This past week, after some practice, it was a much tighter 1-3 formation, with the first forechecker aggressively pressuring the drop pass power-play breakout that basically every team deploys while the other three penalty killers lined up three players across the blue line to prevent clean entries. Calgary did score one power-play goal over the two games, but it was off of a faceoff in the offensive zone.
– Conversely, the Leafs’ power play has been struggling a bit to gain the zone on the power play consistently. With the power-play units constantly changing (are they putting out their five best players together? Are they splitting up the units?) from power play to power play, there seems to be some uncertainty as to who is the puck carrier and entry man.
The opposition — which in this case was just Calgary — is also really jamming the blue line to force the Leafs to dump the puck in, and the Leafs are still attempting to zig and zag their way through it. In a perfect scenario, the Leafs gain the zone through the middle of the ice and pass it to a player on the open wall who then curls and sets it up.
A consideration for countering this is a soft chip into the corner where the Leafs have already generated the speed to beat flat-footed defenders on the puck retrieval. It’s also worth noting that Matthews hit the post on the power play, so if that went in, many of us would probably feel different about their overall power play right now.
– Pretty much every power play lives on its ability to consistently gain the zone and set up. Once the top talent on basically any team sets it up and gets down to work, they will create good looks. Constantly mixing and matching the units in-game probably doesn’t help them create consistent power-play breakouts — for example, Mitch Marner has been carrying the puck a lot when their top five players are all on together, but to my eye, William Nylander is better at breaking in on the power play with him.