McGinn key on second power play unit

McGinn key on second power play unit
February 6, 2012, 4:36 pm
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SAN JOSE Jamie McGinns strong and somewhat surprising season has a chance to get even better.

The forward is now taking regular shifts on San Jose's power play, something he hasnt done much of for the first three months. While coach Todd McLellan has loaded up the top unit with Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle on the points with Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture, McGinn is part of a second unit that will have to produce in order for the teams numbers with a man advantage to continue to climb.

Thats what happened on Saturday in Phoenix. Despite a 5-3 loss to the Coyotes, McGinn scored a game-tying second period goal when he deftly redirected in a hard pass from Brent Burns.

That first unit is a bunch of superstars. Its plain to see, and its tough to crack that lineup, McGinn said after the Coyotes game. If they dont get it done the first time, we want to come out on the second unit and get opportunities.

The last couple games theyve been scoring goals, so its nice for us to rebound tonight and get one ourselves. That gets the confidence going on the second unit, and hopefully we continue to be put together and get the opportunity to play.

Overall, the Sharks are 6-for-15 on the power play in their last six games (40.0 percent), scoring at least one goal in five of them.

Along with McGinn, the second unit consisted of Michal Handzus and Ryane Clowe up front with Burns and Justin Braun at the points against Phoenix. Burns may be the biggest addition, though, as he was recently replaced by Pavelski on the top unit.

It doesnt really matter whos out there, its the same thing. Getting the puck to the net and getting it to the point, and trying to get lanes, said Burns.

Theyre been able to clean up the last minute or 45 seconds of the power play; a very simple power play unit, McLellan said on Saturday night. Ginner gets himself into position to have a deflection. Most of his goals have been scored from in and around that area this year. Hes got a formula right now that works for him, and like any other player, if he strays from it or tries to get over creative, it doesnt work for him. Right now, its very simple and hes a very effective player for us.

McGinn isnt taking the promotion to the power play unit for granted.

Youve just got to continue to work hard. Do the right things, try and not make mistakes, because if you continue to go out there and make mistakes, we have a lot of skill and a lot of guys that want to get out there on the power play and want their opportunity, as well, he said. Just work hard and play smart, too.

Breaking down the last six games, Couture and Thornton have led the way with four points apiece on the power play. Couture has two goals and two assists, while Thornton has four helpers.