Dallas Stars: power play

Improving power play a focus for Stars

April, 13, 2012
FRISCO -- It’s no secret that the Dallas Stars power play was a sore spot this season. The numbers are well documented. It was the worst in the league at 13.5 percent. That percentage was the worst in franchise history and the 33 goals scored set a franchise mark for power play futility as well.

But here are some more numbers. The Stars were 20-6-3 this season when they scored on the power play and 22-29-2 when they didn’t. In their 42 wins they were 24-138 on the power play for a 17.4 percent conversion rate. In games they didn’t win they were 9-106 or 8.5 percent.

The power play was a hot topic the Stars faded away in the playoff race and it was still a topic as the Stars held exit interviews and met with the media this week.

“I am sure that will be number one on Glen Gulutzan’s agenda this summer, breaking that down and analyzing,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said of the power play. “There was a lot of discussion about Jamie Benn not being out there as much as some other guys. There was a time period where Mike Ribeiro, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson were kind of carrying this team and having some success, but it didn’t translate on the power play for any of our guys and we’re really going to have dig in hard and figure out why.”

When asked about possible offseason moves, Nieuwendyk mentioned the power play as an area that needed to be addressed.

Gulutzan said the Stars had the personnel to have a better power play this season, but they just didn’t get the job done.

“I don’t think we need to bring in anyone for the power play. As coaches I think we can do a better job,” Gulutzan said. “The power play comes with a little bit of confidence and that got in our kitchens a little bit. I think we’d go about thing somewhat differently with our power play, but we changed it four or five times. Everybody focuses a little bit on the end, but we were getting pressure from day one to game 82 on that thing. We changed it four times and who played with who four times, and I think it just got in our kitchen a little bit.”

Gulutzan has some valid points. The Stars’ power play woes took center stage after a dismal performance in the loss to San Jose that basically doomed its playoff chances, but it was erratic for most of the year. And there were a lot of different combinations of players used over the season, too. The only constant was that it struggled most of the time. There were a few good runs on the power play, but they were offset by some long stretches of low productivity.

“It’s the number one part we have to get better at,” said Stars forward Loui Eriksson. “We have to score more on the power play, that’s the way we can win more games. … We have to outwork them. We’ve been a little too sloppy sometimes. We need to put more pucks to the net, too. I think that’s how you score goals. You have to get traffic in front and put pucks there. Then rebounds will come out and you will score more goals. That’s something we need to do.”

It didn’t help that the Stars had only 244 power play opportunities, the third lowest total in the league, and that they were shorthanded 303 times, the fourth most in the league. Despite having a respectable penalty kill that ranked 13th in the league, they still gave up 19 more power play goals than they scored.

“Certainly we think it’s an area we where we can get four or five more points by having a better power play,” said Gulutzan. “Along with discipline, we can get four or five more points and we’re not minus-60 as far as penalties for and against. But as far as personnel goes, I think we have the personnel here to have a good power play.”
DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars were 0-4 on the power play in Saturday's 3-2 loss to St. Louis, solidifying this season’s power play as the least productive in franchise history.

The Stars finished the season 33-244 with the man advantage for a league-worst 13.5 percent.

The 33 power play goals was the lowest in franchise history, breaking the previous mark of 37 established in both 1972-73 and 1973-74, both 78-game seasons.

The 13.5 percent mark for the season was also the lowest in franchise history, breaking the old mark of 14.5 percent set in 1975-76.

It’s the first time in franchise history the Stars have had the worst power play in the league.

“Our power play certainly didn’t help us out. It could have got us a few more points, which could have made a difference,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “The power play has to improve, us coaches have to do a better job there.”

Excluding the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, the Stars 244 power play opportunities were the third lowest in franchise history. The Stars had only 207 in 1973-74 and 237 in 1972-73, both 78 game seasons.

Stars look to recharge during short break

March, 18, 2012
DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars have three days between games and it’s their longest break since the All-Star break. They’ve played 24 games in 45 days, posting a 14-7-3 record to take over first in the Pacific Division and the third seed in the Western Conference.

But after a 5-2 loss in Winnipeg on Wednesday and then 4-1 loss to Chicago in Dallas on Friday, the break gives the Stars a chance to rest up for the final ten games of the season, which will determine if they’ll get into the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

“If it was two games ago when we were on a big run we probably wouldn’t have liked the timing of it, but when you’re coming off a couple of losses like we just had, it’s probably a good time,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “We’re going to be in a big grind here over the next 10 games and they’re going to dictate our fate, so it’s going to be nice to have a couple of days where you could just recharge the batteries and be ready for that hard push.”

Two players who have been out with injuries – Sheldon Souray and Radek Dvorak – will get a couple more days to heal . Both are expected to return for Tuesdays’ game against Phoenix.

“The three-day break comes at a great time because it gives us time to heal a couple of the guys, Dvorak and Hammer, and it gives us to time to get away,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “And we’re still in a playoff spot no matter what happens here as far as games go and we have to focus on our last 10 and I think this three days gives us a good chance to do that.”

While the Stars will still be in a playoff spot, things are getting tighter in the standings. Their lead in the Pacific Division is down to one point and so is their lead over the ninth place spot in the Western Conference.

San Jose beat Detroit in overtime, pulling to within one point of the Stars for the Pacific Division lead with a game in hand. Los Angeles, which is currently in ninth place, beat Nashville and they are now one point behind the Stars with the same number of games played.

Colorado tied the Stars at 83 points Saturday, beating the New York Rangers. The Stars have two games in hand on the Avalanche.

Power plays over the last two games: 0

The Stars didn’t have a power play chance in Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago. It was the second straight game of no power play opportunities for the Stars.

“We’ve got to generate more flurries and pucks towards the net, so you make teams defend you and take penalties on you,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I thought there could have been a couple of penalties, but you can’t beg. You have to work to create opportunities that force them to defend and take you down. That’s what we’ve got to do.”

Four times this season the Stars have not had a power play in the game. Colorado leads the league in that category this season, going five games without a chance on the power play.

Stars practice in Euless Sunday

The Stars didn’t practice on Saturday. They will practice at the Dr. Pepper StarCenter in Euless Sunday morning at 10:30. Practice is open to the public. The Euless Dr. Pepper StarCenter is located at 1400 South Pipeline, Euless, TX 76040.

Stars notes

October, 23, 2011
Here are a few Dallas Stars notes concerning the power play, shot differential and five-on-five play.

*Saturday’s game in Los Angeles was a first in one category for the Stars this season. It was the first time they’ve have more power plays their opponents in a game. Still, they had only two opportunities with the man advantage Saturday.

The Stars have had just five power play chances in the last three games and getting more PP chances obviously is a goal.

“We’ve got to start generating,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said heading into Saturday’s game. “We’ve still got to get puck pucks at net because when you put pucks at net you get traffic at net and then you get other teams taking penalties because they are reacting. I think if we keep playing this East-West style, which we are getting away from a little bit, then you don’t draw a lot of penalties. Penalties are in the offensive zone, usually. We haven’t had enough time there to generate penalties. We’ve got to pucks on the net, make their D react, make their D defend from behind where they have to reach. We have to be more direct.”

*The Stars have had 28 power plays for the season and their opponents have had 39. That’s been a factor in the team’s shot differential. The Stars are being outshot 32.9 to 25.1 per game this season, but if you break down the shots by situation and look at even-strength play. In that situation the Stars are being outshot by just a 24.1 to 20.9 margin per game. On special teams they are being outshot 8.8 to 4.2 per game. (See the table below).

*The Stars have done well five-on-five so far this season. They have outscored their opponents 13-9 with both teams playing at full strength.

“Five-on-five play we’ve liked,” Gulutzan said.

The Stars’ 1.44 five-on-five goals for/goals against ratio currently ranks fourth in the league.