Razor with an Edge: Power Play, Life Off the Grid
A day after losing the power play battle and ultimately the ice war in Nashville, I thought I'd force feed you some truth.
The Stars power play needs to be better. Yes. There you have it. That's my Captain Obvious deduction. You’re welcome. It's what I do.
How better? You do? Well, aside from awkward English, that's up for debate.
Overall, it ranks dead last in the league, thanks largely to the catastophizing they've done on it at AAC where it is a confounding 1 for 47 and no doubt has cost the club some valuable points. In the absolute paradox of paradoxical stats the Stars have actually been more lethal when playing down a man on home ice rather than on the power play (three shorthanded goals vs one power play goal).
Conversely, it's actually been statistically decent on the road (tied for 12th entering the gameIn Nashville), however, last night it fell flat in the face of a Preds power play that scored twice in 30 seconds (that's double the Stars home production for the season so far for those of you who find arithmetic difficult) and was a major factor in the 3-1 loss.
A little history lesson for you: the last really good Stars power play was the collection of players and direction of them on that 2002-03 team. That was the first year of Dave Tippett's reign and it employed the likes of Zubov, Modano, Guerin, Arnott, Dahlen, Young, Lehtinen, etc. (Talent-rich indeed) It ranked 5th that season, one of four times over the past 30 years that the franchise finished top five in PP% (97-98 First, 86-87 Fifth, 83-84 First).
So, is it a personnel issue? Or a plan of attack issue? Or a confidence ssue? Maybe it's a bit of all of that, plus some voodoo.
The lines under the eyes of veteran power play synergists Gonchar and Whitney haven't dictated, created, nor converted at the rate they have in past and that has stung because they are counted on to do so.
Jamie Benn, who captured the shooting accuracy title at the last NHL All Star game, has yet to score on the power play. You read that correct.
The Stars PP goal leaders have scored twice. Twice! Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has scored as many power play goals as the Stars as a team have, 11.
On a positive note, the Stars have excelled in two key areas that usually foreshadow power play goals: 1) Faceoff possession 2) Entries into the attacking zone. It's that next step, especially at home, that's proving tricky as a Rubik’s Cube.
Adding to the anxiety is that the importance of being able to convert power play goals at a healthy rate has become paramount in a league that decides 25-30% of its games in overtime. A PP goal here or a timely man-advantage goal there is often a difference maker in this parity enveloped NHL.
I'll finish this tendentious look at the PP (whaaaat?) by emptying 'Razor's Special Teams Spitballing Reservoir'.
- Put 6’7” Jamie Oleksiak in front of net.
- Attack more from deeper in the zone rather than up top near blueline.
- Overload one side of the ice rather than spreading five guys out in the zone (create three vs one situations).
- Find more ways to use Seguin's wicked one-timer.
- Swarm loose pucks better.
- Shoot it where the goalie isn't.
Oh, it's so easy in makeup from 300 feet away.