DALLAS — Many of you have asked me why the Penguins are using two power plays, one with Sidney Crosby, the other with Evgeni Malkin.
It’s a fair question.
One I often wonder, too.
All I can do is ask. So I did. I asked coach Mike Johnston the reasoning behind doing this after the Penguins’ 3-0 loss to the Dallas Stars tonight at American Airlines Center.
“I really thought both units generated quite a bit,” Johnston said. “We’ve got two dangerous units there. Geno’s line was on the ice when the first power play happened. They were tired. Sid’s line went out on the ice for the power play. Then I thought once they were out there, Geno’s line came back out and gave us a 1-2 punch on the power play. We have the flexibility we can do either. I really liked the looks we had on the power play.”
Was the power play the story of the game?
A power-play goal sure would have helped. So would have preventing the Stars from getting at least one; instead, they got two.
I get the calls for putting Crosby and Malkin together, but I also watched Crosby’s power play feed Phil Kessel with attempt after attempt from the left circle. Eventually, reason would dictate, they’re going to go in.
A few other things to wrap up here before catching my 6 a.m. flight to Phoenix:
=Daniel Sprong made his NHL debut. Had five shot attempts in 8:59. Was noticeable at times, but not in the kind of way where he’s going to force the Penguins’ hand to stay past nine games. It’s still plenty early, though.
Here’s Sprong on his debut:
“It was a great experience. I enjoyed a lot of it. But it’s not the result we were looking for as a team. I missed some good chances. I fanned on a couple. It’s just learning every day and bouncing back on Saturday.”
=Patric Hornqvist felt the Penguins started to surge over the final 10 minutes of the first period. They enjoyed their best power play of the night — on a Jason Demers minor — but Antti Niemi was really, really strong.
“We did a great job in the last 10 minutes of the first period,” Hornqvist said. “Took over the game. If you can get one on the board there, it’s a different game.”
=Some quick numbers: Crosby did not have a shot attempt. I don’t know if I’ve seen that before. Doubtful. … Kris Letang tied Kessel for the team lead in shot attempts with 13 and placed a game-high eight of them on goal.
Not a ton more to say about this one, honestly.
Penguins practice Friday at noon my time, 3 p.m. yours. Will have updates from there.
Be GRATEFUL to each other,