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Power-play shortage dims Stars' outlook

After Game 5 loss to Blues, Dallas facing elimination at 1-for-16 in series

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- If the Dallas Stars hope to extend the Western Conference Second Round series against the St. Louis Blues, a best-of-7 that St. Louis leads 3-2, Dallas will need its power play to start scoring.

The Stars lost Game 5 4-1 on Saturday at American Airlines Center, and their power play was 0-for-2, making it 1-for-16 in the series. In a six-game first-round win against the Minnesota Wild, Dallas was 4-for-19.

Dallas scored on 22.1 percent of its power plays during the regular season, fourth-best in the NHL.

The Stars didn't get their first power-play Saturday until 4:38 into the third period when Blues captain David Backes was called for holding with Dallas trailing 3-1.

"It was a good time of the game to get one obviously," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "[We] just didn't create enough, we weren't able to get real clean looks. It was kind of a little scrambly. We seemed like as the puck wasn't going where we wanted it to go, we were bouncing around a little bit. Obviously, we've got to be a little better there."

The Stars generated three shots on two power plays in Game 5. But Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said it boiled down to simple puck luck.

"The pass that went down to [Jamie] Benn jumped over his stick," Ruff said. "Then the pass comes up to [Jason] Spezza and it jumped over his stick. For me, that's bad luck. Then you've got to regroup twice, and by that time, you almost have to change. There we had a real good look back door with [Ales] Hemsky and it went off the end of his stick on the second half of the one power play."

Dallas is 1-for-22 at home in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In a 3-2 overtime win in Game 4 at Scottrade Center on Thursday, Patrick Sharp scored the Stars' lone power-play goal of this series, ending a 0-for-12 start.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm4: Sharp slips PPG past Elliott

Sharp is one of four Stars with a power-play goal this postseason, a group that does not include Benn, who this season scored 17 power-play goals, second in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals (19).

Patrick Eaves, out the past four games with a leg injury sustained in Game 1, leads Dallas with two power-play goals in the playoffs.

Benn has three games without a point in this series, including two at home.

"There's not too much [frustration with the power play]," Benn said. "We've just got to go out there as a group of five and try to make a difference."

Goligoski said the Blues deserve credit for having a penalty kill that ranked third in the NHL at 85.1 percent this season.

"They're a good penalty-killing team," Goligoski said. "Their forwards do a lot for them on the penalty kill as far as pressuring, having good sticks and being in the right spots. I think what we're seeing is they're really pushing to the outside. We've got to be able to find those little places in the middle of the ice and make them work a little harder there."

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