The Dallas Stars have all the ingredients needed to build a great power play.
They have shooters and playmakers and puck-rushing defensemen. They have a bit of size, too, for what the coaches today call “net-front presence.”
And yet the Stars are the NHL’s least-efficient team with the man advantage, converting at a meager 10.5 percent rate. So instead of bidding for a top seed in the hyper-competitive Western Conference, Dallas is fighting to stay in the playoff race.
They have converted just two of their last 30 power plays. Their special teams were outscored 2-0 at Nashville.
“The numbers haven’t been there, but the actual chances are,” winger Ray Whitney told the Dallas Morning News. “I think we had eight chances (in Nashville) and 11 the game before. We just have to get one to go in, and I think that will open the door.”
An overriding issue is the poor play of Whitney, who scored just one goal in his first 25 games, and Jamie Benn’s 11-game goal-scoring slump.
“It’s tough, that’s all I can say,” Whitney told the Morning News. “It’s probably the worst stretch of my career, and I’m trying everything I can to get out of it.
“There is pressure there, because if we want to win, we have to have secondary scoring. I mean, I look back at some of these games, and if I could have scored a goal or the power play could have scored a goal, it would have been a different outcome.”
Benn is switching up his routines, looking for some way to change his luck.
“You have to do what’s best for yourself, but I think we’re all trying something,” Benn told the Morning News. “There are superstitious things you do that you don’t want to talk about. I’m changing my stick tape, so I hope something like that will help.”