually involved in the play in some way.

The power play is still not great. Whether it be the struggles to enter the zone or the failure to find an opening in opposing defenses, Detroit still has plenty of room for improvement on the man advantage. However, with Seider’s excellent play and help on the way (Jakub Vrana), there is finally some hope for the Red Wings power play.

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