By Martin Iheke
Remember last week when I stated that one of my keys to the rest of the season was the power play? After the Montreal Canadiens game last Tuesday night, I think your Dallas Stars read my report because in their last two games, they are 6 for their last 11 opportunities with the man-advantage and it has played a huge part in their victories. Being able to score on the power play is important for a lot of reasons. You want to make your opponents pay for putting you on the job and it increases your chances of victory. When you have the amount of offensive skill the Stars have, there should be no reason for them to constantly be bad on the power play.
The game against the Canadiens last Tuesday was a perfect example of how a game can be decided by your inability to convert on the power play. The Stars had two five-on-three opportunities and failed to convert. They were not even close to posing a threat to score in both occasions. They were one for five in a disappointing, 3-2, loss. The Stars outshot the Canadiens, 42-26. “At the end, our power play didn’t get it done, and that was the difference,” Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said according to dallasnews.com. “(Carey) Price made some unbelievable saves. They got lucky…one hit a glove, one hit a skate…but I thought Price was fantastic.”
Before their next game at the Ottawa Senators, last Thursday night, the Stars made some adjustments on the power play in practice. They moved Stars captain Jamie Benn to the front of the net while rookie defenseman John Klingberg would be one of the point man on the first unit. Klingberg has a very good shot and can shoot it to the net effectively. In their game against the Senators, the Stars were two for three on the power play in a 6-3 win. Benn scored the first of two goals in the game on the power play. “It’s a good place,” Benn said before the game of his move from the wall according to dallasnews.com. “It’s a little read-and-react. If you have to screen the goalie, if it’s finding the puck, there are opportunities to do something good down there.”
Their success with the man-advantage continued when they played at the Winnipeg Jets last Saturday night. The Stars went 4 for 8 on the power play in a 5-2 win. The star in this one was John Klingberg. He scored two goals and had two assists. The rookie continues to impress and he is quickly making a case for Rookie of the Year (Calder Trophy). “We needed this,” Klingberg said according to dallasnews.com. “We’re chasing them and we need the points.” “It’s so huge, it changed the game,” Benn said according to dallasnews.com. “You have to have it if you want to win going down the stretch, so we need to keep working at it and keep getting better. This should just push us to work even harder.”
The win put the Stars just seven points back of the Jets for the first wild card spot in the Western Conference with two games in hand. They are four points back of the Calgary Flames for the 2nd (final) spot in the West with a game in a hand. If the power play can continue to produce in a timely manner like it has in the last two games, the Stars will win more games and have an excellent shot at the postseason. The Colorado Avalanche will be in town on Tuesday night so this is another big game within the division the Stars need to win. I am thinking the power play will again be the deciding factor for the Stars.
2/3 vs Avalanche 7:30 pm
2/5 vs Lightning 7:30 pm
2/7 @Sabres 6:00 pm
2/8 @Rangers 4:00 pm