Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A 5-on-3 proposal

The Kings managed to lose 3-2 last night to, of all teams, Minnesota. They earned a 5 on 3 power play on consecutive penalties during a single play, allowing them 2 minutes of time with a sizable advantage to score the go-ahead goal. Instead, the penalty was successfully killed and the Wild would go on to score and win the game.

The problem with the Kings power play is, in my mind, their inability to generate quality shots from the points. Doughty is the only player with a reliable shot from the point, but he tends not to get the opportunities his teammates get because his skills are widely recognized. This leaves guys like Stoll and Johnson, both of whom have displayed good shots in the past, but who have been struggling for quite some time this season.

With that in mind, I wanted to create a cycle that plays to the Kings' strength...that is, good puck control (Frolov) and an accurate shot (Kopitar).

The first image in the sequence is a typical umbrella formation for a 5 on 3 power play. The second shows how the defense adjusts when a player on the overloaded side has the puck. Defenders try to guard the player with the puck and either post. With my play, the goal is to lure a defender off a post and allow Frolov to make a wraparound attempt or get an easy pass to Kopitar, open in the slot.

Click for a version you can actually see.

Essentially, once the right pointman gets the puck, he can fling it down the boards or make a good pass to the player at the near post. This forces the slot defender to slide across to guard against a pass while the defender already over there is tasked with getting the puck. Meanwhile, the defender at the back post must now move up into the slot to guard the player already there. Once the player has the puck down low, he should have three options: pass back to the left point, pass to a covered player in the slot, or attempt an open wraparound. The key, as with all power plays, is repetition. The defenders forced to move across post to post also have to drop to a knee to prevent the pass. This gets tiring quickly, and the defender responsible for covering the man in the slot is liable to make a mistake, leaving Frolov with the option of the wraparound or passing to an open Kopitar.

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