Florida Panthers

Florida Panthers know they must solve power-play woes on road

Florida Panthers right wing Reilly Smith (18), celebrates his goal with defenseman Brian Campbell (51) and center Nick Bjugstad (27) in front of Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) during the third period Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Detroit.
Florida Panthers right wing Reilly Smith (18), celebrates his goal with defenseman Brian Campbell (51) and center Nick Bjugstad (27) in front of Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) during the third period Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015, in Detroit. AP

When at home, the Panthers have one of the best power plays in the NHL, as their 29.2 percent success rate ranks third in the league.

On the road, however, the Panthers have been firing blanks while with the man advantage.

Sunday’s 2-1 overtime win at Detroit came despite little power-play success away from Sunrise.

Florida was 0 for 5 on the power play, including an extended 5-on-3 chance that offered scoring chances but no goals.

“At least we’re good somewhere I guess,” Brian Campbell joked. “We have some work to do. When you get the opportunity to get a power play, sometimes you feel better about things at home. On the road we need to bear down, get more shots instead of too many passes.”

On home ice, the Panthers’ power play has been dangerous as Florida’s 14 goals (on 48 chances) is most of any team in the league.

On the road, however, the Panthers have just three goals in 35 chances as their 8.6 percent rate ranks just above Carolina.

Florida hasn’t scored a road power-play goal since Aaron Ekblad tied up Tampa Bay in the closing minutes of its game on Nov. 14 and has one goal in 12 chances in the past three road games.

“It’s obviously something we have to work on because the power play is so big in this league,’’ Reilly Smith said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we need to be better on the road. I think our power play, overall, is pretty decent.’’

With four more games left on this road trip that continues Tuesday against the Blues, the Panthers know they need special-team goals to have any hope of success.

“I’m not saying it’s bad, but it didn’t click like it usually does,” coach Gerard Gallant said. “We didn’t get enough net traffic down in front, especially in the 5-on-3. The power play has been good for us all year.’’

▪ This is the fourth trip of the season and the Panthers finally started one off in the right way. Florida started its previous three trips (not counting the win in Tampa) with a loss.

A win in St. Louis, which would mark Florida’s first three-game winning streak of the season, won’t come easy.

The Panthers haven’t won at Scottrade Center since 2009, and St. Louis is one of the top teams in the Western Conference.

“This is a tough, tough trip,” general manager Dale Tallon said. “We have five games in a week against very strong opponents. We have to get as many points as we can and this is a good start. It gets tougher as you go along.”

▪ Gallant said scratching veteran center Dave Bolland wasn’t done to “send a message,” but now that Bolland has sat three consecutive games, it appears the Panthers are doing something of the sort.

Bolland, Florida’s highest-paid forward at $5.5 million, has just one goal and four assists in 18 games and was demoted to playing wing on Florida’s fourth line before being benched.

On Monday, Bolland worked on the fourth line at practice.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said Sunday. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Tuesday: Panthers at Blues

When/where: 8 p.m.; Scottrade Center, St. Louis.

TV/radio: FSFL; WQAM (560), WMEN (640).

Series: St. Louis leads 19-7-3.

Scouting report: The Blues will send goalie Jake Allen (11-4-2) to face the Panthers after he made 23 saves in Saturday’s 3-1 win against Columbus. Florida has lost six in a row to the Blues, including in a shootout in Sunrise last February.

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