How switching Miro Heiskanen’s role allowed the Stars’ power play to reach elite levels

As the Stars have rode a five game winning streak up the Western Conference standings entering December, they’ve done so on the backs of their special teams, particularly a power play that’s among the game’s best.

Dallas enters Thursday’s home game against Columbus on a six game home win streak and with wins in seven of its last eight games overall since a players-only meeting on Nov. 10 following a loss to Nashville. Its goal differential is finally positive. It clings to a playoff spot currently.

The Stars power play has hovered near the top of the NHL all season, but there’s a very good argument that Dallas’ power play is only behind Edmonton’s star-studded unit in productivity. On the season, Dallas has scored 10.18 goals per 60 minutes, good for fourth in the league.

But that includes the first six games of the season, when Jason Robertson was hurt and John Klingberg missed time, too. Since Oct. 27, when both players were in the lineup, the Stars have scored 11.76 goals per 60 minutes on the power play, the second-best rate in the league.

Stars assistant coach Derek Laxdal is in charge of the power play, and has (outside of injuries) kept the two power play units the same throughout the season. In the offseason, he reviewed video from the 2020 postseason and the 2020-21 regular season to diagnose which players played the best together on the power play.…

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