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Problem is Bigger than PP Goals

Penguins scored 21 power play goals in the first 13 games but their problems are bigger than simply scoring on the power play.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins started this season scoring 21 power play goals in the first 13 games for an eye-popping 37.5% success rate in 56 attempts.

Pens were getting 4.3 power play chances per game but since then, their power play has cooled off and so have their chances.

In the last 40 games, team has scored just 15 power play goals (13.27%) in 113 attempts (2.8 per game).

Overall, NHL teams have scored 935 power play goals in 5,007 chances (18.67%). The Penguins overall sit at 21.3% for 7th in the NHL, Detroit is first at 25.5% and there are 17 teams below 18.67%.

What is more concerning for the Penguins is the team's 3.19 power play opportunities per game, 17th in the NHL.

There have been 784 NHL games played this season, averaging 6.38 power play opportunities.

While the power play is seeing the ice less, part of the problem is the team is on the penalty kill more often, averaging 3.58 penalty kills per game.

Come playoff time, just like Bylsma coached teams over the last five years, discipline will be a key component to the team's success or failure and not just their power play success.

NHL Expansion Looms

If you think the NHL expansion talk is a joke, you better take it seriously as Las Vegas isn't building an arena for nothing.

There's no doubt the NHL will look at Seattle and Las Vegas as the next expansion teams in the next two years and not the popular cities like Quebec City and Hamilton, especially in light of the Canadian Dollar (CAD) dropping in the last year.

It will be very interesting to see how the NHL conducts an expansion draft in the salary cap era and those rules could effect the Penguins and many other teams who have players 27 to 30 years old.

This is why the Penguins need to win a Stanley Cup in the next year or two or three as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be exiting their prime and they'll need a good supporting cast. That's why it is critical players like Kasperi Kapanen, Oskar Sundqvist, and Teddy Blueger continue to develop into good players.

A look at these players and their age in the last Stanley Cup title.

Wayne Gretzky - 26 (1987-88)

Mario Lemieux - 25 (1991-92)

Peter Forsberg - 27 (2000-01), only played 11  playoff games

Steve Yzerman - 36 (2001-02)

Vincent Lecavalier - 23 (2003-04)