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Some glass half full evidence

November 28, 2023, 6:26 PM ET [102 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Penguins have a great opportunity to build off of their Saturday night win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tonight, when the Penguins visit the Nashville Predators we will see a battle between teams with identical 10-10-0 records.
The Penguins come into this contest as underperformers relative to their standings points. If you’re looking for a glass half full approach to things, here it is

Ottawa is the 21st team in the league by their record, having won precisely half of the games they have played. But their goal differential has them 11th best in the league, their average game seeing Ottawa triumph by +0.31 goals. Both are true statements.
The Senators are not alone. The Washington Capitals have a flattering record considering how poorly they have played; the Pittsburgh Penguins have a very unflattering record to how well they have played, much like the Senators. And the Nashville Predators, despite being the 25th best team by way of points percentage, look more like a playoff team than not.
All this to say that for most teams in most situations, the standings aren’t dishonest. But that’s not a golden rule. And if you want to have a real pulse for how teams around the league are performing, particularly after just a month or two of hockey, more sensitive measures like goal differential are not just more meaningful, they’re more predictive of future outcome.
So you have the Penguins and Predators in similar situations and both looking to right the wrongs.

Here are some other team level stats for the Penguins:

First up is their goaltending has rebounded as of late. To the point where they are near the tops of the league.

Where it goes from here, who knows. If it doesn’t significantly dip they will be getting good enough goaltending. When you combine good goaltending with the ability to generate offense it is an ideal situation.



For the oldest team in the league? Not too shabby. This is a very encouraging sign on why the Penguins can keep fighting for a playoff spot. Unfortunately, here is why they are out of a playoff spot at the current moment



This is where the scoring depth comes into play. It’s been better lately, but now the second line has trailed off. The Penguins ability to consistently finish off these chances hasn’t been great this year. They are 30th in the league despite Sidney Crosby one goal off the league lead in 5v5 goals. It really highlights how problematic things have been on this front. Even so, this issue wouldn’t be killing them as much if their power play wasn’t a lowly 12.5%.

Why is their power play a pathetic 12.5%? They don’t respect the puck at all. If they did they wouldn’t have numbers like this



They have been careless beyond belief with the puck. It starts on the breakout, but if they do finally get into the offensive zone they can’t keep the puck long enough to even work the puck around. This is why it looks so frustrating. These are fatal numbers. The power play needs to get to 20% for this team to be consistently functional. They need to clean things up. Penguins aren’t the only team who you think would have a good power play but is stinking up the joint this year. The Washington Capitals power play is 3 for 53 this season at a ghastly 5.7%. I would have never predicted these two teams would struggle so mightily in this area, especially Washington whose power play I’ve admired for quite some time.

Lineup updates for tonight:



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