The Leafs are not supposed to win much this year, just like Buffalo Sabres last season. The ultimate prize they want this season is a high draft pick. On the way to that goal, they also want to trade away most of their soon-to-be unrestricted free agents at the trade deadline to collect even more draft picks. The ideal game for them:
- Play sound hockey that keeps tilting the ice in their favour, but lacks talent to win the game
- Solid play, goals, and assists for the Leafs players they want to trade
Babcock: "To me we didn’t look like anything we practiced or anything we’re trying to do so tonight was disappointing for me."— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) November 1, 2015
Lines and Pairings
Eric Fehr name pun. I'm in love. One goal, and one assist in his Penguins debut and a strong performance even beyond those point totals.
Secondary Scoring. Scary Halloween idea: the Penguins bottom 6 dressed up as Craig Adams, Zach Sill, Tanner Glass, Max Lapierre. That didn't happen yesterday, and they combined for 3 of the 4 goals.
Marc-Andre Fleury is one of the best goalies in the league so far.
Fleury's GAA (1.71) and save percentage (.941) are both his career-best numbers after first 10 starts of a season.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) November 1, 2015
The 5 minute power play. At that time, it would have been the difference between a 1-0 game, and a 2-0 game. While the game ended in a comfortable 4-0, ideally you score when given such an opportunity. But with their PPG against the Sabres, the Penguins did manage to break this streak:
Pens have gone 16 reg-season GP without scoring PPG in consecutive games. Last: March 28 vs. Arizona, March 29 vs. San Jose.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) October 31, 2015
The D pairs. You could make a case that Lovejoy and Dumoulin have been the Penguins best D pair recently. While that's nice, it also says something about the performance from the other two pairings. From Emmanuel Perry (@mannyElk), a look at each pairings CF% per period in last night's game:
|Pairing||1st period||2nd period||3rd period|
|Cole - Letang||33.33 CF%||16.67 CF%||55.56 CF%|
|Dumoulin - Lovejoy||30 CF%||75 CF%||37.50 CF%|
|Maatta - Scuderi||33 CF%||42.86 CF%||57.14 CF%|
It's never good when your first pairing struggles like this through the first two periods of a game, and with Cole and Letang it's turning into a trend. Rutherford hinted at Pouliot returning from the AHL in the near future, so the D pairings will maybe see a makeover soon regardless of their performance. It's looking like a much needed one.
|Shots on Goal||21||32|
|Even Strength Corsi For Percentage||50%||50%|
The Penguins were up 3-0 by the middle of the 2nd period. Instead of sitting back and allowing the other team to get back into the game (which they were guilty of in their last couple games), they kept pushing, made it 4-0, and controlled play for the rest of the game.
Even Strength Shot Attempts
Power Play Shot Attempts
Both the Penguins and Leafs had around 7 minutes of power play time. While the Penguins managed quite a few shots, 7 of them came from the 2nd PP unit (who also scored the PP goal). The Penguins had 10 shot attempts on the PP. Perron had 4, Hornqvist 2, and Kunitz/Maatta/Malkin/Bonino each had one.
Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.
Penguins earned their win. In the third period, the Leafs seemed to have given up already. Considering the 4-0 lead, and it being their 2nd game on a back-to-back, maybe not very surprising.
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)
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:
A basic description on how to read these charts: Cross reference a player from each team, and that box shows how many shot attempts each team had while those two players shared ice time.
For a refresher on how to read these charts, a write-up with descriptions of what colors mean, which lines to read, and more: H2H Corsi Chart Primer
This shows how thin the Leafs are on talent. Even considering the 4-0 result, a good performance by their 1st line. But beyond that? Not much more. Especially a certain ex-Penguin had a rough, rough game.
McCurdy is doing great work, and one part of that are these charts that are adjusted for score effects (= teams attempting more shots when they trail, less when they lead). Consider supporting his work - more info about it here. For help reading them, you can just easily look into what word is in each corner: Good - Fun - Bad - Dull.
The Penguins are for the most part on the right side of the red line. Not Ian Cole's best game.
5v5 Individual Shot Charts provided by War on Ice
Babcock's impact on the Leafs has been immediate. The Leafs have gone from constantly being outshot in prior seasons to having one of the best shot attempts differentials in the league so far. The only thing missing currently is the talent to score enough goals, and good goaltending. Meanwhile, the Penguins had a couple rough games and have been trending in the wrong direction, despite the wins. This game is what a team like the Penguins should be able to do to a team like the Maple Leafs. Now to see if they can build on it.