When the Senators go away, the boys love to 'power' play

There is an extreme discrepancy between the Ottawa Senators' power-play performance as visitors compared to when they're at home, and it's a problem that could keep them out of a playoff spot.

Road power play leads the NHL, while home power play is among the league's worst

Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson, left, celebrates his power-play goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with Clarke MacArthur, who also scored on the power play later in the game. (The Associated Press)

When it comes to the power play, the Ottawa Senators are much better jetsetters than they are homebodies.

Their current four-game road trip began with a win in Washington that included a power-play goal and a perfect penalty kill. A perfect penalty kill and two more power-play goals followed on Thursday.

Power play

Road: 28.2% (1st)

Home: 11.8% (29th)

Penalty kill

Road: 78.5% (22nd)

Home:: 82% (19th)

They struggled throughout most of the game against Tampa Bay, but still managed to pick up a point in a shoot-out loss thanks to Erik Karlsson and Clarke MacArthur capitalizing with the extra man.

The power play is really a lifeline for the Senators this season and the stats back it up.

The team owns an NHL-best power play on the road scoring at a 28 per cent clip, a big factor as they have picked up points in every road game this month.

Overall this season, the Senators have the fewest regulation losses on the road among eastern conference teams.

Home power play woes

At the Canadian Tire Centre, it’s a completely different story.

The Senators have the NHL’s second-worst power play at home at just 11.8 per cent and they are currently sitting with as many wins at home as regulation losses.

Jason Spezza, who scored a power-play goal on Tuesday against Washington, leads all Senators forwards with 14 power-play points this season. (The Associated Press)

At the CTC, they lack discipline, spending the second-most time in the NHL killing penalties while on their home rink.

If you look back, penalties have plagued Ottawa since their season-opening road trip took them through a firestorm in California.

The trip featured their toughest opponents — the Sharks, Kings and Ducks — and the Sens were dominated. They were slower and outclassed, but the Sens have improved mightily by taking fewer penalties on the road.

At home, it remains a serious issue that could prevent them from playing for the Stanley Cup.

As of Friday morning, there were 10 teams within seven points of each other in the eastern conference, fighting for five playoff spots.

The Senators are currently tied with the Detroit Red Wings, sitting two points out of the final wildcard spot. Consider the fact Ottawa is one of the hottest teams in the NHL and they're still on the outside looking in.

It's an uphill battle and it will be a tight, difficult race after the Olympic break.

The power play at home needs to be faster and sharper. If so, this team will surely be playing in late April.