As Senators head into Game 3 against the Habs, the power play is a concern

A big problem for the Ottawa Senators in this playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens has been their power play.
It was unsuccessful in two chances in the first game, a 4-2 win, and unsuccessful in four chances in the second game, a 3-1 loss.
This continues a trend which saw the power play sink as the regular season played out. It finished 20th, with an efficiency rate of 15.9 per cent.
It is, of course, a concern to coach Paul MacLean.
“We’re working diligently at it but we’re still hitting road blocks,” he said on Saturday
“I think the big thing for me is that we don’t shoot the puck enough, we’re too stagnant, and we’re too predictable in what we do, and we’re going to continue to work hard to improve that.
“I think our power play has got marginally better in the playoff games with Erik Karlsson on it. I think that’s made a big difference.
“But still, we need production. (Friday night) we could have really used some production in the first period when we had three power plays.
“We didn’t generate any goals, obviously, but we had some opportunities.
“But consistently we need to be more of a threat, at least gain momentum when we have the power play.
“It’s a concern. We need the power play to chip in.”
Part of the problem is that three key players on the first power-play unit have missed significant amounts of time through injury: Karlsson, Milan Michalek, and Jason Spezza, who is still out and no closer to returning.
“As we went on through the season with the loss of Milan, Jason, and Erik, over time you’re going to feel that affect, and the place you’re going to feel it obviously is on the power play, because your skilled players who excel in that part of (the game) were not there,” said MacLean.
“We were able to keep it going for awhile, but over a long chunk of time the loss of that skill I think eroded it to the point where it becomes harder to do and becomes more predictable, and that’s what it’s become.
“Now we have Milan healthy again, and we have Erik back, so I think it’s starting to go the other way.
“I may be kind of fooling myself with rose-coloured glasses when I say that, but I do know that we’re working at it, and at some point in time we’ll get something out of it.”
To add insult to injury, the Canadiens have had six short-handed shots through the two games, which also dismays MacLean.
“We have to take care of the puck better than we are,” he said.
Captain Daniel Alfredsson said the players have to bear down, because it’s important that the power play at least give the team a lift.
“There’s no secret,” he said.
“We’re going to try to get shots and bodies in front. We’ve had a couple of good looks, but it hasn’t been consistent enough for us.
“I believe, especially on the road, it is important to have the power play kind of give you a spark.
“(Friday) we had our chances in the second period right before they scored, and if we score it could have made a difference in the game.”

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