With the power play struggling recently, one of Todd McLellan’s alterations was to put Joe Pavelski
alongside Dan Boyle
as a point man on the power play. The change is not revolutionary as Pavelski has been put in the situation prior, as has Patrick Marleau
, but it did provide an immediate impact.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve done it a lot, but I’ve done it every year,” said Pavelski. “It’s fun to get out there and change it up.”
Since most of the power play time will be spent in the offensive zone, there is not a lot for Pavelski to worry about learning with regards to the defensive perspective.
“I’ve been around the power play enough to have an idea what to expect on D,” said Pavelski. “It’s similar to what the forward does.”
“I’ve said before, he is a very astute player,” said McLellan. “He doesn’t have to be told two to three times and he will figure it out on his own. Against Anaheim, they were pressuring high and he went down low.”
Pavelski’s puck carrying ability also adds a special talent to the mix.
“Either (Pavelski or Boyle) can bring it up and it takes the predictability out of the power play,” said McLellan.
Make no mistake, a defenseman is still always the best option as they are best prepared in case of a shorthanded offensive strike, but the extra forward definitely ads some spice to the man advantage situations.
“It’s definitely a different perspective,” said Marleau of Pavelski’s role. “You have everything in front of you.”
There is a little bit of an attacking mindset that the forward can add when placed in the spot.
“The forwards use a shooters mentality and it gives a different look,” said Marleau.
With today’s shot blocking techniques, a shooter’s lane can open and close in a matter of seconds, so the fast release is vital.
“One thing we talk about is if you have a lane, you’ve got to take it,” said Pavelski. “If not, it can shut the power play right down.”
In addition getting the shots through, combining a forward with Dan Boyle
truly has the other club guessing as to what could happen. Initially, it might force a player to be even more careful as the second man back with Boyle being so mobile, but Pavelski says the opposite is the case.
“He makes it easier for me,” said Pavelski. “He handles the puck and makes good decisions. He (pinches) a lot, but it’s not high risk.”
The key part of the move was success was found right away. The power play was crisp all game in the 4-1 against Anaheim and it came up with a tally.
“We accomplished a little getting a goal and having a good game,” said Pavelski.
The Sharks had a little fun at Saturday’s practice as McLellan divided his club up for one-on-one skating drills and a running tally was kept. At the end there was a tie, so the tiebreaker became the teams taking turns shooting at an empty net from the opposite goal line.
The winning tally came from Brad Staubitz whose puck hit one post and crossed the line inside the far goal post.
“That is the most I’ve contributed to this team in a month,” joked Staubitz, who has been on the shelf with an injury.
Even those who lost on the “controversial” goal enjoyed the extra competition.
“It’s always fun,” said Pavelski. “We were playing to win and to not have to skate the next round.”
The roar from the winning club was as loud as a victorious pee wee team.
“Obviously there was some passion so mission accomplished,” said McLellan.
The Sharks will visit Dallas Monday at 5:30 p.m. and it will be on CSN California, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com