The Tampa Bay Lightning's sweep of the Washington Capitals has been played up more as a meltdown by Washington than domination by Tampa Bay. Certainly the Capitals underachieved after finishing the regular season at the top of the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season. Nonetheless, the Lightning have an excellent chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, in great part because of the best power play and penalty kill of the 2011 playoffs.
Tampa Bay has spent 69:02 with a man advantage. They've scored 12 goals, four more than the next best playoff team. The amazing part, however, is that in the 69 minutes on the power play, the Lightning have only taken 46 shots. Quick math: that's around 26 percent of shots during the man-up hitting the back of the net.
How does this compare? Philadelphia, the second highest scoring power play teamwith seven goalsto make it into the second round, has taken 73 shots in 72:24. The next best PP scorers are Detroit with seven goals on 44 shots in 38:45, San Jose with six goals on 75 shots in 62:30, Nashville with six goals on 55 shots in 69:32 and Vancouver with six goals on 42 shots in 44:03.
The numbers are indicative of the Lightning's strategy on the power play as well as their chemistry. The strategy is quite obviously to cycle the puck until a higher percentage shot comes available, preferably by a superstar. Seven of Tampa Bay's 12 goals have been scored by either Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis or Vinny Lecavalier. St. Louis has four assists to boot and Lecavalier has three. After a look at film of several power play goals during the regular season and postseason, it seems the Bolts rotate into a 1-3-1 set to give the point man the option of taking a shot or passing to the front of the net from a 45 degree angle.