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Stars look to resuscitate power play

by Steve Hunt /
DALLAS -- As the Dallas Stars start the month of December, they do so on one streak they'd rather not have. Glen Gulutzan's club is on an 0-for-21 run on the power play and hasn't scored with the extra man since the second period of a loss at Detroit on Nov. 12, a span of eight games.

Of course, the Stars have lost key personnel off that unit in the past month, guys like point man Alex Goligoski, captain Brenden Morrow and Trevor Daley. And having a rotating cast of personnel has definitely contributed to their current lack of scoring with the man advantage.

When Dallas hosts Ottawa on Thursday at American Airlines Center, the Stars will look to put their lack of punch on the power play to a quick end.

"We have to start creating those second chances. We have to shoot the puck and make sure we have guys at the net," Gulutzan said. "Ottawa's a fairly aggressive penalty kill, so I think it comes down to work. I think tonight's a different animal. We watched their PK and they're very aggressive."

The Dallas coach admits he has even considered loading up his top power-play unit with his best personnel, but adds that it's not time to completely panic about his club's current deficiencies in that area -- at least not yet.


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"Yeah, I've thought about it for sure. You always need a net presence," Gulutzan said. "We're not at the panic point yet. There are dry spells and we're in one of them. It takes one of those hard-work goals to get out of it and kind of give your power play some confidence."

One regular member of the Stars' power play has been veteran defenseman Stephane Robidas, who agrees that it's not time to panic. All he and his teammates need to do is stay the course and the streak will take care of itself.

"Get more pucks on net, shoot the puck, get some traffic and get some ugly goals," Robidas said. "Fancy plays are tough to make. PKs are very aggressive and they don't give you a chance, so you've got to just bring pucks to the net. Successful power plays in the League, they do that. They bring pucks to the net and hope for a rebound."

Toby Petersen has been another regular on the Dallas power play over the last month and he feels the streak is something that is about to meet a quick end.

"It'll come to an end soon. It has to," Petersen said. "I think the thing we need to do to make sure that happens is get the pucks to the net. I don't think there's enough of that right now. It is a focus, but we can do an even better job of that."

Dallas has a bit of momentum heading into Thursday night's game after an impressive 3-1 win over Colorado on Monday night at the Pepsi Center. The Stars will be without Morrow and Daley again, as both are slated to miss the next few games but could be available for a long road trip beginning next Thursday.

The Stars are 8-3-1 at home so far this season and fell to Toronto in overtime last Friday in their last game on home ice. Ottawa is 6-6-1 on the road and enters fresh off a 6-4 win at Winnipeg on Tuesday night.

One interesting side story for tonight's contest is the history between Ottawa center Jason Spezza and Dallas center Steve Ott, who were teammates in junior hockey with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires.

"Absolutely, it'll be fun for sure," Ott said. "We have a lot of great history together and a lot of years together as well. Anytime you get to face a friend on the ice, you always want to have the better half for bragging rights but it's definitely going to be fun to see him out there."
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