Pittsburgh Penguins: Improving the Power Play for 2015-16

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Oct 30, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (middle) scores a power play goal past Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (right) as Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) arrives late on the play during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins finished the season with a 19.3% success rate on their power play, which was tied for the 8th best in the NHL with Vancouver and New Jersey. This number may seem fine on the surface, but it can be deceiving.

The Pens started out the season on fire on the power play, clicking at around a 45% success rate in November. If it were not for this outrageously good start, the season power play percentage would be a lot lower and likely prompt there to be more discussion as to what went wrong.

Even though a power play operating at a 45% rate is impossible to sustain, the Penguins power play fell off a cliff as the season progressed. It got so bad that Rick Tocchet and Mike Johnson actually split up Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on their own power play unit.

Sorry, but this is just not good coaching or strategy. Crosby, Malkin and Kris Letang all have to be on ice together, being some of the most talented and premiere offensive players in the NHL. Given that power plays per game last year were the lowest they have been in recent memory, it is critical that the Penguins make the most of their power play chances. It is the coach’s job to devise a strategy to make it work.

Here is how the Pittsburgh Penguins can improve their power play next season.