We wanted to take a quick moment to show some stills from the Black and Gold scrimmage in an attempt to diagram what we think the Penguins are going for in their new power-play set up with James Neal on the point.

It’s hard to take a lot away from a scrimmage of this nature, but we figured we’d dust off the old telestrator and get it ramped up for the start of the regular season.

From what I could tell in my limited viewing, the Penguins are running a little bit of an overload type set-up. Let’s take a quick peek at how that translates on the ice.

The emphasis here is to create quality scoring chances all over the ice by out-manning the penalty kill 3 on 2 in most areas. By drawing defenders down towards the half wall you can both create space up top and find players on the far side of the ice, a la the point of having James Neal on the top of the point.

Here’s a still of the Penguins in this set-up prior to one of their power-play goals in the scrimmage.

As you can see, based on the diagram above, it looks like the Penguins are overloading one side of the ice. Kris Letang is just out of the picture on the far side point.

Again, the advantage to this system is that you have more white shirts than black shirts in key areas. You want to use that overload advantage as a sort of vacuum cleaner to suck penalty killers down into the corner and open up areas elsewhere.

The one frustrating part of this system is you might not see as many shots as you’d like while you’re waiting for that space to open up.

Last night on Twitter I mentioned a play that featured Malkin feeding Kris Letang on a play that is typical of what we hear Bylsma stating in his media time.

Here’s how that play developed out of this overload set-up.

The play starts with all three forwards on the strong side jostling for the puck. Notice how a little chaos is created here for the PK unit. The penalty killers have collapsed onto the puck. Someone has to be open here if team White can corral it.

The puck squirts up to the point to James Neal at the point, who works it right to Sidney Crosby above the circle, who will then dump it off to Evgeni Malkin, the low man on the overload.

There are too many players for the Black team to defend on the right side. As a result, a wide lane is going to open up for Evgeni Malkin to feed the puck cross-ice to Kris Letang, who is waiting for a one timer.

Like Moses parting the red sea, look at the lane Evgeni Malkin has. Kris Letang is waiting out of picture for the one timer.

Because the puck squirted high just before this, the PK was forced to pressure up ice. They also have to respect Chris Kunitz in front of the net. The result of reversing the play high-to-low has created this:

The power-play goal was a direct result of this set-up. Kunitz, in front, bangs the puck home.

A few quick points:

- Play will generally start along the hash marks on the half wall. – The weak side player is a massive one time option. – This formation could create a lot of solid passing lanes for the Penguins. – When the puck heads to the point, watch the low forward immediately head to the front of the net.

We’ll continue to follow this set-up throughout this season, but this was the best guess we had for what the Penguins are trying to accomplish with only one game viewing.