December, 11, 2010
By Mark Stepneski | ESPNDallas.com
The road power play woes continued for the Dallas Stars Saturday night, and it was among the reasons they fell 5-2 to the Phoenix Coyotes.
The Stars were 1-7 on the power play Saturday and are now 3-49 on the power play in road games this season. The 6.1 percent efficiency rate is the worst in the league.
“We’ve been struggling a lot lately. It’s frustrating,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas told reporters after the game. “We’re thinking too much out there. We’ve just got to go back to basics, shoot the puck, get some rebounds and tips. We’ve got to go back to basics and stop thinking too much about it. It’s in our heads a little bit right now.”
After falling behind 2-0 early, the Stars had two power plays they had two power play chances in the first period, created some good chances but couldn’t get a puck past Coyotes Ilya Bryzgalov.
After cutting Phoenix’s lead to 3-1 with a James Neal goal early in the second period, they had three more chances in the period to cut into the lead couldn’t take advantage.
With the game still 3-1 they had a chance early in the third period. The Stars put defenseman Nicklas Grossman on the power play to change things up and he turned the puck over, leading to a shorthanded goal for the Phoenix that made it a 4-1 Coyotes lead.
Loui Eriksson cashed in on the seventh power play chance of the night late in the game, banging in a rebound off the endboards to make it a 5-2 game. Stars coach Marc Crawford hopes that goal will get the Stars going on the power play.
“If there’s any consolation we got one at the end. That will take us off the slide,” Crawford told reporters. “We had some really good power plays tonight. We did everything but score. When your power play is not going really well you have to be very basic with it. That’s what we tried to do. We tried to get as many people to the front of the net as you possibly can and you want to be strong on the loose pucks that get created if the pucks get through. I thought we did that and Bryzgalov was equal to the task, especially early. We got a little flustered later in our power plays. Our fourth and fifth weren’t nearly as good as our first three, when we were really quite good.
“If you stick with it, hopefully you are going to get through it. Getting a cheesy goal on the power play might relax our guys a little bit. I know our guys on the road will get more relaxed and the execution will get better.”
The Stars are 1-16 on the power play over their last four game overall, which includes three game on the road. They are 14.9 percent on the power play for the season, which ranked 23rd in the league when they finished play Saturday night.
Lehtonen not expected to play Monday
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has missed the last three games with a sore back, will likely miss a fourth straight game. Stars coach Marc Crawford said he is not expected to play Monday at San Jose. Andrew Raycroft is expected get the get his fourth straight start.
“If you want to make the playoffs you’ve got to try to eliminate the back-to-back losses or the big streaks of losses. That gives you the chance to always be in the playoff hunt. Tonight wasn’t a good effort, it wasn’t an honest effort by our guys. There’s a million excuses you could make but that’s just not being a good pro. In games like this where you might not have your best, might not have your legs you’ve got to put checking to a premium, you’ve got to play smart, you’ve got play defense, you’ve got to check and just make it an ugly game. Tonight we didn’t make it an ugly enough game.”
Stars forward Adam Burish on the 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes