PHILADELPHIA – While the Flyers have only recently been reviving their play with an extra many, their Monday night opponent from across the Commonwealth has been getting a bitter taste of what life is like with a lifeless power play.
The Penguins entered into play against the Flyers having gone only 1 for 18 over their prior eight games on the man-advantage. It had gotten to the point that Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was going to return to a more basic PP alignment, using two defensemen behind part of his usual assortment of talented, if struggling, forwards.
“It’s getting back to those basic habits and fundamentals of the power play,” Sidney Crosby said Monday. “Not forcing things. … I think that has to be the mindset here.”
To make matters worse for the Penguins, when they’ve been on the power play without two defenders on it they’ve been more culpable – Pittsburgh leads the league with 12 shorthanded goals allowed.
“We’ve given up a lot on the power play,” Crosby said. “Not having two D back there, I think probably has something to do with it. Whoever’s out there, we know what we have to do. It’s a matter of going out there and executing.”
As for the anticipated standard power play alignment, Sullivan said of his units, “With two D, they have a framework, and we certainly still have instinctive players on both units if we choose to go that route.”
Through two periods of their game against the Flyers, the Penguins had one lifeless power play, with no shots at Flyers goalie Carter Hart. That extended their streak to 1 for 19 at that point. As for the Flyers, they had a much worse time, going oh for 3 in power plays in those first two periods, though that included a should-have-been goal by Nolan Patrick that wasn’t awarded because a referee blew a premature whistle.
NOTES >> Evgeni Malkin returned after missing the previous five games. Malkin assisted on Nick Bjugstad’s second-period goal, as did Phil Kessel, who hadn’t registered a point in his previous four games. … Sullivan on Malkin: “He just helps in so many areas. The power play is just one aspect of it. He’s a dynamic offensive player. He’s a threat most times he goes over the boards, whether it’s 5 on 4 or even strength. He just makes our team that much harder to play against.”
Source:: Daily times