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Past 3 games a preview of a Gonchar-less Penguins team?

Sergei Gonchar, resident #1 defenseman on the Pittsburgh Penguins for the five years he's been here, has missed the last three games due to an illness. He's expected to be back soon - probably by Wednesday - but his absence has given the Penguins a sneak peak of what life without Gonch would be like.

Sans Sarge, a lot is going to fall to young defensemen Kris Letang and Alex Goligoski. And that hasn't disappointed yet. Let's look at some particulars over these past three games. It's a very small sample size, but some trends are beginning to emerge.

In the last three games...

  • 2-0-1 --the team's record
  • 15.4% --power play rate (2 for 13)
  • 25:12 -- average ice-time per game for Letang (season average is 21:30)
  • 23:34 -- average ice-time per game for Goligoski (season average is 21:27)
  • 16 -- Letang's shots on goal (5.33 a game)...2.44 is his season average per game
  • 6 -- Goligoski's SOG (2 per game)...1.38 is his season average per game
  • +1 -- combined plus/minus of the two players in this stretch
  • 0 -- points the two players have combined for

So Goligoski and Letang are getting a lot more playing time, and combined they're throwing a lot more rubber to the net than they have been this season.  But they haven't produced any points, and Gonchar's scored an average of .798 points/game during his stint as a Pittsburgh Penguin.  The young players are going to have to get on the scoreboard, but for now they're doing quite well at filling the gaps and keeping the momentum going.