Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Can Wonder 'What If' on Power Play Unit Missed a Few Critical Scoring Chances

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Can Wonder 'What If' on Power Play Unit Missed a Few Critical Scoring Chances

Article excerpt

After the Penguins' resounding victory in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Flyers earlier this week, Sidney Crosby pointed out that the team's top power play wasn't quite as sharp as it could have been.

At the time, it seemed like typical Crosby, just being a nitpicking perfectionist after a seemingly flawless performance.

But after the power play's 0-for-4 night in the Penguins' 5-1 Game 2 loss Friday, maybe it was more of an accurate foreshadowing.

The Penguins' power play - the best in the NHL during the regular season - went scoreless on the night, despite being afforded plenty of opportunities to assert itself and to swing momentum away from the Flyers.

The unit generated just four shots on goal in eight minutes of action, a statistic both Mike Sullivan and Justin Schultz pointed to after the game.

"I think we could've shot the puck more, maybe," Schultz said.

"It would've opened up some lanes. We had some good chances, I think. Obviously we've got to capitalize when we get that many opportunities."

It's not necessarily just shooting the puck, either, but making sure that shots - especially those from the point - get through to Flyers goalie Brian Elliott.

"It's extremely important," Schultz said. "We've got to get rebounds for our guys in front there. I've got to do a better job of getting pucks there, opening up lanes for other guys, for sure."

Sullivan also said there were times when poor decision-making made things easy on the Flyers' penalty kill.

"I just think we forced some plays early in the power plays that weren't there, and as a result, they got easy clears because of it," Sullivan said.

The power play's desire to make a big play is understandable, given some of the chances it got at big moments in the game.

The Penguins had three of their four man-advantage opportunities in the second period, when the Flyers were up 2-0.

One goal could have given the Penguins a surge of momentum and would have made their comeback attempt eminently more realistic. …

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