Strength in Numbers: Which NHL Team is the Best in Power-Plays Since the 2000-01 Season?Strength in Numbers: Which NHL Team is the Best in Power-Plays Since the 2000-01 Season image

📖 Published on: June 27th, 2024

✍️ Updated: June 28th, 2024

⏳ 10 mins read


When the crowds go wild, and a player dashes his way to the opposing goal with the intent to score in quick succession, you know that you are in the heat of the moment in the game as it is going to bring the crowd to a massive roar and change the pace of the game. This is a power play in action, and NHL teams have always tried to find success with this aspect of the sport over the years.

What is a Power Play in NHL?

A power play is considered a unique scenario in a given game as it opens up massive chances for a team that will gain an advantage in the game, especially when they have strength in numbers. Sports such as volleyball, basketball, and football don’t present any rules that will give a certain side a numbers advantage in the game. In hockey, this occurs more often than one would expect, which makes it even more fun to watch, especially when it comes to the clutch moments of the game.

Power play is famous in all hockey leagues image

Usually, this scenario takes place when one or even two players from a certain side gets called for a penalty and will have to be penalized – spending time out of the ice rink with no substitutions. If you are not familiar with the penalty box, then this is where it comes into play as players are often put there for a set period of time in accordance for their penalties. This gives the opposing team a number advantage as teams cannot sub in a different player for the ones in the sin bin, which leads to a power play.

This is a chance for an opposing team to come up with a quick score, making the most of their chances when the team with a penalized player struggles to compensate for the lack of a player on the ice rink. Scoring with a power play rocks the arena hard with fans either leaving disappointed with the way the penalized team failed to come up with a crucial defensive play, or probably celebrating with the way the team with the numbers advantage managed to pull off a much-needed goal that either gave them the lead or tied the game. A power play can be initiated as soon as the following foul/penalty criteria are met:

Power plays are loved by fans in the game image

(the foul called to a player)
(how long a player is out of the ice)
MInor Penalty 2 minutes The penalty ends if the advantage team scores a goal.
Double Minor Penalty 4 minutes Ends power play in 2 minutes if a goal is scored.
Five-Minute Major Penalty 5 minutes Time must be served regardless of how many power-play goals are scored in that span.
Penalty Shot Single Play Teams are given a direct chance to score a power play goal.
Game Misconduct Game Duration The player is ejected for the rest of the game.

Which Team is the Most Successful in Power Plays From the 2000-01 Season to Present?

Over the years, we have seen some promising power play goals in the NHL, and the 2000-01 season proved to be a promising benchmark considering the fact that it is the era when the league had an influx of power play goals over the years. Still, it is hard not to break down the year-by-year comparison considering that the 2023-24 season has seen an influx in power play goals, which has certainly shaken the balance of scoring in the game.

The Oilers lead the league in power plays since 2000-01 image

According to the power play data in the NHL from the 2000-01 season up to present, it is worth noting that the Edmonton Oilers have had the most efficient scoring in power play with a 23.7% success rate, going 96 for its 405 attempts in 103 games where they had a power play chance. Tampa Bay comes second with 21.74% success rate on power plays with a whopping 160 goals on 736 opportunities. The San Jose Sharks had the most power play opportunities since 2000-01 and yet has only converted 134 of their 818 power play attempts for a disappointing 16.4% success rate. This data can be interpreted as the success of various teams in coming up with goals as soon as they have a power play opportunity.

This is a stunning find considering that the Seattle Kraken, which made its debut in the 2021-22 season, is not far behind with five power play goals on 35 opportunities in 14 total games. This says a lot about the efficiency of the Sharks when it comes to knocking down power play goals.

Power Play Data From 2000-01 Season to Present

Best NHL Teams in Power Plays Since 2000 image

Edmonton Oilers 103 405 96 23.70%
Tampa Bay Lightning 213 736 160 21.74%
Boston Bruins 208 679 147 21.65%
Florida Panthers 71 226 48 21.24%
Washington Capitals 163 566 118 20.85%
Pittsburgh Penguins 208 784 160 20.41%
Winnipeg Jets 53 153 31 20.26%
Colorado Avalanche 175 681 135 19.82%
Chicago Blackhawks 142 465 90 19.35%
Colombus Blue Jackets 41 141 27 19.15%
Vegas Golden Knights 95 288 55 19.10%
Detroit Red Wings 173 784 144 18.37%
Dallas Stars 161 594 109 18.35%
Calgary Flames 94 375 68 18.13%
Vancouver Ducks 135 561 101 18.00%
Anaheim Ducks 147 584 105 17.98%
Los Angeles Kings 123 432 77 17.82%
Minnesota Wild 96 325 56 17.23%
St. Louis Blues 150 540 92 17.04%
New York Rangers 175 656 111 16.92%
Ottawa Senators 123 524 88 16.79%
Philadelphia Flyers 151 584 98 16.78%
New York Islanders 106 358 60 16.76%
New Jersey Devils 138 562 93 16.55%
San Jose Sharks 192 818 134 16.38%
Carolina Hurricanes 146 576 94 16.32%
Montreal Canadiens 143 500 81 16.20%
Toronto Maple Leafs 115 400 64 16.00%
Buffalo Sabres 60 288 44 15.28%
Arizona Coyotes 41 153 23 15.03%
Seattle Kraken 14 35 5 14.29%
Nashville Predators 131 482 66 13.69%

It is also worth noting that the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins are tied for the most power play goals at 160 each. However, Tampa Bay has a higher percentage at 21.74% compared to the Penguins’ 20.41% rate, mainly because the team has 48 more attempts than the Lightning. The next team with the most power play goals? The Boston Bruins come close with a total of 147 goals, including an impressive 21.65% success rate. There is also a total of 11 teams with at least 100+ power play goals from the 2000-01 to 2023-24 season.

Which Team is the Most Successful in Power Plays in the 2023-24 Season?

For this season, the power play goal has reached bigger heights. There are a total of 469 power play opportunities generated by teams in the NHL for the 2023-24 season alone. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that there is an impressive trend of the scoring average for power play goals, which stands at a staggering 21.75% success rate, showing how teams have found ways to come up with impressive scores in the games where they had a power play.

Leading teams in power play goals this season both played in the Stanley Cup image

Power Play Data for the 2023-24 NHL Season

Edmonton Oilers* 18 51 19 37.25%
Colorado Avalanche^ 11 30 11 36.67%
New York Islanders^ 5 11 3 27.27%
Vegas Golden Knights^ 7 12 3 25.00%
New York Rangers^ 16 50 12 24.00%
Florida Panthers* 17 60 14 23.33%
Winnipeg Jets^ 5 13 3 23.08%
Boston Bruins^ 13 33 7 21.21%
Dallas Stars^ 19 45 9 20.00%
Tampa Bay Lightning^ 5 20 4 20.00%
Carolina Hurricanes^ 11 36 7 19.44%
Vancouver Canucks^ 13 36 5 13.89%
Washington Capitals^ 4 17 2 11.76%
Nashville Predators (X) 6 22 2 9.09%
Toronto Maple Leafs (X) 7 21 1 4.76%
Los Angeles Kings^ 5 12 0 0.00%

According to the presented data, much like their efficient overall success in the power play, the Edmonton Oilers are still the most successful and efficient when it comes to scoring power play goals, tallying a total of 19 goals in 51 opportunities over 18 games in the 2023-24 season, that is good for a 37.3% success rate in scoring power plays, which shows how the combo of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid is good at handling handicap situations in the game.

It is also worth noting that 14 of the 16 teams that have had power play opportunities have made it to the playoffs, with the Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs being the exception despite having 22 and 21 power play opportunities, respectively. The data also shows that two of the top teams with 10+ power play goals have made it to the Stanley Cup (Edmonton Oilers with 19 goals, Florida Panthers with 14 goals), and three of the four teams with more than 10 goals have made it to the Conference Final (Dallas only has 9 power play goals).

Do Power Plays Translate to Overall Team Success?

There’s no guarantee that overall team success depends on scoring the power play, but it does indeed play a huge role in winning. If you are not entirely convinced, then you should know that this season’s finalists for the Stanley Cup (Edmonton & Florida) are the top two in power play opportunities and power play goals scored, which says a lot about how scoring with an advantage has helped them steer their paths to the grand stage of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Florida Panthers won the 2024 Stanley Cup Final image

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