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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Canadiens

The Penguins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in the shootout on Wednesday evening at Consol Energy Center, coming from behind in the 3rd period to do so. Whether it's regulation, overtime, or shootout, a win against the best team in the NHL right now is never a bad thing, no matter how it happens.

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Penguins played perhaps one of their worst periods of hockey this season and still came away with a victory against the best team in the NHL at this time. Getting past their terrible second period, coming out for the third trailing, tying the game, and taking it to overtime and the shootout to get the win; it feels like it could be another springboard type game that the Penguins had against the Capitals.

The Canadiens are a very good team, even without Carey Price. Mike Condon has played extremely well for them in Price's absence. It's not surprising to see a team like Montreal claw back and tie the game at 1, claw back and tie the game at 2, and then take the lead with their 3rd goal.

The Penguins are now sitting with a 10-5 record, having won 10 of their last 12 games, since starting the season 0-3.

Lines and Pairings

Highlights

Positives

Quick start. Great to see Pascal Dupuis return to the lineup after having his health scare in Edmonton, and even greater to see he and Sidney Crosby hook up for a goal just 13 seconds into the game. HE WAS SO HAPPY.

Winning the game after starting the third period trailing.

Not anymore! Although now, I am sure that the trend when these games have the Penguins trailing entering the third, the word 'regulation' will be thrown in there to keep the streak alive.

Kris Letang and Olli Maatta were paired together late in the game. They looked great together. This is a positive.

The Condon broke. Mike Condon had played very well throughout the night. He also got a little lucky with the Penguins hitting four posts in regulation and overtime, but the Penguins finally went hard enough to break Condon in the shootout.

Narrative killer, Mike Johnston. I'm not sure why there is a perception amongst Penguins fans that Mike Johnston is an emotionless coach who does nothing reactionary.

I take the 'calculated guy' quote as this: HCMJ realizes if he yells and screams all the time, his message will grow old and stale and become lost and he will be tuned out by the players. He does not want that to happen, so he saves his strong messages for when they are needed, like after that terrible second period.

PISSED OFF KRIS LETANG MADE AN ENTRANCE TO THE GAME.

Negatives

Ben Lovejoy tried to kill Marc-Andre Fleury. No really. Well, okay, he didn't try, but he almost succeeded.

Olli Maatta may have all new teeth? He took a puck to face/mouth, spent some time in the locker room and ended up coming back. Not sure how much damage he took.

Kris Letang and Olli Maatta were paired together late in the game. This is a negative because Letang and Ian Cole paired together have been baaaaaad. Cole and Rob Scuderi seemed to look good when the switch took place as well, so I am curious to see if those new pairings stick.

The third goal Fleury gave up. It was a bad one that snuck through his arm. He kinda laughed it off after the game during an NBC interview with Pierre McGuire. Nice to see that attitude towards it, but I'm sure the win helped that perspective.

Why was Andrei Markov so jammed up? What a pissbaby he can be sometimes. Hits like this are completely unnecessary.

Stats

Canadiens Penguins
Goals 3 (Markov, Gallagher, Flynn) 4 (Dupuis, Maatta, Hornqvist)
Shots on Goal 38 34
Even Strength Corsi For Percentage 53.2% 46.8%

That 2nd period is ugly for the Penguins. Yikes. But like I had said, a wonderful third period, peppering the net until they were able to get that tying goal to send it to the extra frame.

Analytics

Even Strength Shot Attempts

The Penguins may have been outshot, but a majority of their scoring chances and shot attempts came from the high danger areas in front of the net, where they forced Montreal to take many of their shots from outside and bad angles, etc.

Power Play Shot Attempts

No power play goals for the Penguins, but seeing that many shots/attempts from the high scoring areas, if they keep that up, the goals will come.

Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.

How beautiful. This is what we expected from this Penguins team and what they're truly capable of. Condon kept the game closer for the Canadiens than it could have been.

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:

Yikes, Ben Lovejoy and Brian Dumoulin got taken to the lunch by the Canadiens top line of Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, and Tomas Plekanec. Nice to see the Penguins 3rd line of Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino, and Patric Hornqvist do work against the Canadiens line of Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann, and David Desharnais though. Also, Olli Maatta and Kris Letang both putting up good numbers. Gotta play them together.

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. The + and - are from the home team's perspective.

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

H2H Chart via Muneeb Alam from Japers' Rink

Kris Letang, you guys.

5v5 Individual Shot Charts provided by War on Ice

YIKES THAT FOURTH LINE WAS BAD. Good third line though.

Evidence that Letang and Maatta were better together than any of the other pairings and combinations? Perhaps. I hope they stick with it.

Disclaimer: if the bars may look worse on one graph than another (for example, here, with Matt Cullen), they are centered around 50% to show relativity to the rest of the forwards/defensemen.

Line-by-line Corsi data provided by Hockey Stats

The Penguins are off tonight, before a back-to-back with some former foes and recent allies for the weekend. First they host game John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets at home tomorrow evening, then they square off against Ray Shero's New Jersey Devils in Newark on Saturday night. Should be a fun weekend.