When the Stars have needed a goal, they have been unable to rely on their power play to deliver one.
The Stars power play went 0 for 3 during a 4-1 loss to Vancouver on Saturday night, including a massive missed opportunity late in the third period that could have tied the game at 2. The struggles have piggybacked on the unit’s extended issues as its run hot and cold in the last two months.
After the game on Saturday night, Stars coach Rick Bowness said the frustration with the power play was “up there.”
“I don’t know how we didn’t score in that last one with open nets,” Bowness said. “Their guy was phenomenal in the net. The other two power plays we weren’t very good at all.”
The Stars also went 0 for 3 on the power play on Thursday in Carolina, which included a 4-on-3 chance in the final minute of overtime. Dallas did not register a shot on goal with the man-advantage against the Hurricanes.
Since the Stars scored four goals in Buffalo on Jan. 20, the power play has been one of the worst in the league.
During 5-on-4 power plays, the Stars have scored 4.85 goals per 60 minutes since Jan. 21, which is the third-worst mark in the league. In the first 37 games of the season? The Stars were the fourth-best 5-on-4 power play in the NHL, scoring 9.58 goals per 60 minutes.
Their shot attempts have gone down 16 per 60 minutes. Their shots on goal have decreased by about eight per 60 minutes.
The Stars had just one shot on each of their first two power plays against the Canucks on Saturday before firing four at Thatcher Demko during their final one of the evening. The best chances came from Joe Pavelski (denied by a pad save) and Esa Lindell (hit a post with a wide open net).
“It makes a difference if you can get on there,” Pavelski said. “We had some looks at the end to tie that game up, and it didn’t go in the net. It was one of those things that you don’t know how it doesn’t go in at times.”
It’s obvious, but scoring power play goals has helped the Stars win this season. They are 22-7-1 when scoring at least one power play goal, and 14-18-2 when they do not.
There are things that can change soon on the power play, as Bowness suggested that more personnel changes are on the way. Miro Heiskanen could return to the lineup as soon as Tuesday. Jacob Peterson has the offensive chops to replace Lindell on one of the units, as does Thomas Harley.
The Stars have four units that have scored multiple power-play goals this season and, just like at even-strength, it is powered by the top line.
The unit with John Klingberg, Pavelski, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov has scored 11 goals this season. Replace Radulov with Seguin, and that unit has nine goals this season.
The units have been jumbled, but might a return to Klingberg, Pavelski, Robertson, Hintz and Radulov help jump start the offense? Or would Heiskanen’s return simplify entries and lead to more chances?
“When we needed a good power play we got it, we just didn’t score and you we had wide open nets and we’re hitting posts,” Bowness said. “It’s 2-1 and that game should have been tied 2-2 right there.”
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