The Pittsburgh Penguins trailed 3-0 on the road entering the third-period on the road on Thursday night against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Mike Sullivan, the head coach of Pittsburgh, decided to tweak up his lines. Sullivan decided to create a line of Jared McCann-Evgeni Malkin-Bryan Rust.
All three of those players scored one goal in the third-period. Rust scored the game-winner in overtime with 1:37 remaining.
The Penguins were able to snap New York’s 10-game winning streak. It looked like it was going to be 11 games, but it didn’t turn out to be the case. Pittsburgh gave them a little dose of reality and it was also a humbling moment for them.
There were a lot of people for some reason that was losing faith in Mike Sullivan. This is one of the reasons why I have always believed in him.
Because of this, it is time for him to take full charge of the power play.
The current power play coach is Mark Recchi. The power play is in a massive slump and they are currently ranked 23rd in the NHL. There power play percentage so far this season is 13.3 percent.
This is a team that offensive fire power with Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Justin Schultz, Jared McCann, Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist, Nick Bjugstad, Dominik Kahun, Marcus Pettersson, and Dominik Simon.
Recchi provides no structure for this power play and they haven’t scored a goal on the power play in a while.
They give up way too many shorthanded goals on the back end. This never happened when Rick Tocchet was an assisant coach with this team.
The Arizona Coyotes have a 17.6 percent power play and they don’t have the personnel that Pittsburgh has. Tocchet is the current head coach of Arizona and General Manager Jim Rutherford should not have let him walk out the door.
Rick Tocchet took the job to be the Coyotes head coach after the 2016-2017 season.
The way I view this situation right now is Mike Sullivan as the head coach, Mark Recchi as the offensive coordinator, and Jacques Martin as the defensive coordinator.
Sullivan, like a football coach, should take away the play calling duties from Recchi. Mike Sullivan would run the power play better than him.
Martin is in charge of the penalty kill. The penalty kill has been a Top 10 unit in the NHL so far this season.
At the moment, the Pittsburgh Penguins are currently in third place in the Metropolitan Division with a 9-6-1 record with 19 points so far this season. Pittsburgh has scored 55 goals and they have given up 42 goals so far this season.
The power play will be the difference between missing the playoffs, just making the playoffs, being eliminated, making a deep postseason run, and winning it all for the third time in five seasons.