What are they?: When an opposing player is sent to the penalty box by himself, the team is awarded a two-, four-or five-minute man advantage, depending upon the severity of the infraction.
Why are they so important?: Quite simply, games swing on special teams more than any other aspect of the sport. Imagine if the Rays had to play an inning without a shortstop; the Bucs without a cornerback. The opposition would have a serious edge. The only difference in hockey is these advantages are reality. And teams must learn how to succeed with them.
What is the objective?: To keep the puck in the opponents zone for as long as possible. This helps create more scoring chances, and in turn, more goals.
What is the strategy?: Most teams use what is known as the umbrella. In this set, two forwards usually the center and the bigger wing park on either side of the goalie. The other wing and one defenseman park near the boards just above the two faceoff circles. The other defenseman in most cases the hardest shooter stands at the top of the zone. The plan is to have the two skaters on the wings maintain puck possession while the two up-front skaters create traffic and clear an open lane for the sharpshooter. If all are positioned correctly, the players form what looks like an umbrella.
The lingo: The skater usually a defenseman who carries the puck into the zone and directs his teammates while in the zone, is known as the power play's quarterback.
Compiled by Tim Sullivan