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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
N. Hanifin 79 4 18 -14 22
J. Slavin 63 2 18 1 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81