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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Dumbing Down the Power Play

Tuesday, 12.02.2008 / 10:43 AM / 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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 61 12 28 -16 40
E. Staal 56 18 19 -10 37
E. Lindholm 60 11 16 -16 27
J. Skinner 56 16 10 -16 26
R. Nash 58 7 15 -9 22
N. Gerbe 57 7 15 -11 22
V. Rask 59 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 61 6 12 3 18
J. Staal 25 4 12 -2 16
A. Nestrasil 33 4 10 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 19 4 .913 2.37
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60