Pittsburgh Penguins at the half way Marc

Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Welcome to the Pittsburgh Penguins Review up to game 41.  So, the Penguins just squeaked by a discouraged and depleted Winnipeg Jets Team, 3-2, in a shoot out win the other night.  Let’s be honest, if you watched that game, the Jets should have won that one, straight up.  If not for Jarry, and his 7 point blank amazing saves, the Penguins could have easily been blown out, 7-0.

If’s ‘n buts, soup ‘n nuts…am I right?

Let’s just grab the Points, say thank you, reset, reload and move on to the next opponent.  The one thing that stands out to me right now about the Pittsburgh Penguins, is they can win in a number of ways.

They can Win with Offense, see the Leafs 7-1 or the Sharks 8-5.

They can Win with Defense, see NYI 1-0 or the Ducks 1-0.

They can Win Because of Jarry, see Buffalo 3-2 OT or New Jersey 3-2 OT.

The Penguins can even Win Ugly, see the Jets 3-2 shoot out.

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October start was 50-50

If you remember, the Pittsburgh Penguins began the season with an impressive 6-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  They alternated wins and losses for the rest of the month, ending October with a three-game losing streak, and a 3-3-2 record.

A November to Remember

The Pittsburgh Penguins started the month of November with a win over the Philadelphia Flyers, on November 4th.  Things looked promising.  Then Covid-19 hit the team and combined with injuries, depleted the squad.  Five losses in six games from November 06th to November 16th, had us all scratching our heads and wondering if we should be booking our tee times early this year.

However, in mid November, the Penguins got healthy, took off to the Great White North (Road Trip against all Canadian teams), in seek of some much-needed W’s.  And W’s they found.  During this block of 9-games that I named, the “World Canadian Tour”, I predicted, the Penguins would go 6 wins and 3 losses.  And My Prediction Was Bang On. They went 6-3 to climb back into the Playoff Race.

During this stretch, the Penguins reeled off a beautiful five game winning streak from November 18th to November 24th.  The Pittsburgh Penguins played arguably, as well as any team can possibly play.  They Scored Goals, Stopped Goals and got Timely Saves, including three shutouts from goaltender Jarry #35.

During this block of games, the team played picture perfect hockey and seems to have turned a corner, regaining their confidence along the way.  The Penguins however, lost their last couple of games in November to close out the month, with a 10-7-5 Record.

I would suggest, based on what I have seen so far, the Penguins can hang with some of the better teams in the NHL as we speak.  It is to early to mention “Team Swagger”, but Wow, did they play fantastic in those five games.  Play like that, and I like the Penguins chances moving forward.

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December 2021 A White Hot Month for Wins

The Penguins had a tough block of games on their schedule against Eastern Conference teams (Dec06-31st).  On Dec 06th I wrote, “how this ten-game block will be a tell-tale sign of where the Penguins were heading in 2022”.  My Pens Picks;  For this pivotal block of games, I’m thinking the Penguins go: 7 Wins, 3 Losses.  Time will tell.

Now, at the time of the NHL Covid Christmas shutdown break, the Penguins had won 7 in a row.  I had predicted they would go 7-3, and at the shutdown, they had already won 5.  With 5 games remaining, in this all-important block of games, it is easy to determine that the Penguins would have won at least two more games (if not more), making my prediction spot on, again.

I saw that block of 10 games against the Eastern Conference teams, like an approaching iceberg.  Can the Penguins Win, in essence, dodging the oncoming iceberg and remain in the Playoff hunt or will they lose and like the Titanic, crash into the iceberg, sinking in the standings.

Well, with a seven-game winning streak, they dodged the oncoming iceberg and remain in the Playoff hunt.  With the NHL postponing Games and not going to the Olympics, it appears the Penguins must navigate around a few more icebergs ahead.  The Penguins closed out the month, with a 17-8-5 Record.

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Up to January 25.2022 and the Wins keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’…

The Penguins started January, where they left off in December, and that was white hot.  The team kept its roll going, coming out of the Christmas / Covid Break, going 9 wins 2 losses so far in January 2022.  7 of those 9 wins were Pure Wins and great games to watch.  Oh, and by the way, the Pens are currently on a 5-game winning streak, as we speak.

The Penguins won with Offense, Defense, Because of Jarry and Won Ugly, all in the first 25 days of the Month.  Wowza.

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As of January 25.2022

26.10.5 = 57 Points

2nd in the Metropolitan Division (Up from 7th Place in Oct)

4th in the Eastern Conference (Up from 13th Place in Oct)

5th in the NHL overall (Up from 22nd overall in Oct)

Pittsburgh Penguins are holding the #2 Playoff Spot in the Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference)

The Penguins Just Win Baby

No matter where the game is played, The Pittsburgh Penguins Win.

The Penguins Win at Home: 12.5.2

The Penguins Win on the Road: 14.5.3

The Penguins Score Goals

The Penguins rank 7th overall in the NHL in Goals Scored 137. (Up from 15th overall in Oct) (This is a good trend, and primarily due to getting players back from the IR)

The Penguins rank 9th overall in the NHL in Average Goals Scored Per Game, with 3.34.

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The Penguins Don’t Allow Goals

The Penguins rank 5th overall in the NHL in Goals Allowed 104. (Up from 18th overall in Oct)

(This is a good trend, and primarily due to the awesome Team Defense and the amazing play of Goaltender Tristan Jarry.)

The Penguins Team GAA is 2.54, 3rd overall in the NHL.

The Penguins Team Save % is .921%, 3rd overall in the NHL.

Jarry 22 Wins – 2nd overall in the NHL.

Jarry .928 Save % – 2nd overall in the NHL.

Jarry 2.09 GAA  – 3rd overall in the NHL.

Jarry 3 Shut Outs – 3rd overall in the NHL.

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The Penguins Kill Penalties

The Penguins Penalty Kill is 89.1%, 1st overall in the NHL.  The schemes they are using, are working wonders.   Fun to watch.  (Was 1st overall in Oct)

The Pittsburgh Penguins rank 31st overall in the NHL for Penalties taken with 280 penalty minutes.  This translates to an average of 6.8 Penalty Minutes per game and ranks second last in the NHL.

The Penguins Limit Their Penalties and kill off the ones they have.  Remember the Penguins killed off 40 consecutive penalties in a row over 15 games, until New Jersey scored on Dec19.2021

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The Penguins Win the Battle of Turnovers

The Penguins D-Zone Giveaways

The Penguins averaged 25th overall in the NHL for Defensive Zone Giveaways. (Up from 29th overall in Oct)

The Penguins O-Zone Giveaways

The Penguins averaged 24th overall in the NHL for Offensive Zone Giveaways. (Down from 23rd overall in Oct) (This is a good trend)

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Penguin Percentages

Based on their body of work to date, as of Jan 25.22, the Penguins have a

99.70% chance of making the Playoffs (at the end of Nov.2021 it was at 72.7%)

61.30% chance of getting out of the First Round (at the end of Nov.2021 it was at 34.6%)

16.20% chance of getting making it to the Finals (at the end of Nov.2021 it was at 17%)

8.20% chance of Winning the Stanley Cup (at the end of Nov.2021 it was at 4.4%)

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With 2 weeks left in the NFL Season, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a 3% chance of making the 2022 NFL Postseason.  They needed to win both of their games and also needed many other things to go there way.  They did and it did and the Steelers made the 2022 NFL Playoffs.  It can happen.

The Penguins play a puck precision style of game that is condusive to a playoff team.  All players are healthy now and pulling in the same direction, following the same game plan and executing that plan to perfection.  I can’twait for the playoffs to begin.

My View from the Cheap Seats

As we speak, we are now at the half way point of the season.  The Pittsburgh Penguins are right back in the Race for the Stanley Cup.  The Pens are a mere 3 points out of First Place in the Metropolitan Division, with 2 games in hand on the New York Rangers and the annual NYR collapse is yet to come.

Based on the Penguins body of work to date we have recently witnessed some absolutely fantastic hockey by this team.  The Team can Score, Play D and win the Turnover battle.  I love it.

The Penguins are trending in the right direction.  There are many reasons why this is happening,  as you can see, by looking at the numbers.  Let’s Go Pens.

Quote of the Day:

“I just wish people would realize that anything is possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.”

Terry Fox – Amputee Runner – Marathon of Hope