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Penguins Need to Simplify to Improve Power Play

The Pittsburgh Penguins need to improve their power play, and making things simple is the best option.

On paper, the Pittsburgh Penguins should have one of the most unstoppable power play units in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang is enough to make any opposing penalty kill shutter, but somehow the Penguins struggle with the man advantage.

This isn’t some kind of new problem, either; the Penguins have struggled to find a steady power play since Phil Kessel departed in 2019.

Through 11 games of the 2022-23 season, the Penguins power play has already looked flat with nine goals on 42 opportunities.

Again, looking at the names that fly over the boards every time the opposing team takes a penalty, how do they only reach a 21.43 success rate?

The easy answer, that fans love reminding players of, is that they aren’t shooting it enough.

It might be annoying to hear fans shout from the stands to simply shoot the puck, but they might be on to something.

Head coach Mike Sullivan says that an easy way to turn around certain parts of the game is to just play simple.

“I think we need to shoot the puck more, in general,” Sullivan said. “Whenever any aspect of your offensive game struggles, I think part of the solution is always to simplify.”

While the Kraken pose a good test for the Penguins’ struggling group of penalty killers, the same Kraken can also be an opportunity for the Penguins power play.

With a percentage of 71.79, the Kraken rank 28th in the NHL in killing penalties; the Penguins and their power play unit that features two first ballot Hall of Famers should take advantage of that.

"With our top guys, I've always believed they've been at their best when we have a shot mentality," Sullivan said. "We think shoot first. We put pucks on net, the rebound goes somewhere, it forces the decision making on our opponents."

Sullivan wants his units to simplify their game and just get shots on net.

There is enough skill on the Penguins power play that they should never look mediocre, and all it takes is making things simpler on themselves.

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