BREAKING DOWN PENGUINS PK WOES
Rob Scuderi said after Thursday’s 3-2 loss to the Stars, the Penguins penalty kill issues are more individual breakdowns than a system problem. Does that stance hold up?
“I think it’s been a lot of individual breakdowns,” Scuderi said. “Not necessarily a system problem.”
Of the six power play goals the Penguins have allowed through three games, Rob Scuderi and Paul Martin have been on the ice together for five of the six goals against.
At the forefront of the Penguins issues has been struggles with their rotation and teams able to move the puck through the middle of the PK.
Paul Martin normally the Penguins most reliable defensive defenseman, has been caught many times out of his proper lanes.
1. SEGUIN POWER PLAY GOAL VS PENGUINS
The Stars won a clean draw off Brandon Sutter and on the penalty kill your best player has to be your goaltender, especially in the final seconds of a tied game, and as the puck worked around to Jason Spezza, a first pass player, Fleury takes a horrid angle clearly anticipating Spezza taking a shot and Spezza is able to make a clean cross-ice pass through the middle of the PK unit and Seguin buries it to make it a 3-2 game.
Here is Fleury’s positioning as Spezza makes his cross-ice pass to Seguin for the game winning goal. Fleury’s save percentage on the penalty kill is .684.
2. BOZAK POWER PLAY GOAL VS PENGUINS
The Penguins allowed two power play goals Saturday night vs Toronto and breakdowns from Paul Martin and the forwards being “too high” led to both goals. On Tyler Bozak’s third period power play goal, Rob Scuderi makes a failed clearing attempt and the Penguins get caught watching the puck with four players on the left side.
As the puck goes around the boards to Stuart Percy, Martin is caught in no mans land, leaving Bozak alone in front for the goal.
3. LUPUL POWER PLAY GOAL VS PENGUINS
Joffrey Lupul’s power play goal earlier in the game was another situation where the Penguins rotation was late as the Leafs were able to work the puck through the middle of the Penguins PK unit. Martin was a bit late on his rotation as Morgan Reilly found Lupul wide open in front for the tap in goal.
The Penguins ability to defend the slot on the power play has been concerning but for now all signs point to the Penguins issues being more individual breakdowns from some of their most reliable players like Paul Martin.
Power plays are doing a great job at getting the Penguins to run around on the penalty kill as the picture illustrates here where Scuderi and Sidney Crosby are both going towards the puck.