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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Panthers

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The Penguins hosted the Florida Panthers on Tuesday evening, looking to continue their win streak to three games, coming off wins against the Senators and the Maple Leafs. They were able to continue their winning ways with a 3-2 win in overtime.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins are 3-3. The sky was falling, or maybe it fully fell. But after starting their season with 3 losses, they have now won 3 games in a row and are back at .500

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both look amazing, Phil Kessel scored another goal.

Things are right in the world.

Highlights

Positives

The Penguins scored a power play goal. Yes, you read that correctly. Their cold streak of not scoring with the man advantage ended at 17 opportunities. Oh and Sidney Crosby ended his 'slump' to start the season simulataneously and, it was a beautiful one.

The Penguins power play in general was much better. They followed up their first power play with a second, that looked just as great, but no goal on that one.

One lucky fan took home a souvenir. This is in addition to the Selfie Stick Giveaway

Holy hell, Crosby.

Phil! Kessel goals will always be a positive.

Negatives

Awful start and awful first 10 minutes. Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Penguins afloat for many chances where the Penguins were hemmed in their own end.

Allowing two Panthers goals to tie the game at 2-2. It ultimately for now is a moot point, as a 3-point game against a non-divisional team isn't that big of a deal, provided one point doesn't decide wild card. vs missing the playoffs. For now it's a non-factor.

Dirty kind of hit by Kris Letang on Reilly Smith. He should know better than to hit players in these types of positions, given his own concussion history.

Whatever the hell this NHL Replay Challenge system is. I don't think anyone knows what is able to be challenged and what isn't. Gerard Gallant wanted to challenge everything. After the Penguins scored in Overtime, at least 2 minutes were spent reviewing a play, that apparently is an automatic review and not a challenge? I don't know. But it's absurd.

Stats

Panthers Penguins
Goals 2 3
Shots on Goal 33 35
Even Strength Corsi For Percentage 52.2% 47.8%


A very even and back-and-forth type game, in terms of one team controlling shot attempts. Neither team was able to get away from the other, save for the first few minutes of the second period, where the Penguins came out flying.

Analytics

Even Strength Shot Attempts

I don't know if it's a system thing that the Panthers were playing that is vastly different from others, but it feels like the Penguins were able to get more shots through and not having them blocked like they had in previous recent games.

Power Play Shot Attempts

No, you're crying. This is what a power play performance is supposed to look like, especially when you have the personnel that the Penguins do.

The 4-on-3 unit in Overtime deprived us of 3-on-3 hockey, but I don't think many will complain. They were precise. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang. They pushed in from all four corners, shrinking the size of the PK's 3-man box, rotated Letang and Malkin to where they preferred to be, and letting Malkin fire bombs from his spot is never ever a bad idea.

Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.

Those special teams for the Penguins though! I like how a majority of the Penguins xG came from in the net-front area, while many of the Panthers chances were limited to long-range and low-scoring areas.

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:

Crosby, Kunitz, and Kessel went to town on the pairing of Willie Mitchell and Erik Gudbranson, my word. In fairness, the line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Jaromir Jagr did the same damn thing to Brian Dumoulin and Ben Lovejoy. Woof. Olli Maatta and Rob Scuderi got brutally punished by the Panthers second line of Dave Bolland, Jussi Jokinen, and Reilly Smith too.

H2H Chart via Muneeb Alam from Japers' Rink

5v5 Individual Shot Charts provided by WAR on Ice

Kris Letang and Ian Cole continue to be fabulous works of art together.

Bobby Farnham should log off forever.

Strong game from Sergei Plotnikov. If there's one downside to his game that I've noticed, it seems like he needs to rely on his teammates a bit more on the rush, but I would be drawn to chalk that up to still getting used to smaller North American ice and not having as much room to create on your own.

Line-by-line Corsi data provided by Hockey Stats

Three straight wins to try and erase the bad start from three straight losses against teams that you should beat at home. The Penguins will host the Dallas Stars (which seems odd, considering we just played them two weeks ago on the road to open the season) on Thursday night before heading to Nashville to face off against the Predators on Saturday night.

If the power play can keep clicking like they did against the Panthers, maybe this whole 'winning' thing might work out after all.