November Powerplay Woes

Back in October, I defended the Hurricanes powerplay because while they were not scoring, they were at least getting chances on net and were in the top 10 in the league when it came to generating shots 5-on-4. When this is the case, the dice eventually start to roll in their favor and the goals come with it. I figured this would be the case with the Canes but for whatever reason, their powerplay has fallen off a cliff in November in terms of creating chances. In the last month, they are generating less than one chance per 2 minutes on the powerplay and have scored only six goals. The strange thing is that they are still a borderline top-10 team in getting shots on net when playing 5-on-4, but scoring chances are more important than shots for creating goals and the Canes just aren’t creating enough chances on the powerplay. To make things worse, they are letting the opposing team get far too many shorthanded chances too.

After the jump, we’ll look at some of the gruesome details.

In the 13 games the Canes have played this month, they have spent a little over 80 minutes on the powerplay and have generated 39 chances which averages out to about .97 chances per 2 minute powerplay. Brutal. If you think that’s bad then you’re going to love how they’ve allowed 12 shorthanded chances in 13 games. The Hurricanes are constantly squandering away powerplay opportunities by doing next to nothing with their powerplay time and giving chances to the other team. This is also an area where the team’s top players are struggling, especially the forwards.

Forwards

Player PP TOI CF CA CF/2min.
Chad LaRose 32.11 21 2 1.308
Alexei Ponikarovsky 31.12 20 1 1.28535
Jussi Jokinen 31.59 20 4 1.26622
Jeff Skinner 46 20 10 0.86957
Eric Staal 48.15 20 10 0.83074
Tuomo Ruutu 36.48 15 4 0.82237
Zach Boychuk 6.583 2 0 0.60763
Jiri Tlusty 5.06 1 1 0.39526
Brandon Sutter 7.13 1 1 0.2805

Only three forwards are performing above the team average (.97) and they are all usually part of the second powerplay unit. After looking at this data, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that LaRose, Poni & Jokinen have scored five of the six Carolina powerplay goals this month. They haven’t played as many minutes but they are creating more chances than the top unit has thus far. Staal and Skinner have created the saem amount of chances as Poni and Jokinen only they have gotten a lot more powerplay time. Also note how those two have given up half as many powerplay chances as they have created. That just isn’t going to cut it. Staal’s performance at even strength has gotten better but his powerplay efficiency has taken a nose-dive. It’s a little odd because it was the exact opposite earlier in the season.

Defensemen

Defense PP TOI CF CA CF/2min.
Justin Faulk 14.17 10 1 1.41143
Jay Harrison 27.38 15 3 1.09569
Joni Pitkanen 15.5 8 3 1.03226
Tomas Kaberle 49.36 23 7 0.93193
Jamie McBain 37.36 16 8 0.85653
Derek Joslin 12.42 4 1 0.64412
Bryan Allen 1.583 0 0 0
Tim Gleason 2.23 0 0 0

Zero powerplay goals from the defense so far in November and, like the forwards, there are only three d-men performing above the team average. Add in the fact that only one of them as been with the team for the entire month and you’ve got yourself an ugly picture. Jamie McBain and Tomas Kaberle have to perform a lot better than they’ve performed this month. McBain is another player who has surrendered half as many powerplay chances as he’s created and Kaberle’s chances are inflated a bit because he’s getting a lot of ice time. I think it’s safe to say that he could be doing a lot better than this even if he is creating chances. However, I also believe that he’s a far better option than Joslin and sitting him would be a bad move. Justin Faulk has been very good in his short time here, though. I’ll wait to see how his numbers look after a few more games before I make any judgments, though. Jay Harrison’s emerging as an offensive threat from a blue line and while he’s performing only a little better than the team average, he’s been the team’s most consistent performer on the powerplay this month. Still deciding on whether or not that’s a good thing.

So there you have it. The guys who are supposed to be top performers on the powerplay are struggling big time while other players are stepping up, but that hasn’t nearly been enough. If the Canes powerplay is going to get back on track, Skinner, Staal, Kaberle and McBain are going to need to play a hell of a lot better than they did this month. As a closing note, I just want to say get well soon Joni Pitkanen.

 

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