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Hagelin + split power plays

March 12, 2019, 3:58 PM ET [183 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Penguins and Capitals will meet for what should be another exciting game between the two Metropolitan behemoths. The Capitals are currently holding down first place in the division at 89 points. Pittsburgh is at 83 and a regulation win opens the door for a potential late run at a division title. If they can beat the Capitals tonight they will have the Eichel-less Sabres on Thursday.

Today is the first time Carl Hagelin will line up against his former teammates since being traded away earlier in the year. I think the Penguins would have been way better off keeping Hagelin and his anemic offense, but decent forechecking than spinning it into two more years of Erik Gudbranson. In eight games with the Capitals he has a 2.09 points per 60. You could add up his Pittsburgh (0.87) and Los Angeles rates (1.09) and they wouldn’t add up to the Washington rate. The Washington sample is very small, but this shows how awful he was offensively with the other two teams this year.

The Penguins are splitting up the power play units again and it is foolish, again.

If the idea is to limit the shorthanded chances they tried it the other game. Pittsburgh had two defenseman on the ice when they gave up a grade A chance the other way. Just play the best five man unit. This needs to be a strength. There are some simple adjustments that can be made to avoid the puck going the other way.

Penalty killing units are bringing a lot of pressure on the Penguins and forcing the Penguins into poor choices near the blue line. This is how you get flat footed players chasing penalty killers in full stride. The Penguins need to adjust their approach from being a half wall/point power play and defeat that up high pressure by utilizing the goal line. Going from low to high is also a pain for the goaltenders to track the puck. You can beat high pressure by getting pucks on net and having the players down low ready for it. There are ways to turn a team’s pressure against them. I would rather they try those adjustments than to completely change the personnel.

Thanks for reading!
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