There's not much to complain about when your team is 3-1-1 through five games, but in the Detroit Red Wings' case there's a glaring hole that needs filling: the power play.â†µ
Detroit has just four goals in 24 opportunities this season and spent nearly all of Monday's practice trying to work out the kinks.â†µ
"We're too predictable," Tomas Holmstrom said. "We have to move the puck instead of just holding on, holding on, and they can just read what is going to happen. We just have to make it simple and more go by instinct. You know, we have set plays, but just make them faster."â†µ
Johan Franzen played with Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk while Henrik Zetterberg was paired with Todd Bertuzzi and Jiri Hudler/Valtteri Filppula. Usually, Holmstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg comprise the first unit and Bertuzzi, Franzen and Hudler make up the second. Coach Mike Babcock is determined to make further changes if the current lineup doesn't get the job done.â†µ
"If it doesn't get going, we're going to have to change the units," coach Mike Babcock said. "You can't keep doing the same thing if it doesn't work. The best power play is when you shoot it and go get it back, and you shoot it and you get it back, and you shoot it and get it back. We got 40 shots on 24 power plays. By my math, that's 1.66 shots a power play."â†µ
Last year, an injury-riddled Red Wings squad still managed to kick out a 19.2 percent success rate on the power play, and two years ago Detroit led the league at 25.5 percent. This season Detroit is managing just 16.7 percent so far. It's way too soon to start seriously worrying about this, but if this trend carries into November it could become a major issue down the road.