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Solving the Penalty Kill

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Another day another multiple PK-failure game as the Devils allowed two PP goals. The record-breaking penalty kill of yester last year has now fallen to 22nd in the league at 79%. In the last stretch of games it has to be somewhere around 50%. 

 

So - the obvious question is.....what the hell are we doing wrong and how do we fix it?

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Pretty much all the multi-goal games against on the PK have come with Fayne out of the lineup...there's your solution :P

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Have other teams start to fumble the puck more and Marty make some big stops.  In general the PK has looked ok but other teams are really passing well right now, which will happen sometimes.

 

The Devils also tend to overcommit a bit when pucks are in the corner, so I'd stop that.  I'd also take Gionta off the PK as he doesn't create a big enough zone of coverage.  Those are general comments, the PK giving up lots of goals lately is probably more random than to do with any one thing.

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I have noticed the devils have been taking more penalties than normal, or at least my feeling was that they are. I pulled some numbers together over the 5 years. I looked at minors instead of total plenty minutes or majors. Minutes can be skewed by fights and misconducts, so I only looked at minor penalties. 



Year     Games       Minors     Minors per game

2013     17              84           4.941176

2012     82              270         3.292683

2011     82              249         3.036585

2010     82              264         3.219512

2009     82              359         4.378049

2008     82              339         4.134146

 

It seem the best fix to the PK is stop taking so many penalties. 

 

*Granted 17 games is a small sample compared to a full season

Edited by socbrian

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Well I won't attempt to tackle the whole issue right now but I will say that missing Zubrus obviously isn't helping us. Also, if we're comparing to last season, don't forget that we lost our best penalty killer to free agency. The people we've been filling in with - the Giontas and (before being sent down) Josefsons - haven't been as good. No real surprise that we haven't been as good, although I would expect us to be better than we have been recently. I'm hoping it's just a bad few games and they'll turn it around soon. We did, after all, have a really good penalty killing stretch just a week or two ago. I doubt we're doing anything significantly differently, it just hasn't been working as well.

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missing Zach on the PK is big he was unreal last least. He was giving trouble to the point man and to the guy on the side not leaving space for them and rushing to them to make them lose the puck.

 

Anyone denying that we're missing Zach in simply butt hurt and in denial (not talking about his contract and anything) but not having his work ethic and speed and determination is showing sometimes. We can live without it but its cerainly harder

 

edit : of course i'd like to bring back the point that Triumph was arguing with me that it was no big deal losing Zach on our PK cause Zajac was back... so much for that, turns out i was right about that too.

Edited by SterioDesign

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You do realize that Zach never killed penalties till last season right? Also that when it came down to who was the "go to guy" on the pk is was Elias right? Not saying Zach leaving doesn't hurt the pk (cause he was good on it) but to say that the devils pk is now bad because Zach "the almighty" Parise left is so false it's laughable. There are 3 pk forward units so 6 forwards are being used (sometimes 7 in some cases). Bottom line it's asinine to think that a player who really only plays a third of the pk is the reason the entire thing has gone to sh!t these past 10 games or so.

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You do realize that Zach never killed penalties till last season right? Also that when it came down to who was the "go to guy" on the pk is was Elias right? Not saying Zach leaving doesn't hurt the pk (cause he was good on it) but to say that the devils pk is now bad because Zach "the almighty" Parise left is so false it's laughable. There are 3 pk forward units so 6 forwards are being used (sometimes 7 in some cases). Bottom line it's asinine to think that a player who really only plays a third of the pk is the reason the entire thing has gone to sh!t these past 10 games or so.

 

You are exaggerating what I and others said. It's not that "Oh noes Zach is gone now we can't kill penalties", it's that losing 2 of our top PKers from last season, and now losing Josefson, who was playing the most PK min. per game on the team, is starting to wear on the unit. Like I mentioned, I think some bad luck the last few games is the biggest reason we're in the bottom of the league right now percentage-wise and I think we'll bounce back. But would the unit be better if we had Parise and Zubrus playing instead of Gionta/Poni/Carter/whoever? Absolutely.

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Last year the units were

 

Zubrus Elias

Parise Henrique

Kovalchuk Zajac

 

Now its

 

Elias Henrique

Kovalchuk Zajac

Gionta Ponikarovsky

 

We need that Patty Zubs unit back, it was amazing.

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You do realize that Zach never killed penalties till last season right? Also that when it came down to who was the "go to guy" on the pk is was Elias right? Not saying Zach leaving doesn't hurt the pk (cause he was good on it) but to say that the devils pk is now bad because Zach "the almighty" Parise left is so false it's laughable. There are 3 pk forward units so 6 forwards are being used (sometimes 7 in some cases). Bottom line it's asinine to think that a player who really only plays a third of the pk is the reason the entire thing has gone to sh!t these past 10 games or so.

 

and our PK was not that great before that season either. How can anyone forget how Zach was a hell to play against on the PK? his hustle and forecheck would keep those guys in their zone for long stretches and point men would have a hard time settling the puck. 

 

it's not the reason our PK is bad but he left a big hole and no one is playing the way he is and to fill his spot we have guys like Gionta... in that way yes its hurting not to have him

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I guess we're all conveniently forgetting that the PK was like 75% in the playoffs.  If the goalies stop 80% of the shots your PK will suck, and if they stop 92%, it will be great - shot prevention or allowance can't make up for those sorts of gaps.

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and our PK was not that great before that season either. How can anyone forget how Zach was a hell to play against on the PK? his hustle and forecheck would keep those guys in their zone for long stretches and point men would have a hard time settling the puck.

it's not the reason our PK is bad but he left a big hole and no one is playing the way he is and to fill his spot we have guys like Gionta... in that way yes its hurting not to have him

I remember Zach playing very good on the pk, but I also remember that the Elias zubrus pairing was the smartest pairing we had. Like triumph said, come playoffs our pk was crap also. Maybe we are more predicable now? Idk if that's it. But I can tell you that losing 1 guy who plays a third of the time is not the reason. With the personel we have this season we should still be a top team in pk. Gionta shouldn't be there (I would like loktionov to get time there instead) and losing zubrus/josefson hurts also. So if u count Zach, as of right now we are without Parise, zubrus, and JJ from last year.

Hopefully down the road the top 6 become:

Elias, zubrus, Zajac, kovy, henrique, and loktionov

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I remember Zach playing very good on the pk, but I also remember that the Elias zubrus pairing was the smartest pairing we had. Like triumph said, come playoffs our pk was crap also. Maybe we are more predicable now? Idk if that's it. But I can tell you that losing 1 guy who plays a third of the time is not the reason. With the personel we have this season we should still be a top team in pk. Gionta shouldn't be there (I would like loktionov to get time there instead) and losing zubrus/josefson hurts also. So if u count Zach, as of right now we are without Parise, zubrus, and JJ from last year.

Hopefully down the road the top 6 become:

Elias, zubrus, Zajac, kovy, henrique, and loktionov

 

Zach was also responsible for a LOT of our SH goals.

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Zach was also responsible for a LOT of our SH goals.

And we are on pace to do just as good as we did last year in that department. On another note, gionta is absolutely brutal on the pk

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Okay I was wrong :P

 

One thing's for sure, Pete can't be writing this off as a small sample size any longer.  There needs to be adjustments made - personnel, tactics or both.  Our PK has been a joke since last April.

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Pretty much all the multi-goal games against on the PK have come with Fayne out of the lineup...there's your solution :P

. So much for that theory.

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I guess we're all conveniently forgetting that the PK was like 75% in the playoffs. If the goalies stop 80% of the shots your PK will suck, and if they stop 92%, it will be great - shot prevention or allowance can't make up for those sorts of gaps.

This sorta reminds me of the day my Mom pulled me aside to tell me she had finally grasped football. She said, "okay, I've got this game. When you have the ball you should always go forward, never backwards, and you should try to avoid just running to the side. When the other team has the ball then you should get the ball back, right?"

I thought to myself, yep, that covers it--she's ready to coach. I guess hockey is the same way. If you block shots the other team doesn't score and if you don't then they do. ;)

I'm just kidding Triumph. I think youre just trying to illustrate how thin the margin for error is between a good and poor PK, it's just the way you worded it or the way I read it hit my funny bone.

Seriously though, there is so much more to the story than those number IMO. I can't help but wonder if there are PKs that disprove this point. Let me explain. If you have a very good goalie behind a crap PK then it would not surprise me that he would be bombarded before finally succumbing and letting in a goal on the PK. Think Chico Resch with the Rockies and Devils. It would've been easy to have a crap GAA with a decent save PCT because the defense was sooooo porous.

OTOH, a good defense with a crap goalie would appear the exact opposite in theory. The goalie would have fewer shots against but, being a mediocrity, would allow in enough goals to undermine an otherwise good performance by the PK. I don't have a ready example here.

So if you're examining the PK units, a high save percentage may simply be a sign of a porous defense and a low save percentage might be a good defense. Come to think of it, didn't that hurt Marty in the '90s? He faced relatively few shots because of the Devs D?

Edited by AEWHistory

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Don't play Gionta.   That kill was perfectly fine until Gionta couldn't get the clear with everyone in the corner.     Shot still should have been stopped, but it shouldn't have happened.

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So, now that the "this is just bad luck," theory has been debunked...

 

It certainly has not been.  Obviously not playing Gionta would be helpful (this is where the Devils are missing Mathieu Darche, who would've at least been able to keep Gionta off the PK)

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Not as if Gionta is the only problem, JJ made many mistakes on the PK too, today they both went on the same player to the point leaving another guy wide open on the other side.

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