The power play has not been a strong part of the Carolina Hurricanes’ game all season and the truth is is that it is hurting the team’s chances of making the playoffs when it can’t capitalize on the man advantage.
Currently, the Hurricanes are ranked 27th in the league on the power-play with a 14.1 percent successful rate, It’s also worth pointing out that the Canes’ offensive numbers aren’t spectacular in other regards either.
They rank 24th in goals for/goals against at five-on-five and 21st for goals per game.
One way to improve the goals-per-game is on the power play and it’s not like the coaching staff and others have tried improving those numbers. The Canes traded Tim Gleason for John-Michael Liles, who has helped the man advantage in some regards, but hasn’t been a revitalization either.
One thing that I’ve noticed through watching the Hurricanes is that a lot of their goals come off rushes. With snipers like Jeff Skinner and Alexander Semin and passers like the Staal brothers that way seems to work for the team.
They don’t score a ton of garbage goals or off of offensive pressure. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but rush goals seem to be the most common. One example of this is the teams’ nine shorthanded goals this season. When the opposing team pinches, the penalty killers have shown the ability to burn them by quick goals off of rushes.
But this method doesn’t bode well on the power play. Teams aren’t going to exert a lot of offensive pressure and instead hang back and worry about defending their nets instead.
Usually teams run umbrella power plays, where one defenseman is at the point and two players are along the halfboards, while one is in front of the net, and the other may be in the slot or to the side of the net. This method is typically used to find a cross-ice pass.
Instead the Hurricanes could try setting Skinner, Semin, Nathan Gerbe or Jiri Tlusty around the circles, while a player like Tuomo Ruutu, Eric or Jordan Staal screens in front of the net to try and score in a more Hurricane typical way.
While it wouldn’t be a rush play it would simulate it as well as it could by giving players a chance to shoot against a goalie that can’t see much. Imagine Riley Nash‘s goal against the Ottawa Senators last week as an example, although it was not on the man advantage.
Things haven’t been working for the Carolina Hurricanes on the power play, by trying to work to the team’s advantages, something positive could happen.