Can Penguins Overcome Power Play Struggles to Make Playoffs?

Can Penguins Overcome Power Play Struggles to Make Playoffs?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

It is almost unfathomable to think that the Pittsburgh Penguins, with superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Erik Karlsson, Kris Letang and more on the roster have been unable to convert on the power play for an entire calendar month. This stretch of futility lasted for 37 consecutive straight man advantage opportunities.

The drought had the team closing in on the NHL record of 51 straight power plays without converting until Jake Guentzel delivered just 1:12 into Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over Arizona. Jeff Carter got another in the third period.

For Penguins fans, especially backers in Pennsylvania sports betting, the power play struggles are even more frustrating because their goaltending and five-on-five play has been excellent. It’s the inability to score when up a man that is keeping them out of the playoffs.

Their 9.5% power play conversion rate before Tuesday was ranked 30th out of 32 NHL teams and well behind the New Jersey Devils’ league-leading mark of 32.6%. The two-goal outburst Tuesday lifted the Penguins to 11.4%. The result is that the Penguins are four points out of a playoff spot.

With all of this in mind, PennStakes.com – your source for PA sportsbook promo codes – uncovered the lowest-ranked power plays to make the playoffs in the past 10 years. We did so in an effort to see if the Penguins have any chance at reaching the postseason with their paltry PP success rate.

Lowest-Ranked Power Plays to Make Playoffs

Bettors need as much info as possible when deciding to place wagers. This numbers are from PennStakes.com and not found on any of the fine PA sportsbook apps.

SeasonTeamPower Play RankPower Play %
2018-19Predators3112.9%
2022-23Islanders3015.8%
2019-20Blackhawks2815.2%
2014-15Ducks2815.7%
2015-16Lightning2815.8%
2013-14Kings2715.1%
2021-22Kings2716.1%
2016-17Sharks2516.7%
2017-18Blue Jackets2517.2%
2021-22Wild2417.6%

 

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Assessing Role of Power Play Strength

While a few teams with power plays ranked in the bottom third of the league have made the playoffs, none have done it with a mark as bad as Pittsburgh’s 11.4%. The only team that has come close has been the 2018-19 Nashville Predators, who had a 12.9% mark when up a man. Luckily for the Penguins, with the season not even a third over yet, they have lots of time to improve on that mark. But it must happen soon if they expect to make up enough ground to surpass the teams ahead of them in the playoff race.

At five on five, the Penguins have been one of the stronger teams in the league in all aspects. They are top 10 in the league in controlling possession, in generating high danger scoring chances and in save percentage. When down a man they have been fine, ranking 10th with a penalty kill of 82.1%.

Top liners Guentzel and Sidney Crosby rank third and fourth in the league, respectively,  in even strength points and big offseason acquisition Erik Karlsson is seventh among defenseman in the same stat. Everything the Penguins are doing aside from their power play suggests that they are a very strong, potentially elite team that could do some serious damage in a seven-game playoff series. ESPN Bet Pennsylvania has the Penguins at +3500 to win the Cup, which is 15th of 32 teams.

With a team full of stars like Pittsburgh, one would think that PP success will come sooner rather than later. Maybe the game against the Coyotes was a sign of better days ahead.

The addition of Karlsson should have helped their power play, but that theory has yet to come to fruition. The real issue so far is the shooting percentage. Only the Washington Capitals have a worse PP shooting percentage than the Penguins mark of 6.09, a number that is way too low considering the talent on the team and most teams expect their PP shooting percentage to check in over 12%. Their even strength shooting percentage is right around league average at 8.4%, proving that they have the talent to put the puck in the net.

Logic dictates that this powerplay slump will turn around and Pittsburgh’s man advantage should begin to generate some goals as soon as they get some puck luck. But with the season moving along, that point is going to have to come sooner rather than later because history shows that teams with poor power plays rarely make the playoffs.

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Author

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for PennStakes.com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports, particularly MLB and the NHL. He will be providing insight throughout the baseball season.

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