The Penguins gave us a glimpse at what may develop into the league's best power play this year. Saturday night's preseason matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning was quite entertaining for a preseason game. It included good puck handling, physical play, a few fights, and even an overtime shootout. Tampa came away with the shootoout victory. Most important, we got a glimpse at what the Penguin powerplay will look like this season.
The power play consisted of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Miroslav Satan, and Petr Sykora platooning with Pascal Dupuis. The lone blueliner is Sergei Gonchar. This group may very well turn into the highest scoring power play in the NHL this year. Consider the individual accomplishments of each player and put them all together on the same line and you have the potential of an unstoppable scoring machine that will put fear into opposing goaltenders. Opposing teams will have to think twice about taking penalties knowing that this line can score at will.
Satan played on Crosby's line for the entire game and they seemed to click well. Crosby may finally have the perfect linemate he has needed for the last two years with Satan. Jordan Staal turned in a fine performance on Saturday night scoring a goal within the first minute of the first period. He looked strong and skated well. One of the standouts on defense was newcomer Ben Lovejoy. His defensive play was solid and he dropped the gloves with heavyweight David Koci to avenge a dirty hit on Sergei Gonchar.
Those who turned in less than stellar play for the Pens were Marc Andre Fleury and Chris Beech. Fleury showed preseason rust and gave up soft goals including not stopping any shots in the shootout. Chris Beech, on the bubble this year, took unnecessary boarding and game misconduct penalties late in the game.
Overall, the Pens looked sharp offensively and as long a Fleury can shake the preseason rust, all will be well. It also seems that one of the weaknesses has been addressed with the makings of a very lethal power play. So far so good for the Pens.