The Detroit Red Wings are 18th in the NHL in power play percentage. Really? They’re that high?
The Wings were 0-6 on the power play Tuesday night in a 2-1 loss to St. Louis. One of those power plays was a five-minute major to Chris Stewart early in the game.
When a power play unit is not performing as well as it should, the finger is pointed in one direction: the head coach. Mike Babcock, after sixteen games, has to explore new avenues with his power play lines. The Wings have just 10 power play goals this season, three of them coming in one game. Ten power play goals is very average among the rest of the NHL.
Luckily, it is early enough in the season to fix this problem. Certainly, Johan Franzen needs to be on the ice during man-avantages. He has been the one bright spot on power plays this season with five goals. Nicklas Lidstrom should be a mainstay as well, as few are better at setting up plays and piloting the power play unit. (His shot isn’t so bad either.) As for the rest of the team, there should be open tryouts for the two power play lines.
The scariest thing about the deplorable power play unit: the Wings lead the league in 5-on-5 goals for to goals against ratio. This sends an interesting message to future opponents. Get penalties early and often because the Wings can’t cash in on them, and teams probably can’t match up with them at even strength.