Last night, at key points in the game, the Penguins managed to squander two more chances with the two-man advantage.

It’s worth taking a second to analyze why the Penguins are struggling, and what system they are employing in these situations.

In the below diagram, the Penguins are shown in the Black X’s.

The Penguins employ a fairly popular system for their two-man advantage. It’s a simple 2-3. This two man advantage system is fairly standard practice, along with a 2-1-2.

For the Penguins, there are a few key points here.

First off, the man in front of the net needs to be in the crease and taking away the low defender. Also, the two forwards on the half-wall down low need to be on their forehand side of the net.

The two point men run this system and the play is designed to flow through them.

The penalty killing unit is going to absorb them middle of the ice and take away the slot. The goal is to exploit numbers down low, get shots to the net, and have the rest of the PP unit drive the goal for a score.

The goal here is to take advantage of the space up top. When a shot from the point is taken, the players down low need to drive the net. This is just as much about movement as well. You want to make that triangle of defenders invert itself if you can. That way, a cross ice pass will allow a path to the net for the forehand player on the far side of the net.

But that’s just it, the Penguins issues are two-fold here.

For starters, they aren’t shooting the puck. If you have to put Tyler Kennedy out there on the point, do it. At least you’ll know he’ll shoot. The entire flow of this man-advantage system will be killed if you’re just standing around making passes. You have to make the point shot your first and most important priority.

Secondly, drive the net. Those down low players need to sprint for the goal at the first sign of a shot. You’re most likely going to have the numbers available. At least one defender has to stay high on the point. Three is greater than two, it doesn’t get much easier than that.

The Penguins are squandering games by being hesitant and not taking full advantage of the space at the top of the ice.

An effective scoring strategy would be one-timers, quick puck movement, support down low, and a general drive to the net in order to procure a situation where you have the numbers, a screen, and traffic in front.