Penguins notebook: Penguins getting fewer power-play opportunities
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The antidote for the Penguins’ power play hasn’t been opposing teams’ work on the penalty kill.
It’s been the officials.
After enjoying 56 power plays over their first 13 games for an average of 4.3 per contest, the Penguins have been a man up just nine times over their previous five games entering Saturday, an average of 1.8 per game.
Coach Mike Johnston doesn’t have a problem with the slide in power plays, pointing out that the past five opponents received a total of 16 power plays.
“If you look at the numbers both ways, it seems like the games we’ve played lately there haven’t been very many power plays either way,” Johnston said. “It’d be different if one team was getting five and we’re only getting one.”
The Penguins have converted 33.8 percent of their chances on the power play, nearly 10 percent better than anyone else.
Defenseman Simon Despres was a healthy scratch Friday but returned Saturday, assuming his regular spot on a pairing with Rob Scuderi. Despres led all defensemen with 53 hits.
Forward Craig Adams played in his 900th NHL game Saturday. Adams’ streak of consecutive games played reached 307, meaning he’s six away from Ron Schock’s franchise record of 313.
Islanders legend Billy Smith was honored before and during Saturday’s game. Smith was the goaltender when the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups between 1980-83. He won the Vezina Trophy in 1982 and the Conn Smythe in 1983 and was the first goaltender credited with scoring a goal.
The Penguins recalled forward Jayson Megna from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday.
Megna has led the Baby Penguins with seven goals and nine points in eight November games. Overall, he has nine goals and 12 points in 17 games, including a goal and an assist during a 5-1 win over Albany on Friday.
“We have quite a few games coming up this week, and we don’t have any forward depth right now,” Johnston said. “For protection and also because he’s earned it, we brought him up.”