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Justin Schultz replaces Letang on top power play, Malkin ready to return?

Ottawa Senators v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Seven Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

It’s always en vogue to talk about the Pittsburgh Penguins power play, and a couple of interesting developments happened at practice today ahead of this weekend’s home-and-home series with the Buffalo Sabres.

This continues a trend from last game where Justin Schultz was promoted to the top power play and Kris Letang was dropped with the second group. From Natural Stat Trick, we’ve grouped the two’s performance for comparison. (Click to make bigger if necessary)

In a way, it’s a tough comparison, since PP1 and PP2 groups are not created equal, and Letang has had the benefit of playing with the more talented crew, and the ones getting the start in the o-zone too. Then again, Schultz has played some on the top group too, and the numbers all are demonstrably in Letang’s favor so far.

And the point may be more for showing how well the power play is performing with Letang out there. His metrics for Corsi For, Scoring Chances, High Danger Chances and High Danger Goals (and just plain goals) are all not only higher than Schultz but a high bar for anyone to match.

The one difference, which shows in style, is the SOG column. Schultz is only behind 12-9 despite playing just about half the time. Schultz will get more shots on net than Letang and that’s probably a large reason he now finds himself with the top group.

The other question might be who that top group will also have-

Evgeni Malkin skated on a normal line with Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel and figures to return tomorrow after a 2-week absence. That’s great news.

Guentzel has filled in admirably for Malkin on the powerplay. It’ll be interesting to see with Kessel, Malkin and Sidney Crosby as no-brainers, if the coaches go with Guentzel or Patric Hornqvist for the final spot.


Who’s best bet for top power play right now?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Kris Letang
    (246 votes)
  • 71%
    Justin Schultz
    (612 votes)
858 votes total Vote Now