Playoff success is often determined by the play of the special teams. The Penguins penalty killing, which was a strength all year, did not do well against Ottawa. The Senators were able to convert on 31.8% of their chances. That is much higher than the 15.9% success rate of opponents over the course of the regular season. The reason that this was not as much of a problem as it could have been was because the Penguins powerplay was more successful against Ottawa than it had been over the course of the season. The powerplay clicked at 25% as compared to a 17.2% conversion rate for the regular season. The powerplay was horrible the first half of the year. Many, including myself, questioned Mike Yeo’s qualifications and ability to coach a successful powerplay. Coach Bylsma tried to steer the blame away from Yeo when he said that the entire coaching staff was responsible for the design of the powerplay. This is where the powerplay story takes an interesting turn. The powerplay did improve over the second half of the season, and as mentioned was successful against Ottawa. Coach Bylsma recently pointed to a low point in the season for the powerplay — a game against Minnesota in January when the powerplay was 0-6, and functioning at 15.7%. The staff decided to make some offensive zone changes. Coach Bylsma said, “From that point on, we took a different approach on our powerplay.” The powerplay improved to 20% over the last 30 games of the season. Ironically, these changes were made at the time that Coach Yeo was not with the team, as he was dealing with health issues. Was this just a coincidence or was the staff able to do a better job of putting an effective powerplay together when Yeo wasn’t around? You be the judge. Coincidence or not, I’m glad that the changes were made. A successful powerplay can win you a playoff series. With the offensive talent that the Penguins have, they should have the best powerplay in the league. That’s the view from E-11.