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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Maple Leafs

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The Penguins hosted the Toronto Maples Leafs on Saturday night, looking to keep their winning trends alive, and did so by a score of 2-1.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it's my brain or convoluted sense of math, but a 2-3 record feels approximately 1000 times better than a 1-4 record. That's where we stand. After starting the season with 3 losses, the Penguins have strung together two wins a row, against the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A win is a win. Onto the next one.

Highlights

Positives

Phil! (and Crosby and Kunitz) They didn't score a goal, but holy shit, they were buzzing all night long. Several good scoring chances between the three of them.

Early start. The Penguins came out firing, netting back-to-back goals in approximately 40 seconds. They used that early start to their advantage, and that minute stretch netted the Penguins their win.

Evgeni Malkin looks great and looks like himself. Everyone knows that look, when he takes the puck in the defensive zone, and 'swoops' through the neutral zone. You can tell he is feeling it. He was really feeling it on his goal. Nice attempt to stop him by Mark Arcobello, no just kidding, that was terrible. Fantastic snipe by Malkin. He also had a fantastic play going forward with a draw in the second period, setting up Patric Hornqvist at point-blank range, but Jonathan Bernier made one of the best saves I've seen in a long time.

With the goalie pulled for the Maple Leafs with under 2 minutes in the game, they took a penalty for Too Many Men on the Ice...meaning they had seven players on the ice. Having been at the game live, I was watching, and just said, 'there's like way too many people on the ice right now' and then the whistle blew. Funny stuff.

Negatives

The win wasn't very pretty, but I won't complain about two points in the bank, especially after an 0-3 start.

The power play is still hot garbage. I believe they have now had sixteen straight man advantages without scoring a goal. To make matters worse, they often give up shorthanded shots and chances. It's time to decline the penalty, I think.

If 'Getting Jammed Up' were an analytic or advanced stat, Dion Phaneuf would lead the league in this category without a doubt.

Stats

Maple Leafs Penguins
Goals 1 (Komarov) 2 (Malkin, Maatta)
SOG 27 33
EV CF% 41.9% 58.1%


Analytics

Pens Leafs Shots

The Leafs stuck with the Penguins as much as they could. Mid-way through the third period, with the Leafs looking for a goal, the Penguins managed to keep everything in the Toronto end and shut down the game.

Shot Attempt Chart Pens Leafs

Six blocked shots alone from the one faceoff circle area. That's silly. Bernier seemed to settle in after that Maatta goal and played well enough to keep the Leafs alive.

Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.

Another game with quality scoring chances in front of the net. Embarrassing special teams however. I mean, come on. Look at the special teams (diamonds) for Toronto and then look at Pittsburgh. With the current personnel, they should have way more quality scoring chances on the power play.

It's nice to see the quality chances in front of the net, though. One can assume that the giant square in front of the net is the chance that Hornqvist got robbed on.

Expected Goals map provided by Don't Tell Me About Heart.

A refresher of the key for these charts (except the diamonds are now circles)

More information and description/analysis of Expected Goals can be found here on Hockey Graphs.

In the previous post here using these charts for the first time, I mentioned how it factors in things like shot quality. A more detailed list of what factors into that shot quality is below:

The post goes significantly into greater detail with many other variables regarding what makes it a better predictor than shot attempts and goals.

Kessel, Crosby, and Kunitz went to town against Nick Spaling, Daniel Winnik and Joffrey Lupul, as well as Matt Hunwick and Morgan Rielly. Matt Hunwick sucks.

These head-to-head charts are great, and a good way to see how certain players fare against other pairings or lines, etc.

H2H Chart via Muneeb Alam from Japers' Rink

Player Shots Pens Leafs

That top forward line and top defensive pairing, man. Ian Cole and Kris Letang look like they've become very comfortable playing together, and that is fantastic.

5v5 Individual Shot Charts provided by WAR on Ice

Pens Leafs Forwards

Good lord, Crosby and Kessel. and Hornqvist. and Plotnikov.

Phil Kessel had a great game, a nice Corsi For percentage to show for it.

Pens Leafs D

Olli Maatta, the Finnish God of being immune to an anchor? I don't know.

Line-by-line Corsi data provided by Hockey Stats

I'm becoming a big fan of Kevin Porter, more and more by the game. He does everything you should want a depth player to do. He looks fantastic on the penalty kill as well.

Not too many negatives to take away from this game. If this is March and the playoffs are creeping up, style points might come into play, but six games into the season, style points mean nothing to me.  Like I had said previously, it wasn't pretty, but two points are two points and it's onto the next one. Hopefully the Penguins can keep their winning ways intact when the Florida Panthers come to town on Tuesday.