# NHL--penalty questions

I have some questions regarding penalties in professional Hockey

1. What happens when there are multiple penalties during a power play? I know we can go to 5 on 3. What happens next? 5 on 2? Something else?
2. How big an advantage is a 5 on 4? Mathematically speaking, how many points per minute are scored for vs. against (short handed) as opposed to normal full-strength play?
3. Not a penalty question, but related to #2–Is there an advantage to playing 6 on 5 (pulling the goalie)? The risk is obviously significant, and teams only do it in desparation–does it really up their chance of scoring?

Thanks!

It never gets more disadvanteged than 5-on-3. If a team already has Adam and Bob in the penatly box and Chris commits a penalty, Chris goes into the penalty box but he can be replaced on the ice. However, his actual 2 minutes of penalty time doesn’t start until Adam’s time in the penalty box runs out (or a goal is scored).

The math varies per team, but last year Detrot led the NHL by scoring on 22.1% of their power play opportunities. A team that scored 22.1% of the time they were at equal strength is pretty much a powerhouse: assuming 2/3rds of the game at equal strength, that adds up to something like nine goals a game: the highest goals per game in the NHL last year was about 3.8, and Detroit scored 3.67 (obviously those numbers include power play goals, but you can see that the power play is definitely an advantage).
3) Not a penalty question, but related to #2–Is there an advantage to playing 6 on 5 (pulling the goalie)? The risk is obviously significant, and teams only do it in desparation–does it really up their chance of scoring?
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It’s certainly an advantage to have an extra man on the ice. However, it’s hard to quantify, since most 6 on 5 situations are in the last minute or two of a game, so there’s not a lot of time to do it. My impression that an empty net goal is more common, but in the right situation (when you need a goal to tie), it certainly is worth trying.

I would put forth that the risk is insignificant, when you consider teams only do at the end of the game where they’re guaranteed to lose if they don’t score a goal. It makes no difference if you lose by one goal or two, it’s still a loss.

The advantage of 6 on 5 is actually better than the power play advantage of 5 on 4.

The reason 6 on 5 is actually better is that while you still only have one extra man, the other team doesn’t have the advantage of having no icing rule. As you may or may not know, in hockey it is illegal to simply clear the puck by just shooting it down the ice into the other team’s end; if you do this from behind the red line, and it gets over the end line and the opposing team touches it first, that’s called “icing,” and the play is dead and the puck is brought back into your zone.

HOWEVER, if a team is shorthanded, icing does not apply to them; they can clear the puck all the way down the ice every chance they get. In fact, that’s basically what killing penalties is all about; getting the puck long enough to shoot it down the ice.

But if a team pulls the goalie to attempt to score 6-on-5, that’s not a shorthanded situation - both teams still have the same number of men on the ice. So the defending team can’t ice the puck - well, they can, but the puck just comes back for a faceoff in their zone, which negates most of the benefoit of doing that. So 6-on-5 is actually a bit more advantageous than 5-on-4.

Of course, the drawback is that you could give up a second, backbreaking goal into an empty net. But as Turkey points out, who cares? Doesn’t matter if you lose by one or two.

I disagree. Sure, the other team can’t ice the puck, but they have 6 bodies out there all trying to block any shots. There’s rarely enough room in the offensive zone when the goalie is pulled. Think of it this way: what would you prefer, a 5 on 4 or a 4 on 3? The 4 on 3 is better because there’s more open ice to make plays with.

:eek:

Hey now!! That was uncalled for.