Very few people would have guessed that the Los Angeles Kings would have the best power play in the playoffs, but that has been exactly the case to this point vs. Vancouver.
Though only one quarterfinal playoff series has concluded heading into weekend action, there have been some interesting postseason power play trends developing. In almost every instance, the team that has played the best on special teams is leading the series.
The one series that ended had the Philadelphia Flyers eliminate a New Jersey Devils team that was a 230 series favorite. The Flyers finished the series by scoring eight power play goals in 29 chances (27.6 percent) compared to New Jersey's 4-of-32 (12.5 percent).
Bettors who wagered on the Washington Capitals at minus 600 to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal round are resting a bit easier after the Caps entered weekend action with a 3-1 series lead.
However, the Caps are just 1-for-19 on the power play during the first four games with the Canadiens, a disturbing trend for a squad that led the league in scoring during the regular campaign. Montreal was 4-of-16 with the man advantage.
The Boston Bruins also have a 3-1 lead in their series against the Buffalo Sabres. However, this is a case where the underdog is one win away from eliminating the series favorite. The Bruins closed as plus 145, but can eliminate the Sabres with a win Friday on the road.
One of the main problems for the favored Sabres has been special teams, where they are one of two playoff teams failing to score on the power play (0-for-14). Boston is 3-for-12 with the man advantage.
The Nashville Predators are the other team failing to score on the power play, going 0-for-17 with the man advantage. However, the Predators entered the weekend tied at two games apiece against a Chicago Blackhawks squad that closed as 400 series favorites. Chicago is 3-for-13 on the power play.
The Los Angeles Kings have the best power play so far during postseason action, going a sizzling 9-of-16 (56.3 percent) against the Vancouver Canucks. The Kings, with a closing series price of plus-200, have used that superior power play to tie the series at 2-2 heading into Friday's game at Vancouver. The Canucks are not too shabby with the man advantage either, going 4-for-15 (26.7 percent).
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The Detroit Red Wings closed at minus 200 in their series against Phoenix, but the series is tied 2-2 heading into Friday's game in the desert. The upstart Coyotes are hanging tough despite going 0-0or-17 in their last 14 power play opportunities after going 3-for-3 in their Game 1 victory. The Wings are 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) with the man advantage and have scored at least one power play goal in each of the first four games.
Washington, New Jersey and Pittsburgh are the only teams that have registered a shorthanded goal so far, with the Caps getting two and the Devils and Penguins notching one each.
Chicago's Antti Niemi leads all goalies so far during the quarterfinal round by allowing just six goals and making 115 saves. That's a .948 save percentage and a miniscule 1.51 goals-against average.