November 27, 2010
The Florida Panthers enter their game at the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight with a power-play conversion rate of 6.8 percent. Which means there's a better chance you'll win by betting three consecutive numbers on a roulette table than the Panthers scoring a power-play goal this season.
The Panthers have had 74 power-play chances this season and have scored five goals; 36 of those chances have been on home ice, resulting in three goals, and 29 have been on the road, where they scored the other two.
(Oddly, the Panthers are neither the worst power-play team at home nor on the road. The Columbus Blue Jackets are converting at a 5.7 percent rate at home, while the hapless New Jersey Devils are a pathetic 2.3 percent on the road.)
How bad is the Panthers' power play? Let us count the ways ...
Florida was 0-for-3 in its loss to the New York Rangers on Friday night, and The Rat Trick had seen enough futility with the Panthers up a man:
They have now lost five of their last seven, and have scored 5 goals in those seven losses. The powerplay continued its futility with the Panthers unable to capitalize on five chances. Including what started out as a four minute advantage with a high sticking penalty to NHL goofball Sean Avery(notes).
Late in the game head coach Pete DeBoer pulled goaltender Scott Clemmensen(notes) with 3:40 left to go and still nothing. To make matters worse, during one of the man advantages the Panthers gave up a short handed goal, and you could feel the air being let out of the building. Current powerplay now stands at zero for 33.
The perpetrators? Here's are the top players on the Panthers in power-play ice time:
And here are the few, the proud, the Panthers with a power-play point:
No mysteries here: David Booth(notes) doesn't have a power-play goal in 21 games despite earning the fourth-most ice time. Stephen Weiss(notes) doesn't have one in 20 games. Cory Stillman(notes) doesn't have a power-play point this year despite getting the fifth-most ice time; and despite being a player two years removed from a 21-power-play-point season.
It's on the Panthers' few offensive weapons up front to get these special teams going, according to Florida Coach Pete DeBoer (via On Frozen Pond):
Florida went 0-3 during its holiday homestand after starting the season 5-2-0 in Sunrise. "You best players have to be your best players,'' coach Pete DeBoer said, "and in all three games, we had trouble scoring. Our best players didn't get on the board and we were out-goaltended in all three. It's tough to win games when that happens.''
If it's any consolation, and we know it isn't, the Panthers don't simply have the worst power play in the NHL; they may have the worst power play in the world of hockey. A quick glance at other leagues:
Worst Power-Play Percentage (AHL): Albany Devils, 10.0% (9 goals, 87 chances)
Worst Power-Play Percentage (ECHL): Tie between Toledo Walleye (8-83) and Bakersfield Condors (7-73), 9.6%
Worst Power-Play Percentage (CHL): Bloomington 14.06%
Worst Power-Play Percentage (KHL): Severstal, 12.0% (22-183)
By the way, we completely understand that pointing out the dramatic shortcomings of the Florida power play will result in their scoring five times with the man advantage against the Lightning. So apologies, in advance, to Bolts fans for the hockey karma ...