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Penguins not worried about power play entering Game 2 vs. Senators

Pittsburgh believes it has players, plan to cure ailing man advantage

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

PITTSBURGH -- If forward Patric Hornqvist's one-timer early in the first period Saturday goes an inch or two to the right and misses the left post, nobody is trying to break down why the Penguins power play couldn't score on five chances in Game 1 and why it hasn't scored on 10 chances in the past three games.

"Exactly," Penguins forward Jake Guentzel said. "It's just one shot."

But Hornqvist did hit the post with his one-timer during a 5-on-3 at 5:22 of the first period and the Penguins did not score on the 10 shots on goal they had on their five power plays. Couple that with the fact that they lost 2-1 in overtime to fall behind 1-0 in the best-of-7 series and now you know why their power play is a topic of discussion going into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators at PPG Paints Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports), 

"I thought, and as I said to our group [Sunday] and this morning when we showed them some examples, when our power play is at its best there is a lot of movement, there is motion, movement of the puck and movement of people," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's no secret. That's something we've talked about for a long time. I think that's what makes our power play as good as it is. When it's at its best is the instinctive play that comes off of that and I thought we just got a little bit stagnant.

 

[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Senators series coverage]

 

"We've gone through in the past where that's happened. We usually address it and the players respond. I thought we had some quality discussions over the last two days and hopefully the guys will get an opportunity on it tonight and I know they'll be better."

Center Evgeni Malkin said one possible adjustment for the power play is to move the puck below the goal line and try to run it from there through center Sidney Crosby.

Malkin and forward Phil Kessel had some trouble making plays with the puck on the walls against the Senators' penalty killers, who aggressively pressured them and defenseman Justin Schultz up top. It led to Ottawa being able to force the puck free and clear the zone.

"We need the extra pass," Malkin said. "They play three guys on top and we control the puck on top. We need to play a little bit lower, pass to Sid and [Hornqvist] below the goal line, maybe sometimes behind the net. Something new because [we] always play the triangle with me, Schultz and Phil, and they know. They play close to us and Sid and [Hornqvist] are open low. We need to use Sid and [Hornqvist] more. Something different."

Guentzel said that's something his power-play unit, featuring himself, forwards Nick Bonino and Conor Sheary, and defensemen Olli Maatta and Chad Ruhwedel, might try to use in Game 2.

"We watched video on it and we think we found a way," Guentzel said. "We have to execute and make some plays out there."

Sullivan was asked about the concept of running the power play from the goal line Monday but instead of divulging any potential tactics the Penguins might use during Game 2, he said there are plays to be made and it's about executing to make them.

That typically hasn't been a problem for the Penguins. They were 25.0 percent on the power play (8-for-32) in their first 10 playoff games. They were third on the power play during the regular season at 23.1 percent.

"We did look at film and we have some ideas on some of the adjustments that we think we need to make, but certainly we've got a capable group here," Sullivan said. "They generated a fair amount of scoring chances [during Game 1]. We hit a post. So sometimes just because the power play doesn't score doesn't mean it necessarily wasn't effective. We try to have a fair assessment with our group and let them know if that's the case.

"Some of the power plays were very good and there were a number of quality scoring chances. We didn't convert and that's ultimately what we'd like to do. We think that this group is very capable. It's been a great power play for us all year. It's been a great power play for us through the course of this playoffs and we know it will continue to be."

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