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Pens Alter Power Play Look

Thursday, 04.12.2012 / 2:19 PM / 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Sam Kasan
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Pens Alter Power Play Look
The Penguins power play had a new look at practice Thursday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center.


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The Penguins experimented with a number of different variations on the man-advantage, but the most prominent move was returning Steve Sullivan to the point, a position he played the majority of the season, alongside defenseman Kris Letang.

Up front the Penguins had Chris Kunitz in his usual net-front position while Evgeni Malkin was along the halfwall. In the first portion of drills Sidney Crosby and James Neal swapped spots.

“We tried some different looks,” Neal said. “We’re always trying different looks and doing different things on the power play. It’s something we put a lot of emphasis on and we’ve got to be better in that area. Special teams is going to win you games and create momentum for your team.”

Pittsburgh also used Paul Martin and Crosby at times on the point with Cooke, Staal and Kennedy working up front. On occasion Martin and Sullivan worked the points and Crosby rotated up front.

The gist of it all is that the Penguins were working with a lot of different approaches with a lot of different personnel.

“We went with a couple different looks and people in different spots on our power play for that type of situation,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We’ll continue to look for that as we go forward.”

The Penguins are even considering putting together essentially two No. 1 power plays and splitting their time to one minute each.

“We want to use two units that can go out and play a minute and get us going,” Letang said. “You don’t want to give them life. When you don’t set up and aren’t in their zone creating chances it’s tough to get momentum. We need to work on it and make sure we put pressure on these guys.”

The Penguins went 0-for-3 on the power play in Game 1.  Each time they had a chance to extend their lead, but came away without a goal.

“We could have put the game away with a power-play goal,” Letang said. “The power play needs to do a better job, that’s the reason we practiced it this morning. We have to learn from that, work on it and make sure we do the right things next game.”

Sullivan has been the Penguins’ pointman on the power play all season. One area that he’s really excelled at is puck entry, whether carrying himself or finding the right outlet pass to allow Pittsburgh to break into the offensive zone.

“(Sullivan’s) played there all year,” Sidney Crosby said. “He’s shown that he’s pretty comfortable there and can make plays. He’s a smart player. He distributes the puck well. I think he brings all of that to the power play. He’s pretty familiar with that area.”

“We need to make sure we get some clean entries. We need make sure we have as much zone time as we can,” Sullivan said. “We haven’t had too much trouble getting the puck in the zone in the regular season. I think we’re just trying to get back to that.”
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