Pens' power play flirting with playoff greatness | Hockey | CBC Sports

Playoffs 2013Pens' power play flirting with playoff greatness

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 | 10:28 PM

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Penguins forwards Chris Kunitz, left, and Evgeni Malkin have been part of a power-play unit that’s scoring on a 36 per cent clip this post-season. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press) Penguins forwards Chris Kunitz, left, and Evgeni Malkin have been part of a power-play unit that’s scoring on a 36 per cent clip this post-season. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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You would be very hard pressed today to find a recap of Game 1 between the Penguins and Senators that doesn't have at least 36 per cent of it dedicated to their power play (seems like a fair number seeing as they have converted on 36 per cent of their power-play opportunities in the playoffs).
You would be very hard pressed today to find a recap of Game 1 between the Penguins and Senators that doesn't have at least 36 per cent of it dedicated to their power play (seems like a fair number seeing as they have converted on 36 per cent of their power-play opportunities in the playoffs).

Even before the post-season started (and even before Sidney Crosby officially returned), there were rumblings that the Pens were practising a power play that looked like this: Crosby-Evgeni Malkin-Jarome Iginla-Kris Letang-Chris Kunitz. My initial reaction was that there HAD to be some sort of clause in the CBA that prohibited a PP as ridiculous as that!

Surely the reason the lockout lasted as long as it did was because they were negotiating whether or not you were allowed to have five players on the PP at the same time that have scored a combined 385 goals, 643 assists, for 1028 points with the man advantage.
Well, I read the CBA cover to cover and couldn't find it (Ok, I didn't actually read it, it's a long document!)

Monday night the Pens scored two more goals with the man advantage to bring their post-season total to nine on 25 opportunities. What has to be scary for Ottawa, as well as the other teams still alive in the playoffs, is that it seems to actually be getting better. Could it be "record breaking"? There is only one way to find out. And for the record, I understand that power-play numbers are dependent on getting power-play opportunities, but for the sake of this argument, let's say they continue getting the same number of chances (approximately four per game).

NHL record for most PP goals in a series: 15 goals ('80 NYI & '91 North Stars)

Pittsburgh's chances: While they did score two Monday night, we can't forget that the Senators did have the best penalty kill in the league this year (most of it without Erik Karlsson), so this record seems safe for this round. However, if the Pens move on and happen to face the NY Rangers, the record could fall. The Rangers were 15th in PK percentage this year, and the Pens did score four PP goals in their first three meetings with the Blueshirts.

NHL Record for most PP goals by an individual in the playoffs: Nine. Mike Bossy ('81), Cam Neely ('91).

Pittsburgh's chances: Chris Kunitz not only leads the team in PP goals with three, he also tied for the team lead with nine in the regular season. Considering that took 48 games, and the most the Pens could play in the post-season is 26, it would be tough. However, he is averaging a PP goal every two games. If the Pens play the minimum amount of games (and win the cup), he would finish with eight. It's very possible.

NHL Record for most PP goals in a playoff season: 35 goals in 23 games. ('91 North Stars)

Pittsburgh's chances: The Pens are averaging 1.5 playoff goals per game. If they kept up that pace and played the maximum 24  (two, six-game series and one that goes the distance), they would finish with 36 goals, a new NHL record.

NHL Record for most PP goals in a playoff career: 38 goals (Brett Hull)

Pittsburgh's chances: Well, Malkin is the Pens active all-time leader with 17, or about 0.22 goals per game. At this rate it will take him 96 games just to tie the Golden Brett. Some records are meant to stick around for a while!

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