The Penguins held practice Saturday afternoon at Southpointe. All the players were accounted for during the session, and winger Pascal Dupuis skated before practice on his own.
During the practice session the team worked on five-on-five scrimmages and the power play.
The Pens’ power play went two-for-two Friday night in Long Island and is starting to connect for goals the way it had earlier in the season when it was clicking at over 40 percent.
Pittsburgh’s power play has scored four times in its last five opportunities, including a game-winning overtime goal in Montreal to seal a 2-1 win on Jan. 10. Before this recent stretch, the Pens’ power play had only connected for one goal in seven games.
So what’s been the difference from then and the recent success?
“Scoring,” captain Sidney Crosby answered.
“It’s really the difference to be honest,” Crosby added. “If you look at the goals, they’re not necessarily pretty. It’s just a matter of shooting the puck and executing. We’ve done a lot better job of executing in the zone.”
The Pens two power-play scores against the Islanders had two things in common: a lot of puck movement and a lot of action around the net.
The Pens were working on a rush when Chris Kunitz got the puck in the near circle. He fired a quick shot that went off of Jaroslav Halak and then off of the body of Crosby and into the net. On their second power-play goal, the Pens worked the puck around to David Perron above the far circle. He bulleted a shot through a Kunitz screen into the goal.
“We moved around pretty good,” Chris Kunitz said. “Throwing pucks to the net, if they bounce off bodies and go in, they still count. We have to do that to nullify (PK) pressure at first and then make plays after that.”
The coaching staff has tinkered with the power play over the last several weeks and they are finally seeing the results they want.
“We made a couple little changes in the power play as far as the look,” head coach Mike Johnston said. “We generated more early shots. Those are two things we wanted to try to do, a subtle adjustment and getting the shots away quicker.
“You make plays off the shot rather than making plays and waiting for your good shots.”
WORKFLOW The Pens used the following workflow at practice…