from Travis Yost of TSN,
A couple of years ago, amidst a surge in scoring across the National Hockey League, I argued teams with weak offences were increasingly being left behind. For a variety of reasons, the grind-it-out teams of the last 20 or 30 years have been left behind, with skill and up-tempo hockey being rewarded in the current environment.
A lot of the focus in this area has been at even strength, where the lion’s share of an NHL game is played. The teams that can fill the back of the net with regularity in the regular season, generally speaking, qualify for the playoffs these days. The teams that struggle to score are usually sitting at home come April.
Here is another wrinkle to consider: even-strength scoring has stabilized at multi-decade highs. What hasn’t stabilized is rate scoring on the power play, which continues to accelerate. This season has seen remarkable production on the man advantage – teams are not only scoring at blistering rates, but expected goals (which measures both shot volume and the quality of those shots) are moving in the same northward direction:
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