Muller: Nerves a factor in ailing PP

Posted by Chip Alexander on November 20, 2013 

Canes coach Kirk Muller said there's a change that needs to be made to improve an ailing power play -- more an attitude adjustment than on-ice adjustment.

"We've got to get some guys who aren't afraid to make plays," he said Wednesday. "I think right now we've got some nervous guys who are not simplifying the power play and are just not able to execute."

Trailing the Boston Bruins 2-1 on Monday, the Canes had a 5-on-3 power play for 63 seconds and managed just one shot -- a one-timer by Chris Terry from the slot with one second left in the two-man advantage. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask easily handled that one.

"On the 5-on-3, one guy doesn't do his job and it doesn't work," Muller said.

In Wednesday's practice, Muller had Eric Staal working with Nathan Gerbe, Jeff Skinner, Terry and defenseman Ryan Murphy on one power-play unit. That's a different look, although Skinner has not yet be completely cleared to play.

Muller also has used defensemen Ron Hainsey and Andrej Sekera on the power play at times, banking on their experience, trying to find the right fit.

The Canes have scored four power-play goals in the past 12 games, going 4-for-41 overall. They're 1-for-21 in the past seven games, although they do have a 4-2-1 record in those games.

"At the end of the day we have to execute during the games like we do in practice," Muller said. "We look great in practice. You have to have confidence you can do the same thing you did in practice in a game and get the job done.

"But we have to simplify it. We're just not playing with authority on it. We need some guys to settle down and just run the plays. … When we ad-lib and do individual stuff and want to be the guy who takes control in the right way, it doesn't work."

With the Canes now having played 21 games, Muller said it's time for some hard-and-fast decisions on power-play personnel.

"It's not always going to be the top five guys that are going to be on the power play," he said. "We've got to make some adjustments and we've got to get production from it."

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