Malkin laments ice-cold power play after loss to Bolts: 'We don't have confidence'
The Pittsburgh Penguins were on the losing end of the special teams battle against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 3-1 defeat on Wednesday, and Evgeni Malkin appears to be tired of his club's extended power-play drought.
The Bolts scored twice on the man advantage, while Pittsburgh went 0-for-4, despite briefly having a two-man advantage. The Penguins are now 0-for-33 on the power play dating back to Nov. 11.
"You see Tampa score, like, every game, and they feel confidence," Malkin said, per team reporter Michelle Crechiolo. "When you lead the game, when you control the game 2-0, 3-0, you feel so much better. Of course, if we score a couple power-play goals, everybody feels better."
He added: "You have three, four, five power plays every night, and you see we try on the power play, and we don't feel good. We lost the puck on the blue line, they had a two-on-one, breakaway, because we don’t have confidence and we're nervous. It's how it affects us."
The Penguins rank 31st in power-play proficiency this season at a paltry 9.9%. They finished the 2022-23 campaign ranked 14th at 21.7% and were expected to make a big improvement this season after adding Erik Karlsson to a loaded No. 1 unit that also features Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel.
"Obviously, when you don't have success, your confidence isn't at an all-time high, and these guys are human beings," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "But we've got to find a way to fight through it."
Pittsburgh's power-play issues are a key factor in the club winning only three of its past 10 games. The Penguins currently sit seventh in the Metropolitan Division with 25 points and are three points behind the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with more games played than each team ahead of them.