The importance of the Powerplay and Penalty Killing Units in the NHL

Published: Feb 1, 8:51pm Last Updated: Nov 17, 2:48pm undertherobe on Ice Hockey 1 Comment 21449 Views

When looking through the mound of stats and trends that usually accompany an NHL game preview, the two that are often mentioned are the Powerplay Percentage and Penalty Kill Percentage. 

But what are they and why are they so important?

NHL Percentage Statistics

The Power Play and Penalty Kill Percentages are two numbers that NHL punters should take into consideration.

1. A Powerplay is when a team has a man advantage over their opposition. 

This occurs when the opposition has been penalised with a sin-binning and on most occasions lasts for 2 minutes.

The figures that you see quoted are how many times a team has managed to score when they have the man advantage. 

2. The Penalty Kill figures that are quoted are the other side of a coin. 

How many times have a team been able to keep the opposition out when they have been a man down? 


Both are such an important part of the game that teams have specific players to take the ice on either offense or defense in a powerplay or penalty kill situation. 

For the most part, it is one-way traffic in favour of the team with a man advantage as they pepper the opposition goal for the duration of the powerplay. 

In short, it offers the best chance of a team scoring a goal.

If we look at the teams at the top and bottom of both rankings (as of the 2019/20 Season), we can see similarities between their Powerplay or Penalty Kill rankings and the current position of teams in their Conferences.  

Ranking Power Play Goals For
1st Edmonton Oilers 59
2nd Vancouver Canucks 57
3rd Boston Bruins 57

Ranking Power Play Goals For
29th Ottawa Senators 30
30th New York Islanders 29
31st Anaheim Ducks 27

Ranking Penalty Kill
Penalty Kill Percentage
1st San Jose Sharks 85.7%
2nd Edmonton Oilers 84.4%
3rd Boston Bruins 84.3%

Ranking Penalty Kill
Penalty Kill Percentage
29th Nashville Predators 76.1%
30th Buffalo Sabres 74.6%
31st Detroit Red Wings 74.3%

So if you're looking at making a bet on an NHL game and are struggling with where to start, you could do a lot worse than check out the Powerplay and Penalty Killing stats.

This rings true for long term NHL bets as well. 

If we look at the last 4 NHL seasons, the top 5 ranked teams in Powerplay % are statistically more likely to reach the playoffs. 

Whilst the top teams in penalty kill % statistically are more likely to reach the playoffs. 

On the reverse look closely at teams whose power play and penalty kill percentages are poor. 

If this is an area that interests you when betting on sports please visit this betting school article - Statistics and Trends In Betting.


There are no comments here. Be the first to comment...

Please Register / Login to reply to this blog

By using this site you confirm you are 18+ and consent to our use of cookies and processing of personal data as set out in our Privacy Policy
Got it!

We detected you are connecting from United States. We have a different section in our site for users from your country.