Coyotes’ strong record helped by much-improved power play

Dec 19, 2019, 10:44 AM

Phil Kessel #81 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Clayton Keller #9, Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 ...

Phil Kessel #81 of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Clayton Keller #9, Oliver Ekman-Larsson #23 and Christian Dvorak #18 after scoring a power play goal against the Nashville Predators during the third period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on October 17, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Coyotes’ power play needed fixing.

Combining the stats of the previous three seasons (2016-17 to 2018-19), the Coyotes’ power play was scoring only 16.4% of the time, the worst mark in the NHL in that span. This year, however, that is not the case.

There are a few factors likely contributing to that: Personnel changes (Phil Kessel, Carl Soderberg), players getting healthy (Nick Schmaltz, Christian Dvorak) and a coaching change (Phil Housley).

Whatever the reason(s), the numbers are staggering. Here’s a few facts worth noting about Arizona’s power play:


This year as a whole, the Coyotes’ power play ranks 13th in the NHL at 20.1% — but that doesn’t do justice how it’s performed most recently.

Ever since the Coyotes went 2-for-4 on the man advantage in a game on Nov. 18 against the Kings, the power play has clicked at a 27.9% rate — third-best in the NHL in that span behind only Toronto and Edmonton.

The power play has failed to score in back-to-back games only one time in that span. It had done so nine times this year before that.


Kessel’s 11 power play points are tied with Clayton Keller for first on the Coyotes, and his six goals are the most. A similar statistic is true when narrowed down to the aforementioned recent uptick in power play production; Kessel and Keller each have seven power play points since Nov. 18, which are the team lead. Soderberg is next with four.

With 24 shots on the power play and six goals, Kessel has a 25.00% shooting percentage on the man advantage, the 10th-highest such number in the NHL among players who have taken at least 20 shots on the power play.

Kessel also leads the Coyotes by a wide margin in power play ice time per game, at 3:24. Keller is second with 2:56.


Taylor Hall is tied for 25th in the NHL this year with 12 power play points (two goals, 10 assists). That’s despite having just been traded from a New Jersey Devils team that has the third-worst power play in the league.

His arrival could draw attention away from other Coyotes on the ice and perhaps help boost the Coyotes’ man advantage even more.

All of this is especially timely, given that Arizona’s other special teams group, the penalty kill, has slid from being third in the NHL last year (84.9%) to 14th this year (81.5%).

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes right wing Clayton Keller, center, celebrates after his goal against the Vegas Gold...

Associated Press

NHL committed to keeping Coyotes in Arizona, Bettman says

Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL is still committed to Arizona after Tempe voters rejected a referendum for a Coyotes arena.

21 hours ago

Lawson Crouse of Canada, Milan Lucic of Canada and Peyton Krebs of Canada Team Canada celebrates af...

Associated Press

Lawson Crouse scores, Andre Tourigny-coached Canada defeats Germany to win hockey worlds

Arizona Coyotes' Lawson Crouse scored for Canada in a 5-2 victory over Germany in the final of the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

7 days ago

Mesa Mayor John Giles, Tempe mayor Corey Woods...

Arizona Sports

Mesa mayor ‘encouraging’ Coyotes to look at private sites for new arena

Could the Arizona Coyotes find a new arena home in Mesa and find a way to avoid a public vote like the squashed Tempe plans required?

13 days ago

Logan Cooley #92 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers warms up before a game against the Quinnipiac Bobc...

Wills Rice

Coyotes prospect Logan Cooley to stay 1 more year in college

Arizona Coyotes highly regarded center prospect Logan Cooley announced he is staying in college for one more year.

15 days ago

Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes...

Arizona Sports

Arizona Coyotes reportedly inquire about Mesa’s Fiesta Mall site in arena land search

Mesa's old Fiesta Mall footprint is among the land the Arizona Coyotes have inquired about, CBS5's and 3TV's Dennis Welch reported Thursday.

17 days ago

Mullett Arena, Arizona Coyotes, tempe...

Arizona Sports

Coyotes to play at Mullett Arena in 2023-24, seeking new Valley site

The Arizona Coyotes expect to play at Mullett Arena as planned in the 2023-24 season amid uncertainty about their future, the team confirmed.

18 days ago

Coyotes’ strong record helped by much-improved power play