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Thread: A Whole Bunch Of Cool Pens Tidbits

  1. #1
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    Default A Whole Bunch Of Cool Pens Tidbits

    All looks well for the Penguins (22-10-1, 45 points), who are five points better through 33 games than during the past two seasons that ended in the Stanley Cup Final.

    But looks may be deceiving, and head coach Dan Bylsma and his staff must address a few growing concerns if the Penguins are to convert this strong start into the Eastern Conference's best record and home-ice advantage until the Final.

    Fight the power

    Perhaps everybody is too negative regarding the Penguins' second-worst power play. They are clicking at 14.3 percent (8 for 56) over the past 14 games, which is almost one percentage point better than their 13.6 percent overall mark. Three of those eight power-play goals were scored against top-10 penalty kill units (Atlanta, Montreal and Chicago). Three also came against bottom-10 penalty kill units (Florida, twice, and Anaheim).

    Bylsma said Saturday that "power-play percentages don't mean something until after the game," so perhaps this next sentence means nothing, too:

    Washington and New Jersey, the two Eastern teams that currently pose the biggest threat to the Penguins' quest for first place in the conference, rate first and sixth respectively in the NHL, with power-play percentages of 23.9 and 22.

    Go ahead, please

    Before games played Sunday, only three teams were at .500 or better when allowing opponents to score first: the Penguins (9-8-1), Capitals (6-1-2) and Devils (8-1-5).

    A cynic could note the Penguins have allowed an opponent to score first just six fewer times than the Capitals and Devils combined. However, what would a cynic say to the Penguins' 7-2-1 mark over the past 10 games, eight of which they've opened by trailing?

    The Penguins are on target to trail first in 45 games - nine more than their total from last season.

    Know what to expect

    The Penguins proved last spring that road playoff games can be won. They went 7-6 away from Mellon Arena, including 6-3 against Eastern clubs. They also closed every series on the road, including two Game 7 wins.

    However, a few statistics from the past two postseasons indicate just how much they would benefit from playing as many playoff games at Mellon Arena as they can before it closes:

    They are 19-4 overall at home overall.

    They are 14-2 at home against Eastern teams.

    They are 12-0 at in the first two home games of playoff series against Eastern teams.

    Conceivably the Penguins could finish tied with New Jersey for the conference's best point total but lose a tiebreaker and draw the No. 4 seed to set up a tough 4-5 first-round series and the possibility of subsequent rounds, without home-ice advantage, against Washington and New Jersey.

    Before anybody panics, note the 1-3 combined record by the Capitals and Devils in home Game 7s over the past two postseasons.

    Washington currently holds a point lead on the Penguins and has played as many games. New Jersey is tied with the Penguins, but has played two fewer games.

    Of course, fixing their few flaws would probably get the Penguins to that top seed. They are 13-2-0 when scoring first and 13-1-0 when posting a power-play goal.

  2. #2
    Beezy's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Whole Bunch Of Cool Pens Tidbits

    Why even bother talking about playoff seeds right now?

    They have to get the PP going that is obvious. At least they are being proactive. If you look at the Penguins teams from the last few years, this is a totally different team. Two big things 1 they are outshooting everyone and 2 doing great with faceoffs. Add in they are top of the league in hits and are playing great defensively and PK. If they can at least improve the PP, not the best in the league, just get better, then I don't think many teams will be able to beat them except for the obvious **** the bed nights that every team has. LETS GO PENS!

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