The Pittsburgh Penguins have just passed the half way point of their season. Game 41, was an ugly 3-2 shootout win against the Winnipeg Jets. So, with 26 wins in the books, I thought is would be a good time, to have a look at how and why those W’s happen. What trends are appearing, when the Penguins win.
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)
So, in November, after the Penguins had won 5 -games, I wanted to see what trends were appearing in those Penguin victories.
I wrote how English philosopher, Sir Francis Bacon is coined with the Latin saying, “Scientia Potentia Est” (or “knowledge is power“). I agree with him and added, “Knowledge is Power but useless if not applied”.
I wrote, if you can see the trends, have the knowledge and intel, you hold great power. However, you have to act on and apply that knowledge, in order to get results. These 5 games provided a glimpse into what would become the “magic formula”, the Penguins needed to do to win.
Let’s dive into the 26 Wins, and create the updated version of the “Magic Formula” for a Penguin Win.
When The Penguins Score First, They Win
The Penguins scored First in 21 of the 26 games they won. Scoring first means the opposition is chasing the game right away. The Penguins average 4.23 goals per game when the win.
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.
It stands to reason, when you score more, you win more.
The Penguins Don’t Allow Goals
When the Penguins win, they average 1.69 goals against. Jarry, in his 22 wins, gives up 1.68 goals per game.
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.
Looking at the Jarry Goalie Grid – from the shooter perspective
9% High Blocker
16% HIgh Glove
19% Five Hole
13% Low Blocker
5% Low Glover
6% Empty Net
Jarry is showing no weakness between the pipes and playing All-World right now.
The Penguins Out Shoot their Opposition
The Penguins averaged 34.19 Shots per game, when they win. More pucks to the net, means more potential of pucks going in. It also speaks to the Penguins having puck possession.
The Penguins Win More Faceoffs than their Opposition
The Penguins averaged 51.54% in Faceoffs Won, on average per game, in the 26 games they have won. They rank 12th overall in the NHL at 50.7% in Faceoffs Won, on average per game. (Up from 18th overall in Oct) Win the draw, own the puck.
The Penguins Block the Opposition Shots
The Penguins averaged 13.76 Blocked Shots in the games they won. Blocking shots is good and all, however it does speak again, to puck possession or lack thereof. If your team is always blocking the opposition shots, it means you do not have the puck. A good trend for helping their goalie see less direct shots on goal.
The Penguins get their Shots Blocked
The Penguins averaged 12.84 of their Shots Blocked, in the games they won. Having your shots blocked does speak to your team having the puck, which is a good trend. However not getting the puck on the net is a challenge for all teams in the NHL right now
Passing the puck, tape to tape, is hugely important for the shot to actually hit the net, let alone snipe a goal. Always remember, three passes equal a scoring opportunity. The Penguins are a good and strong passing team and are always looking for creative ways to score goals.
The Penguins Win the Battle of the Turnovers
In games the Penguins win, they turn the puck over 7.58 times per game.
The Penguins force their opposition to turn the puck over 7.88 times per game. We will keep an eye on this trend.
The Penguins D-Zone Giveaways
The Penguins rank 25th overall in the NHL for Defensive Zone Giveaways. (Up from 29th overall in Oct). We will keep an eye on this trend.
The Penguins O-Zone Giveaways
The Penguins averaged 24th overall in the NHL for Offensive Zone Giveaways. (Down from 23rd overall in Oct)
The Penguins are causing Offside
The Penguins Rank 9th overall in the NHL for causing the opposition to become Offside. The Penguins causing the opposition to be offside is an Offensive Disruptor. Offside completely breaks down the opposition’s offensive flow, stops play, and allows the Pens to re-set their defensive alignment or change players. (Up from 28th overall in Oct) Stand ‘em up at the blueline, I always say.
The Penguins Penalty Kill
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
The Penguins Can Win Any Way
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.
The Penguins Can Win Any Where
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
Penguin Red Flags – Keep and Eye on these trends
The Penguins are being Out Hit by their Opposition
The Penguins averaged 24.38 Hits in the games they won. We have talked about this before. Hitting opponents causes mental errors over time. The fact is, the Penguins are being out hit by their opponent, in an attempt to slow them down, yet the Penguins are winning games.
The Penguins are Icing the Puck More
The Penguins rank 5th overall in icing the puck. While I agree that if you are in trouble in your own end, you should ice the puck and re-set. However, if this is happening to often, it speaks about lack of puck possession and your team will be scored on eventually. It is simply the law of averages. (Up from 11th overall in Oct)
The Penguins Opposition are Icing the Puck Less
The Penguins rank 18th overall in the NHL, causing their opposition to ice the puck. I love this stat. It means your team has the possession of the puck and is creating so much sustained offensive zone pressure, the opposition must ice the puck to get relief. This will eventually lead to scoring opportunities. (Down from 12th overall in Oct) Meaning the Penguins are not causing as much grief for the opposition, or the Penguins are simply scoring the goal.
The Penguins are not staying Onside
The Penguins Rank 6th overall in the NHL in Offside. What that means is, the Penguins are getting caught being offside, when entering the Offensive Zone. This disrupts their offensive flow and potential creativity, when entering the offensive zone. (Up from 19th overall in Oct)
The Penguins Power Play
The Penguins Power Play of converting at 17.7%, 26th overall in the NHL. Amazing, given the All-World talent on the PP. (Was 26th overall in Oct)
My View from the Cheap Seats
When you look at the numbers when the Penguins win, you can see a lot of good things about the Penguins game overall. There are a few trends to watch going forward. It’s never going to be perfect.
However, that said, based on the Penguins body of work up until now, we have now determined how they must play in order to win. We have created, “The Penguins Magic Formula to Win”.
Remember what I said earlier, “Knowledge is Power but useless if not applied”.
Now, the Penguins know what needs to be done, can they apply this knowledge and execute for more wins in the second half of the season. I can’t wait to watch and see. Let’s Go Pens.
Quote of the Day:
John Wooden – Coach UCLA Basketball