If there’s a more action-packed, white-knuckled, drop-dead important two minutes in pro team sports than the power play in hockey, then so help us, we’ll argue until we get a 10-minute misconduct penalty.
Think about it, people. In no other major league is a piece taken off the game board to reward/penalize the participants for a rules infraction. Suddenly, dramatically, the shackles are removed from some of the most skilled athletes in the world. They now have all that wide-open space around them.
There are more tape-to-tape passes. More unimpeded shots at the net. More gritty, in-your-face shot blocks. More believe-it-or-not saves. More highlight-reel goals. Pretty much more of everything except play stoppages. No icing calls, you know.
Better yet, because nothing can change the momentum of a game more than a power play, successful or otherwise, the stakes are higher. Way higher. Exclude empty-netters, and about 70 percent of all NHL games are decided by a single goal. Win the special teams matchup, you win the game. Yeah, it’s that simple.
So who are the best power-play combos of all time? Here’s our list with a twist. We selected the best version in the history of each franchise and ranked them all from worst to best. Now let’s have at it.