Of the many things that have been plaguing the Dallas Stars recently, one is an issue they have been dealing with for most of the season — the power play.
The difference now is that the Stars are at a point in their season in which they should have solved this problem, and they cannot afford to let it potentially cost them any more points in the standings.
The Stars began the season with an anemic power play, to the point that they were among the worst teams with the man advantage at home. They snapped out of their funk and had one of the most explosive power plays in the league near the midpoint of the season, but have since regressed.
Over the past five games, the Stars went 1-for-13 on the power play. In the final stretch of the regular season, any points lost can dictate whether or not a team spends the postseason on their couch or in a playoff battle. Going 1-13, especially including games against opponents lower than them in the standings, is a recipe for failure. Twice earlier this season, the Stars had a power play late in the third period or in overtime, and failed to convert only to lose the game.
The Stars had five power plays Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators, and failed to convert on any of them. Thanks to two third-period goals, the Stars managed to earn the much-needed win and two points.
With names like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Ray Whitney, the Stars have players who can be very effective on the power play. One of the problems is depth with the man advantage. Alex Chiasson has found a role as the net-front presence on the power play, but the second unit is filled with role players. They also tend to make too many passes instead of putting the puck on net, which has given opponent many short-handed opportunities.
The Stars have kept their approach to the power play consistent throughout the season. They want Seguin set up for the one-timer on the left, one defenseman at the point, and someone in the high slot or on top of the crease. Keeping it the same allows the players an opportunity to turn the slump into a hot streak the way they did earlier this season.
The problem is that there are not many games left in the season to try to wait things out. The Stars broke their four-game losing skid Saturday night. They need to break out of their power play slump next. Waking that part of their game up could turn losses into wins and a hot streak in the final stretch of the season.