A couple of weeks ago I lamented on the Admirals lack of success on the penalty kill. Unfortunately, a rather busy crop of news buried that story under a heap of more pressing concerns.
However, this week’s scheduling quirk allows me a night to reflect a little deeper on the Admirals issues with special teams.
Heading into this week’s four-game road trip, Milwaukee stood at nearly rock bottom shorthanded, allowing 36 goals in 156 times playing at least one man short, or a paltry penalty killing success rate of 76.9%. Meaning just about every three out of four times skating shorthanded this season, the Admirals allow a goal–and rarely do AHL games go without at least four penalties. That ranks 29th best out of 30 teams.
On the opposite side of the coin, Milwaukee’s power play continues to impress. Prior to Tuesday’s game against Hamilton, the Admirals were humming at 21.3% success rate, scoring 30 goals in 141 times playing with at least a one man advantage, good enough for the third best clip in the league.
Curiously, these numbers mirror parent club Nashville, which ranks second in the NHL in power play success (21.7% success) and 83.1% on the penalty kill (12th best in the league). In this day in age special teams play a huge role in the success of a hockey club. One of the reasons why the Predators are climbing up the standings is due to their success on the power play, which is not countered with a struggling penalty kill.
What that translates to for Milwaukee? Improve the penalty kill and see the win total rise.
Sunday and Tuesday’s games against Rockford and Peoria respectively offer an excellent chance to work on cleaning up the shorthanded unit against Divisional foes. The Ice Hogs feature the AHL’s 21st best power play, while the Rivermen roll with league’s second best tandem.
My suggestion for coach Ian Herbers: Try something new against the struggling Rockford power play. If it works, carry it over and see if it is for real against Peoria.
So Roundtable . . . Any suggestions for fixing Milwaukee’s ailing Penalty Kill?