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NHL’s best power play not good enough for Penguins’ Mike Sullivan | TribLIVE.com
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NHL’s best power play not good enough for Penguins’ Mike Sullivan

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Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, right, and assistant Jacques Martin talk to the team during a preseason game against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018.

While the Penguins prepare to start the season Thursday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals, coach Mike Sullivan wants to make the best even better.

He’s talking about the Penguins’ power play, which led the National Hockey League in percentage of goals scored (26.2) last year while finishing second in total goals in all three man-advantage situations – 5 on 4 (61), 5 on 3 (eight) and 4 on 3 (2). Good numbers, but not good enough to get the Penguins past the second round of the playoffs last season.

“I try to challenge them right off the bat,” he said before leaving for the final exhibition game of the preseason Friday night in Columbus. “We don’t want to be a power play that is stagnate.

“We’re always trying to challenge them to find wrinkles or different ways to become less predictable, to be more dangerous, to maximize the players we have on the ice,” he said, “making sure we continue to evolve and not rest on our laurels.

“Just because we were good last year doesn’t mean we’re going to be good this year. We have to find new ways to get better.”

“We’re going to push the group we have here to get to another level and I believe we can.”

Of course, Sullivan doesn’t want to talk about the details of how the Penguins will improve their power play.The rest of the league will find out soon enough.

But he won’t shake up the personnel. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Hornqvist, Phil Kessel and either Kris Letang or Justin Shultz on defense have been constants on the power play since Sullivan assumed control of the team in 2015.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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