Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Giants have to show their power

By Stuart McKinley

Doug Christiansen is doing his utmost to ensure that his Belfast Giants players make the most of numerical advantage as he prepares for what promises to be an epic trilogy against the Nottingham Panthers.

The Giants should have been looking forward to a weekend off, but the postponement of a pre-Christmas encounter with the Panthers means that the teams will go head-to-head three times in just over a week, starting on Friday in Nottingham.

Christiansen is frustrated over the lack of goals his team has scored on powerplays in recent games and he is placing a great amount of importance on that aspect of his team as they prepare to take on the Panthers.

“Our powerplay at the moment is struggling and it really hurts when you have so many games in a row because you do not have time to work on it and practice it,” said Christiansen.

“We made a couple changes before the Hull game and we generated a number of chances.

“We hit the post a couple times, but we need to hit the net.

“Needless to say, it is the area of our team that needs the most improvement.”

One thing that has pleased Christiansen is the timing of goaltender Stephen Murphy’s first shut-out of the season.

The Scotsman blanked the Hull Stingrays on Sunday as the Giants recorded a 2-0 win at the Odyssey Arena to end a run of three home defeats in the post-Christmas period.

“It was great to see Stephen Murphy get a shut-out,” said Christiansen.

“He is our most important player and it is great for him to build his confidence before the Nottingham games coming up.”

The Panthers are currently fourth in the Elite League, six points adrift of the Giants, but they have three games in hand and wins in those would take them level with Christiansen’s men.

Second placed Sheffield and third placed Cardiff are three points behind with games in hand.

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