A recent history of special teams
It's been well publicized this season that goal scoring is down, and has been on the decline ever since the "revitalized," power-play filled 2005-06 season.
Here's a look at the role power-play goals have played in that shift:
Power-play goal scoring has decreased, but it's still up from prelockout times. Maybe not for long, but there it is.
Strangely enough, the power-play percentage numbers aren't quite the same:
Since the beginnings of the 30-team league, power plays are more potent than ever, firing at nearly 18 per cent.
All the figures:
The number of power-play opportunities per game is sliding down, and is already below the 2000-01 level, but the rate of scoring is still up.
My guess is that this is due to an increased willingness for referees to call 5-on-3s and penalties in overtime, although I'm certainly willing to listen to other theories.
This season compared to 2003-04, teams are on pace to score 283 more power-play goals in 765 more opportunities (I wonder how many of those are puck-over-the-glass calls?). Goal scoring is up 0.3 per game overall in that time, from 5.1 to 5.4, and 0.23 of that is coming with the man advantage.
The penalties are disappearing, and so are the goals.
UPDATE Gabe Desjardins passed along the number of puck-over-the-glass penalties this season (110), which means we're on pace to see around 350 of those calls this season.