Penguins: First Powerplay Unit Struggles in Debut

The Pens took on the Buffalo Sabres last night in a preseason matchup and had several power play opportunities. However, the power play didn’t look too hot. But it’s still early, and we shouldn’t freak out yet. 

GM Kyle Dubas went out this off-season and acquired Erik Karlsson from San Jose. Since he was acquired, curiosity surrounded the powerplay and what it would look like with EK65 in town. People wondered if Letang would be moved down to the second pairing and Karlsson would take his spot on the top pairing. 

As it turns out, they both will be on the top pairing. Those two, along with Crosby and Malkin, are going to look lethal, but based on practice and last night’s game, it just didn’t look that way. Karlsson and Head Coach Mike Sullivan both noted that there is still work to be done with the power play. Both seemed confident that the group would work together to help provide a punch in offense. 

One thing that looked definite was that they all were afraid to shoot, just like past powerplay units. A lot of “over-passing” was happening, and no one was really shooting on net. Sullivan knows how important shooting on net is and how getting opportunities on the man advantage needs to be taken advantage of, which is why the team added Karlsson to the top pair in the first place. 

As I mentioned, it is still early, and they only have one preseason game together under their belt. Once they find their chemistry and can work together, this power play can become the best in the league. 

Nik Shermeto

PT ‘23 | 🇺🇸/🇨🇦 | Penguins writer for Inside The Rink | Thoughts are my own.

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