I know that early-season statistical analysis is a dangerous game but in the world of hockey, what isn’t dangerous?
Well, what isn’t dangerous at all would be the St. Louis Blues Power Play and in all actuality, it is horrible.
It’s probably too early to say the Blues are bad with the man advantage. But it’s not too early to say there are trends suggesting the Blues are bad with the man advantage. The Blues have had 36 powerplay opportunities this season. On those opportunities they’ve put 40 shots on goal, yet only scored three times. That’s left them with a power play percentage of 8.3, the worst in the league.
Nobody’s really sure how this came to be, especially considering St. Louis had the NHL’s 10th-best powerplay a year ago. One thing that is certain is that losing Andy McDonald to a concussion hurt, as he led the team in PP points last season. Their slumping forwards hurt, like Chris Stewart. And the aforementioned shots on goal total hurts, because averaging one shot per powerplay is brutal.
Blues’ Head Coach Davis Payne told NHL.com, “I think early on, there was some execution that didn’t get in the net and then all of the sudden, we kind of got ourselves spun into a number of different situations where the unit’s changing and Andy [McDonald’s] out, and now all of a sudden, we have trouble getting the puck in the zone. I don’t think that’s as much of an issue now. Now you see teams really coming at us because they know we haven’t scored a bunch of power-play goals.”
The Blues better work on the PP situation tonight against the Canucks. While the Canucks are one of the many teams that prevented St. Louis from scoring on the power play this year, the Blues did whip Vancouver 3-0 last time out. One guy to watch tonight? Alex Steen. The noted Canuck killer (11pts in 15 career games vs. Vancouver) leads all Blues in goals this year and is averaging 2:18 of PP time per game.
There are other teams that are lacking on the PP; but the Blues are in the spotlight of having the worst in the league and not one team wants to be known for it. The Blues better step their game up if they want the man-advantage to pay off this season.