Penguins notebook: Sullivan says power play a matter of momentum
A pair of power-play goals in Tuesday's home win over Ottawa served as the latest evidence of the Penguins' special teams rejuvenation under coach Mike Sullivan.
But Sullivan isn't one to tout numbers as a sign of productivity. He's plenty familiar with the fickle nature of power plays. Stretches in which a team flourishes can give way to a frustrating period in short order.
The Penguins' players know that all too well: Under Mike Johnston, they ranked 27th in the league in power play conversions (15.6 percent) largely because their shooting percentage sat at 10.7 percent.
Since Dec. 14, Sullivan's debut, the Penguins have converted 27.1 percent of their power-play chances, a rate that ranks third in the league during that span of time.
“Right now, for this last little while, they've found the back of the net,” Sullivan said. “My hope is that we continue on that path. I'm confident that those guys can continue to score. But even in the times when we don't score, I think if we play the right way on the power play and we execute, it's going to give our team momentum, and that's going to help us win as well. That's what we've discussed a lot with our guys.”
• Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said he often reviews his previous game's performance on film, if only to scrutinize what went well and what failed. What occurred during Tuesday's win over Ottawa, in which Fleury finished with a season-low 78.0 save percentage and tied a season high with five goals allowed, apparently was not worth revisiting, though. “I know what happened,” Fleury said. “I'm not going to watch. ... Usually I do watch what happened and move on from there. I don't want to be thinking about it for a few days.” The goaltender returned to his usually stifling form at Wednesday's practice and finished the session with a series of one-on-one showdowns with teammates. “There were a lot of shots today, which was nice,” Fleury said. “You try to get back to simple stuff. ... You get back at it and try to forget about it.”
• Even a scorer as prolific as Sidney Crosby is susceptible to the ebbs and flows of confidence that come with scoring streaks and slumps. With six goals in his past four games, the Penguins' captain currently considers almost any time a good one to pull the trigger. “I think you gain confidence when you see it go in,” Crosby said. “I think that, if anything, you just try to shoot more and take advantage of that. ... Every opening you get, you don't pass it up. You take the shot.”