Tactical Formations: 5-On-3 PP and PK

In <strong>this</strong> addition of Oh Man, the Summer is Way Too Long, we take an in-depth look at the two-man advantage and disadvantage.

The 5-on-3. It can leave a team either licking their chops or biting their nails.

Contrary to popular belief though, the two-man advantage doesn't always end in a goal. Quite the opposite, actually.

In the 2014-15 season, there were only 72 5-on-3 goals in 1230 games. The only team that even came close to scoring more times than not was the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 50% success rate. And while the average NHL team scores 18.5% of the time on a 5-on-4 power play, their chances on a 5-on-3 are only bumped up to 23.6%.

There are four reasons why we aren't seeing the amount of production expected during 5-on-3's. For one, attacking teams rarely ever get a full two-minute opportunity. If the opposing team's penalties don't happen on the exact same play, then there will always be a decrease in time for the 5-on-3 interval.

The other three reasons can be explained by recognizing how gigantic goalies have become. Moving on.


Regardless of how they've been deployed in the past, using the current roster, this is what the Senators' 5-on-3 power play lines would (should) probably look like.

F1: Mark Stone - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

D1: Mika Zibanejad - Erik Karlsson

F2: Clarke MacArthur - Alex Chiasson - Mike Hoffman

D2: Patrick Wiercioch - Erik Karlsson

Erik Karlsson is on both lines because of course he is.

This is how most attacking teams tend to set up on the 5-on-3.

Or this.


Option No. 1 is referred to as "the box," and option No. 2 is called "the umbrella." As you can see, the names are self-explanatory.

Either offensive strategy almost always manufactures the same response. An equilateral triangle with the base is nearest to the goalie. Like so.

From Ottawa's standpoint, those O's in the diagram would (should) probably look as follows.

F1: Jean-Gabriel Pageau

D1: Mark Borowiecki - Marc Methot

F2: Erik Condra Mark Stone

D2: Patrick Wiercioch - Cody Ceci

Ottawa's penalty kill - whether one or two-man advantage - is going to be looking a lot different this season. With Erik Condra playing in Tampa Bay, Eric Gryba being shipped off to Edmonton* and the unlikelihood of Chris Phillips being a regular in the Senators' lineup, younger players are going to be looked upon for some contribution.


Now, let's watch it all come together. Well, from the attacking team's point of view. And Alfie's.

How about another Swede?


5-on-3's are exciting, but only if you're on the right side of them.

And if not, just remember, it's only 5% worse than it was when you took the first penalty.


*An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Eric Gryba had gone to Calgary

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