by PuckStopsHere on 06/06/09 at 03:54 AM ET
One area of play in the Stanley Cup finals where Pittsburgh has dominated over Detroit is special teams. The Pittsburgh Penguins have scored four power play goals in nine opportunities. That 44% success rate is far above anything that can be sustained. The Detroit Red Wings have only one power play goal in ten power play attempts and they allowed a short handed goal as well. That gives them a net of zero goals to show for their power plays.
Detroit’s power play failure in this series does not fit with their regular season. They had a league best 25.5% success rate on the power play. Pittsburgh’s 17.2% success rate left them well back in the pack in 20th. The Penguins did better on the penalty kill where their 82.7% success rate placed them eighth in the league. Detroit struggled on the penalty kill. Their 78.3% success rate was 25th in the league and the worst among teams that made the playoffs.
One difference maker on the power play for Detroit might be Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk was their top power play scorer in the regular season with 36 power play points. He hasn’t played yet in the playoffs due to a broken foot. If he does play (and he might play game five) he won’t be at 100%.
In the two games Detroit won, only one power play goal was scored. It was Malkin’s goal in game two. In the Pittsburgh wins there were four power play goals and a shorthanded goal, with all but one scored by the Penguins.
Pittsburgh has been the dominant team on special teams throughout the final series so far. If they can keep that up there is a good chance they will win the series. Detroit needs to get their power play and penalty kill going to improve their chances. They have a better chance to get their power play going, since it is a strong one.
Pittsburgh has had a significant advantage in special teams play so far in the finals. That is a big part of the reason they have tied the series. If they can keep that up, while Detroit’s special teams remain weak there is a good chance they will win the Stanley Cup.
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