Razor with an Edge: Power Play, Life Off the Grid

Friday, 12.13.2013 / 4:17 PM CT / Razor With An Edge
By Daryl "Razor" Reaugh
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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.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 53 21 27 5 131 156 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 53 28 31 15 59
T. Seguin 53 28 28 10 56
J. Klingberg 53 8 35 14 43
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 53 16 24 -1 40
C. Eakin 53 10 13 1 23
A. Goligoski 53 3 20 17 23
M. Janmark 53 10 9 13 19
A. Roussel 51 8 10 5 18
V. Nichushkin 50 6 12 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 13 5 0 .907 2.82
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