Friday, November 19, 2010

Power play stinks, penalty kill thriving

By Jeff

Every Pittsburgh Penguins fan and Pittsburgh media personality knows the Pens power play is terrible. They are 25th in the league with a 12.8 percent success rate. There is no excuse for a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to be that bad on the power play. Yet, the Pens keep doing it.

I'm not a hockey expert, but the problem seems to be the wrong guys are taking the shots. Alex Goligoski is a very talented player with lots of offensive upside. But he should not be the one blasting shots from the point. Even though Kris Letang misses the net a lot of the time, he should be the one shooting from the top. Along those lines, Crosby should not be the one of the half boards. That spot should be reserved for Malkin, who has a great one-timer from that spot. How many times has he scored when it seemed like there was no way the puck could get through? Lots.
I'm so jealous of that beard.

Unlike many, I enjoy the rover strategy they are using. Instead of having guys just stand around, they are always moving. Kunitz is doing a decent job in front of the net, it's just not enough shots are getting to the net. Either the team isn't shooting or the shots are getting blocked. I wish there was some positive to get from this power play, but it's looking like this will be a season-long problem.

On the flip side, the Pens penalty kill has been lights out. They are the fifth-ranked PK in the league with a 88.2 percent kill-rate. Recently, they have pretty much shut down some of the league's best power plays. They prevented the Atlanta Thrashers (fifth in the league) and Vancouver Canucks (second) to notch power play goals, and held the Tampa Bay Stamkos (fourth) to a 5-on-3 goal, while killing another 5-on-3 a few minutes later.

Once again, I'm not a hockey expert, so my analysis on the success of the penalty kill should not be taken very serious. With that being said, the key has been the forwards. Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Max Talbot and Craig Adams have been outstanding. Not only are they killing the penalties well, but they are a dangerous group. If teams aren't careful, they are fully capable of going on the offensive. They currently are tied for the league lead in shorthanded goals with three, and Jordan Staal hasn't even played a game yet.

While having a great penalty kill is making up for a terrible power play, I would feel a lot more confident if the power play started showing some kind of consistency. Well, productive consistency. They need to break away from being consistently bad.

Old 97's - Time Bomb


  1. You know what can fix it? I hear Lemieux is in the best shape of his life.

  2. I think the rover is getting a bad rap because we don't have the right type of player to be effectively using the system. I've heard Madden say many times that the powerplay isn't working because (the obvious) we aren't getting shots to the net, but also because Alex Goligoski is not Scott Niedermayer. Having never really observed Neidermayer on the powerplay I don't really know what he means but somehow it stills makes sense because Gogo is really struggling in that role.

    Also, don't expect Crosby to be leaving the left half boards any time soon. I'm pretty confident he'll have that spot no matter where he plays until he's about 37 years old. It's not just a one-time shot that you're looking for from that position. Lemieux was so good at making a pass from there that had every intention of being put on net by the player who received it. I think the Pens' main problem is just that. They pass around until they think they have a good chance, but they NEVER try to make ONE pass that will create a good scoring chance. It always has to be six or seven passes, which takes up a lot of time and gives the opposition more chances to steal the puck. I refuse to yell SHOOOOOT at a game, but the Pens are really pushing me this year.

  3. I forgot to tie in Zanic's comment. My solution: either get Mario to coach the powerplay or suit him up.

    Go Pens.