At any given moment, the Pittsburgh Penguins on paper should have one of the most electric power play units in the NHL.
Boasting names like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin alone is enough to strike fear in opposing penalty killers, but the Penguins have routinely struggled to score with a man advantage.
Ever since losing their trigger man in Phil Kessel, the power play hasn’t been the same in Pittsburgh.
That trend has already continued into the 2022-23 season and the Penguins power play is in need of an improvement.
Losing Jake Guentzel to an upper-body injury isn’t helpful to the cause, but it may open up an opportunity for the team to go a different direction with their power play design.
When fully healthy, Kris Letang is usually the lone defenseman on the Pens first power play unit with four forwards.
With Guentzel’s injury, now is a good chance to try and use two defenders on the blue line rather than one.
That’s exactly the kind of set up the Penguins have practiced after a horrid game for the first unit in Columbus.
Jeff Petry joined the top unit giving the Penguins a new two defensemen look.
Adding a defender doesn’t fix all of the issues right away, but it can have a positive change for the unit as a whole.
For what it's worth, the Penguins’ power play isn’t down right bad; they have a ton of skill and are one of the best teams at moving the puck.
It’s a matter of getting the smart shots off and keeping the opponents trapped in their zone.
That is exactly the kind of role Petry would fill; the big body guy who can keep pucks deep and play stout defense if need be.
Petry also has the benefit of a booming slap shot that should be a different weapon while a man up.
Zone entries and making the right passes is a whole different animal, but the Penguins utilizing a two defender stance on the power play is a new outlook for a unit that needs improvement.
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