Article at a glance:
from Mat Porter of the Boston Globe,
Over the last decade, NHL power plays have become mostly standardized in alignment. Though motion and switches happen constantly, nearly all teams eventually settle into a 1-3-1 formation: a defenseman at the point, three forwards in line with the faceoff dots, and another in front of the net.
The umbrella setup, with two shoot-first defensemen and a forward at the top of the zone and two rebound-hunting forwards near the net, was popular for generations. But goalies have become too big, and too technically sound, to be beaten by point shots that aren’t deflected. The Kings of the early 2010s had success with the overload formation, which saw all five skaters focus on one side of the ice, but they were an outlier.
When coaching in New Jersey, former Bruins playmaker Adam Oates used a 1-3-1, with Ilya Kovalchuk as the main weapon. It took off when Oates brought it to Washington in 2012. He had Alex Ovechkin as a back-side, one-timer machine in the left circle. Nicklas Backstrom was his right-wall distributor. The Capitals created two-on-ones all over the ice, moving the puck for quick shots before the defense could set. They set the standard.
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