There was a new look to the Detroit Red Wings top power-play unit at practice on Monday. Lucas Raymond was working the net front. Captain Dylan Larkin was at the bumper, while Shayne Gostisbehere manned the point. On the flanks were David Perron and Patrick Kane.
Adding the new guy (Kane) to this group certainly figures to make it a more dangerous outfit. Yet, the thing is, they’re already looking quite dominant.
Detroit has gone 5-1 since returning from a 0-1-1 Global Series disappointment in Sweden. In those six games, the Red Wings have registered a power-play marker in every one of them. Overall, they are 9-for-28 (32.1%) with the man advantage.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) November 24, 2023
Detroit also opened the NHL season 5-1. At that time, the power play was clicking at 39.1% (9-for-23). While that number is statistically better, the Wings only scored with the man advantage in four of those six games.
The Red Wings were stuck in a 2-for-41 power-play skid prior to the most recent outburst. Coach Derek Lalonde is giving the credit for the uptick to changes the were implemented by assistant coaches Alex Tanguay and Jay Varady.
Red Wings Simplify Power Play
“This is a look on the power play we’ve been talking about for a while but we kind of wanted it to play out a little bit longer,” Lalonde explained.
Amazingly, the explosion was ignited after the Red Wings were removing Alex DeBrincat, the club’s top goal scorer, and Moritz Seider, the team’s best all-around defenseman, from the top power-play unit.
There was a sense that within the original top group perhaps Larkin and DeBrincat were trying too hard to make high-end skill plays. They were making one too many passes in search of the perfect play.
“This group, they’re probably a little more simple,” Lalonde said. “They’re very good at retrieving pucks, keeping some plays alive on the power play.”
One of the changes made to the group was to drop Gostisbehere from the flank back into what was Seider’s role as the QB of the unit.
“He’s been great for us all year,” Lalonde said. “Obviously, a little different for him running the power play on top. But Shayne’s been a big part of it.”
At the point, Gostisbehere is just as likely to let rip with a shot on goal as he is to dish the puck off to others.
Another move was slotting in J.T. Compher at the net front. He was taking a maintenance day Monday, the reason why Raymond was filling in at the net front.
“Some puck retrievals, he won some face-offs, made some plays,” Lalonde assessed of Compher’s contributions. “It’s amazing, the lift you can get from a power play that’s on point.”
Perron Deadly Finisher With One Timer
Taking over for DeBrincat on one flank, Perron has tallied twice with the man advantage. Both goals were the end result of his patented one timer from the left faceoff circle.
“Since David Perron has been on the half-wall, they’re a little more comfortable, they’ve taken off,” Lalonde said. “Just a small little tweak there. We’re trying to simplify it.”
Detroit's power play improved to 17th from 26th overall under Head Coach Derek Lalonde last season, and the Red Wings are currently 8th overall this season. 🚨 Learn how to keep your PP simple and effective in this #TCSLive presentation! #LGRW https://t.co/DhOzXwG22V
— The Coaches Site (@TheCoachesSite) December 4, 2023
There’s that word again, but it certainly rings true. An effective power play does tend to make life a lot simpler for a hockey team.
“I think that’s definitely part of it,” Compher said. “When you’re fighting it on the power play, it feels like you’re not getting the bounces. You may be still making nice plays but it was kind of a rough stretch for us special-teams wise.
“When the power play’s buzzing and playing well, it kind of feeds the rest of the team and the game.”