*Issues that plagued the Penguins late last season showed up in their regular season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers.
When looking back at Thursday night’s loss, many will point to the Penguins power play struggles and their inability to capitalize early into the game.
With the momentum of opening up in a new arena, Pittsburgh came out of the gates with several scoring chances in the 1st period but we’re unable to get one by Sergei Bobrovsky.
If Paul Martin buries that wide open net just minutes into the game, we’re probably looking at a different result.
*The Penguins were 1-for-5 on the power play and their no. 1 unit struggled and was stagnant for the most part. The players talked all week about being more aggressive and getting shots to the net. Neither of that happened in the loss.
Pittsburgh managed just 4 power play shots in just over 9 minutes of power play time.
What there needs to be from the Penguins is more urgency and that goes for the players and coaches. When it comes to on-ice work, the Penguins spent little time working on the power play leading into Thursday’s game.
The only day the Penguins did extensive work on the man-advantage this week was Tuesday and it was the first time in that all 5 regulars were a unit.
Players told me this week the lack of on-ice work wasn’t concerning as there’s been more of a focus on off-ice meetings.
Dan Bylsma talked after Thursday’s morning skate about giving a handful of players an opportunity to be that “front-net presence” on the power play.
The Penguins power play was most effective when Eric Tangradi (2 shots, 11:40 TOI) was with the top-unit, using his large frame to cause havoc in front of the net and win battles on the wall. Tangradi though only had 2:36 of ice time on the power play.
Where the Penguins have issues right now is with their pointmen. Kris Letang is not ready to lead a power play as mental mistakes remain a problem and Alex Goligoski remains too slow with his puck movement.
*Don’t bury Tyler Kennedy ( 1 goal, 3 shots, +3 rating) on the depth chart just yet. Kennedy who battled extremely hard in camp, was the Penguins best forward against Philadelphia.
From the start of the game he was making things happen, effective on the forecheck and when Kennedy’s at his best, he’s patient with the puck in the offensive zone and that’s what you saw tonight. He was impressive tonight.
*Paul Martin was very active in the offensive zone, jumping up into the play and seemed to be around the puck all game. He picked his spots well and that was good to see.
Defensively though he’s still getting a grasp of things as he was on the ice for two goals.
*What we learned tonight is that Eric Godard does not have a role on this team. Even with Arron Asham out of the game, Godard did not dress and a factor in Godard not playing was because of Deryk Engelland being in the lineup.
*Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby had a total of 9 shifts together, including 4 in the third period. With Malkin moving to the wing, 6-10 shifts a game together is what we’re going to see on regular basis.