With two key pieces in Mike Ribeiro and Jamie Benn on the shelf for the next few games, the Dallas Stars have needed all the offense they can get.
Enter the power play, which is conceivably what they need to rely even more heavily on during this stretch.
Problem is, the power play has been struggling to the tune of 4-for-41 over the last 13 games. Some of that has been self induced - according to Mark Stepneski of ESPN Dallas, the Stars have taken themselves off of four power plays early over the last nine games because they were called for a penalty.
And some of it, coach Glen Gulutzan said, is simply a matter of going through a dry spell despite doing many things right.
"I think sometimes everyone gets so results based – and it is results based business – however results just don’t always turn on a dime," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. "Our power play has created chances. We’ve had guys at the net, we’ve hit posts and they just haven’t gone in. "
- Almost three weeks after being run over by the train that is Milan Lucic, Philip Larsen was cleared to return and taken off injured reserve Thursday afternoon. Mike Heika's suspicion is he won't play today but might play Saturday against the reeling Minnesota Wild. [DallasNews.com/DallasNews.com]
- You want more about the power play, you say? Well Barry Melrose, yes, Barry Melrose, breaks down how he thinks the Stars could do better. Also, when did he decide The Joker was appropriate fashion inspiration? [ESPN Dallas]
- If you're feeling a little bit down about the Stars fortunes as of late, Todd over at Thursday Morning Cupcheck has some hopeful tidbits and awesome motivational posters just for you. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- I missed the Razor mind vitamins a few days ago, but since he was nice and dealt me a few blackjacks last night, I figured I owed it to him to link it today. [Razor with an Edge]
- Junior hockey players save a puppy from almost certainly freezing to death. So much aww packed into one story. Mike Modano taught the future Prince Albert Raiders well. [CBC]
- One thing is guaranteed during the All-Star game draft. Vancouver Canucks fans will end up unhappy. [Pass It To Bulis]
- Taylor Hall's face. That is all. [Edmonton Oilers]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: Steven Stamkos is really freaking good, and he has scored quite a few goals early in his NHL career. [Raw Charge]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: The timing on this story is a little strange, as the Tampa Bay Lightning just had a huge win over the Boston Bruins and we all know publicly showing support for a coach in any sport can happen one day before he is fired. But the Lightning want everyone to know that Guy Boucher has his front office's support, including that of general manager Steve Yzerman. [Tampa Bay Times]
- Around the Pacific Division, the loser points: I am shocked, shocked I say, that the Phoenix Coyotes took another game to overtime, this time falling 3-2 to the Detroit Red Wings in the shootout. The Los Angeles Kings also went to a shootout, falling 2-1 to the Calgary Flames. Why so many three-point games? Obviously, because the hockey gods are fans of maximum Western Conference angst. [Arizona Republic/Los Angeles Times]
- Around the Pacific Division, the actual loser: The Ottawa Senators are letting nothing stop them in pursuit of being the hottest team at the All-Star break, and the San Jose Sharks merely got out of their way in a 4-1 loss. [San Jose Mercury News]
- If you want a good read today, take some time to go through this blog by Jonathan Sigalet, who is writing about his experience with the KHL's Lev Poprad in Slovakia. It seems like an... interesting time. [Canadian in Poprad]
- Gulutzan, looking quite alert after a late night out in Grapevine (much more alert than I was this morning at least), talks about how the goalie rotation might work this weekend, Tom Wandell and his improvement and general power play fun.