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Penguins power play is as bad as it looks

February 2, 2021, 12:36 PM ET [145 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Penguins played one of their better overall games of the season and got quality goaltending and still found a way to lose 3-1 to the last place Rangers. Pittsburgh was supposed to have quick turnaround to play New Jersey tonight, but they have COVID issues and it has been postponed. The Thursday game has also been postponed. The Penguins stayed in New York City last night due to weather and will have a practice at MSG today. That practice should be entirely on the power play. It is an abomination. Mike Sullivan needs to go Herb Brooks on them today and just make them do repetition after repetition.

The power play went 0 for 6 last night. They are 23rd in the league at 13.9% and remember that includes Crosby batting the puck out of the air on Carter Hart with ten seconds left in the power play and Jared McCann’s wrist shot from the left corner that went off the Rangers goalie’s foot. They cannot move the puck at all. They have no clear objectives and it doesn’t look like there is a cohesive plan among the five players out there. They are bad musicians trying to play jazz.

Patric Hornqvist has three power play goals already this year. His absence isn’t the reason the power play stinks. His whole shtick is cleaning up the mess in front. There isn’t a mess to clean up. The Penguins rank horribly at getting pucks to the net. The Penguins are literally the worst team in the NHL in CF/60 on the power play at 71.94 per Natural Stat Trick. They are second to last in scoring chances for per 60. They are little better in high dangers chances per 60 at 24th overall, but that is still remarkably weak considering the talent they have on the power play. This team doesn’t have a ton of scoring depth and neither Crosby nor Malkin has a 5v5 goal this year. If the power play can’t score they are in trouble whether they are defending well or not.

Evgeni Malkin has been frustrating to watch this year. Over the years many people have overreacted to his turnovers not understanding his success rate in trying those kinds of play was heavily in his favor and the occasional gaffe was totally fine. This isn’t the case right now. A lot of these passes that are going for turnovers make no sense as far as risk reward is concerned. He isn’t even trying to finesse things into a high-danger area. A lot of these are just mindless. He’s never strung together a sample like this. Something is going on in how he is processing things out there. All of that said he did lead the team in CF% last night and had an assist on the Penguins only goal so as bad as he looks he was still more productive than many.

So Sidney Crosby tried something really cool and really smart last night

This was very bittersweet for me to watch. On the one hand I as ecstatic to see Sid creatively apply his amazing skill set and do so in a situation that called for it. On the other hand it is kind of sad 15 years into his career and it is one of the few (maybe only) times he has tried it in the NHL. I think Sid gets too caught up in lame hockey culture here he probably thought that was showing up the opponent or something all these years. Now that the move has gained some steam and other players are doing it perhaps the stigma is gone. If Sid actually used this move more often in his career he should have like 20? 30? lacrosse goals. I know this much, the Penguins should just let him try it five times every power play because what they’re doing now isn’t better. Sid, don’t give up on this move. You could probably have a goal per week with it if you wanted.

Penguins don’t play again until Saturday against the Islanders. They better make the most of this down time.

Thanks for reading!
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