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Pens hoping to continue PP success on road

by Bryanna McDermott / Pittsburgh Penguins

On Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena, a pass from Phil Kessel from the left circle found the stick of Pens captain Sidney Crosby at the right side of the net about a minute into their game against the New York Islanders. 

Crosby slid the puck quickly to Patric Hornqvist diagonally across the slot, who stuffed it behind Isles goaltender Jaroslav Halak to put Pittsburgh up 1-0. 

It was one of those tic-tac-toe plays that was so clean, it looked easy. It also gave the Penguins at least one power-play goal in each of their six home games, something the team hopes to continue on the road as they embark on a lengthy trip that starts in Philadelphia on Saturday before continuing on to California.

"I think we're executing well and we're finishing off our plays," Crosby said after the power play went 2-for-5 on the night in the Pens' 4-2 win. "We're taking the shots that are there. I thought we did a really good job of that even when we didn't score early in the game."

Crosby was especially complimentary of defenseman Justin Schultz, who has been filling in as the quarterback on the first power-play unit in the absence of injured Kris Letang.

"He's a great skater, so he can skate us out of trouble a lot," Crosby said of Schultz. "On the power play, he's got a great shot, he's really mobile on the top, he's able to move across the line and draw guys to him and find shooting lanes. I think his skating, like 'Tanger,' allows him to do a lot for us."

Schultz has been fantastic, as has Kessel - who's been the league's most productive player on the man-advantage. He scored his third power-play goal of the season against the Isles, and is tied for the NHL lead with six power-play points.

"Phil obviously does a great job of getting pucks through," Crosby said. "He showed it again on his goal."

While the Pens are enjoying their power-play success - they're currently tied for sixth in the NHL with a 25 percent conversion rate, behind their rival Flyers - they're hoping to extend that to all aspects of their game as they head to Philadelphia.

"We're confident in each other and we believe in each other," Kessel said. "We have mostly the same guys here, so we just have to keep on playing and trying to get better." 

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