Penguins work on power play in preparation for Game 3
Goalie Matt Murray did a double take when asked about the Penguins' power play after Saturday's practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, reminding a reporter that he was asking the wrong guy.
“I'm no power-play specialist myself,” Murray said, “but we've got the best group in the league.”
Not to mention the most efficient in franchise history. After setting a club record with a 26.2 percent success rate this season, the Penguins are just 1 for 8 (12.5 percent) with the man advantage against the Flyers in their Stanley Cup first-round series.
Where the Flyers went 2 for 3 on the power play in the 5-1 Game 2 victory Friday night at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins were 0 for 4, registering only three shots on net.
“We have some ideas that we think can help them,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “But, certainly, having a shooting mindset is important, regardless of where our power play is at. It's an important component of good power plays, establishing a shot. We've had opportunitites to shoot the puck and we've passed them up. So we're going to have to execute better. We're going to have to look to shoot the puck when the opportunities present themselves.”
One example of failure in execution came from captain Sidney Crosby. After scoring a hat trick in Game 1, Crosby missed a point-blank chance from the right post at the end of the second period, with the Penguins trailing, 2-0.
“I had a wide-open net and didn't put it in,” Crosby said, “or we're not talking about the power play.”
The Penguins also blew an opportunity for a five-on-three when Patric Hornqvist was sent to the penalty box for embellishment after drawing a cross-checking penalty on Andrew MacDonald in the third period.
No wonder the Penguins spent roughly half of Saturday's practice, which lasted more than 30 minutes, working on the power play. When it ended, Justin Schultz joined Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Patric Hornqvist in taking a knee on the ice to talk.
“We worked on it a little bit,” Malkin said. “We understand we have great player on the ice. We need to support each other, shoot the puck a little bit more. We had great chances. …
“If we score one goal, the confidence is coming.”