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Dumbing Down the Power Play

Tuesday, 12.2.2008 / 10:43 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Dumbing Down the Power Play

It wasn’t the most glowing term, but Ryan Bayda may have said it best last week when describing what the Canes need to do differently in order to score more goals.

“It’s almost brain-dead hockey,” he said prior to Sunday’s loss to Anaheim.

Paul Branecky
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In saying that, he meant that the Canes need to play a simpler, almost textbook game of shooting the puck at every opportunity and working hard to convert those shots into goals through rebounds, screens, tip-ins and other types of grunt work.

They did a better job of that with 17 shots in the second period against Anaheim on Sunday, but couldn’t convert.  Still, it was a step in the right direction, and as long as the Canes keep that up, their luck should turn.

Even in that second period, however, the power play seemed to be a completely different animal.  The team had two man-advantages in that period – one with two shots and one with zero - that basically served to give Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller a breather between even-strength barrages on either side.

The 0-4 performance on Sunday extended the Canes current power play drought to 26 chances, dating back to Ray Whitney’s goal against Montreal on November 18.  The power play is currently 29th in the league at 12.9 percent.

Carrying the even-strength simplicity over to the power play could be the answer.

”We’ve just got to get back to the basics and stick to it,” said General Manager Jim Rutherford.  “We have good enough players and a good enough team.  We don’t have to score pretty goals on the power play.  Any kind of goal on the power play will work.  They all count the same.”

It sounds obvious, but the first step to scoring goals is getting shots.  The Canes have mustered only 23 shots on goal during the current 26-chance drought – an average of less than one shot per opportunity.

“We’ll turn our two minute power play into passing the puck around the outside and in some cases not even taking a shot,” Rutherford continued.  “That’s what the other team wants.  Keep the puck to the outside and you can pass it around all you want.  That’s the easiest system to defend against, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”

In preparing to face two teams in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia that boast top-10 penalty kills, a little brain-deadness could go a long way.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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