Eastern Edge: Power-Play Situations for Nicklas Backstrom, Oliver Wahlstrom, and More

Brennan Des


In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll discuss power-play situations for the Islanders, Capitals and Canadiens. This will be the first of two articles about power plays in the East and we'll cover a few more teams next week. Anyone looking for some power-play data can head over to Frozen Tools. There are combinations, shots, percentages, and a whole lot more. That goes for more than just the power play, too, as there is something for everyone.

Conference Rank (League Rank)TeamPP Opportunities/ Games PlayedPP%
1 (2)Toronto Maple Leafs2.9429.7
2 (7)New York Rangers2.8825.3
3 (9)Carolina Hurricanes3.1323.7
4 (11)Boston Bruins2.9621.7
5 (14)Buffalo Sabres2.5219.3
6 (15)Ottawa Senators3.2419.2
7 (17)New York Islanders2.6818.7
8 (19)Tampa Bay Lightning3.0918.1
T9 (T22)Florida Panthers3.2817.1
T9 (T22)Columbus Blue Jackets2.5317.1
11 (26)Philadelphia Flyers2.9116.1
12 (27)Pittsburgh Penguins2.8415.9
13 (28)Washington Capitals2.9415
T14 (T30)Detroit Red Wings2.7314.4
T14 (T30)New Jersey Devils2.7314.4
16 (32)Montréal Canadiens2.9411

New York Islanders

While the overall numbers paint the Islanders as a middle-of-the-pack power-play team, there's a stark contrast between their early and recent performances. New York had the league's worst power play during the first two months of the season, converting on just 10% of their chances. However, they've turned things around recently, capitalizing on 35% of their opportunities since the beginning of December. To provide some perspective, only the Leafs (41.4%) and Hurricanes (37%) have been better with the man advantage this past month.

I'd say there are two main catalysts behind New York's improved power play, the first of which is Oliver Wahlstrom. When the Isles PP was struggling during those first two months of the season, Wahlstrom skated on the second unit and held a 42% share of New York's total time with the man advantage. Since things turned around in December, he's been a prominent piece of the top unit, seeing 64% of the team's total PP time. Wahlstrom posted five power-play points in nine appearances during the month