Dallas’ power play is just awful


Amazingly, this thing where I write about a team’s awful power play, then watch it snap out of its funk is a perfect two-for-two now — it first worked with Anaheim three weeks ago, then with Columbus two weeks ago (after going 0-for-36, the Jackets have scored nine PPG in seven games and still owe me a Mountain Dew).

So welcome to the analysis of your awful power play, Dallas.

The Stars went 1-for-6 with the man advantage in Sunday’s disappointing 3-2 loss to Florida, which capped off a five-game road swing in which Dallas went 1-for-22 on the power play.

“We need to step up as a group and find a way to score,” Jamie Benn said, per the Dallas Morning News. “It’s got to make a difference tonight in a game like that when you have so many opportunities.”

It’s worth noting this isn’t the first time Dallas has struggled on the PP. It took until Nov. 21 for the Stars to finally score with the man advantage at home this season — a span of eight games and 26 opportunities at American Airlines.

The team also went through a ghastly slump from late January to early March where it scored just once in 26 man advantage situations.

Add it all up, and there’s little surprise to see the Stars near the bottom of the NHL in terms of power play efficiency. They sit 24th among 30 teams with a 15.5 percentage, this despite the fact they have two of the league’s top-10 scorers in Tyler Seguin (third, 82 points) and Jamie Benn (10th, 75 points).

Head coach Lindy Ruff seems cognizant of the fact that his two big guns need to be front-and-center on the PP. That’s why he switched things up a bit during Sunday’s loss, and saw positive signs for the future.

“I think after we changed and we put Jamie around the front and put two D out there, we spent most of the time in their zone,” Ruff said. “We had a lot of good luck, couple of re-directions.

“It looked like a power play again.”

Vigneault: ‘After three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention’

Alain Vigneault
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Alain Vigneault has maintained for much of the season that the New York Rangers needed to play better.

The head coach said it a week ago, after the Blueshirts had beaten the Predators, 3-0, despite getting outshot, 31-19.

He’d said it a couple of weeks before that, after they’d beaten the Hurricanes in very similar fashion. (Final score: 3-0. Shots: 33-23 for Carolina.)

But as long as the Rangers kept winning, it was tough, according to Vigneault, to get the message across.

“Sometimes, the results might be going your way, so when you’re pointing out certain things, it might be a little bit more challenging for them to understand because the results are so positive,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post.

“But after three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention.”

Derek Stepan‘s injury — he’ll miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs — has no doubt captured their attention as well. (Oscar Lindberg will center Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast tonight at home to Carolina.)

The Rangers also play Wednesday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders (on NBCSN).

Benn, Holtby and Galchenyuk are NHL’s three stars of the week

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Stars winger Jamie Benn, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.


Benn shared the League lead in goals (4) and points (6) as the Stars (19-5-0, 38 points) won two of three games to continue their best start to a season in the franchise’s 48-year history.

Holtby posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

Galchenyuk tied for first in the NHL with four goals and added one assist to help the Canadiens (18-4-3, 39 points) earn five of a possible six points and reclaim first place in the League standings.

As much as the injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher have been frustrating for the Canadiens, those are short-term issues that should be forgotten soon enough. Galchenyuk’s play, in contrast, is reason for long-term optimism. The 21-year-old is trending towards becoming the elite No. 1 center the Habs have needed so badly. He’s not there yet, but when’s all said and done, he could turn out to be the best forward (or player, period) taken in the 2012 draft.

Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs


Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

Carey Price,
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Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 28-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

Related: The latest on Price’s injury