Print

With or without you - 11-24-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

So the Penguins' power play has risen from the mat. After finding a way to get off the 0-for-30 schneid, it's now gotten goals in four consecutive games. No one's starting to dig up any records or anything due to this recent spike of success, but it's progress.

Part of the solution seems to have been Sergei Gonchar. His return to a defensive unit ravaged by injuries boosts the Penguins in just about every facet of the game, especially on the power play. Here are the teams' numbers on the man advantage with and without Gonchar.

Before Injury

Games
Goals-
Power Plays
Power-Play
Shots on Goal
10-2 vs. Rangers 1-2 3
10-3 at Islanders 0-3 7
10-7 vs. Coyotes 0-5 6
10-8 at Flyers 1-5 6
10-10 at Maple Leafs 3-5 9
10-12 at Senators 0-4 3
10-14 at Hurricanes 0-4 5
10-17 vs. Lightning 1-7 15
10-20 vs. Blues 2-4 9
Totals 8-39
(20.5%
)
63 total shots
7.0 per game

Nothing great, but those numbers at least have a pulse. That's nearly a goal per game from the power play. And it's a pretty fair amount of rubber on net. Interestingly enough, the St. Louis game, the one in which Gonchar broke his wrist, was one of the Penguins' best games in terms of power-play success.

After Injury

Game Goals-
Power Plays
Power-Play
Shots
10-23 vs. Panthers 1-6 9
10-24 vs. Devils 1-8 5
10-28 vs. Canadiens 2-5 8
10-30 at Blue Jackets 0-5 4
10-31 vs. Wild 0-3 3
11-3 at Ducks 0-6 5
11-5 at Kings 0-3 6
11-7 at Sharks 0-4 7
11-11 at Bruins 0-3 0
11-12 vs. Devils 0-3 4
11-14 vs. Bruins 0-3 2
11-16 vs. Ducks 1-7 10
Totals 5-56
(11.2%)
63 total shots
5.25 per game

Brutal. But don't forget about all the other injuries that occurred over this period of time. Evgeni Malkin, the team's most dangerous offensive weapon was out of the lineup for two weeks and the "replacements" for Gonchar on the point, Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang, are still out with ailments. Chris Kunitz, who replaced Malkin on the first unit, went down as well. So the decline here wasn't strictly due to Gonchar's absence. But it sure didn't help. Interestlingly enough, during the team's first three games without Gonchar, the power play clicked at a respectable 21.1 percent.

Zero shots in Boston? Horrible.

After Return from Injury

Game Goals-
Power-Plays
Power-Play
Shots
11-19 at Senators 1-5 9
11-21 at Thrashers 1-3 7
11-23 at Panthers 1-5 8
Totals 3-13
(23.1%)
24 total shots
8.0 per game

-And the totals for all 12 games combined  with Gonchar:


Goals-Power Plays
(Success Rate)
Power-Play Shots
Totals 11-52
(21.2%)
87 total shots
7.25 shots per game

-The conclusion? Sergei Gonchar is pretty important to the power play, even if it's just mediocre. But you knew that already. We just did the math.

(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.