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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Wild

After a dreadful weekend against Columbus and New Jersey, the Penguins looked like the Penguins again, beating the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-3.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Evgeni Malkin, you guys. A four-point night for Malkin was a thing to see, the power play did what it was supposed to do (two goals!!).

Lines and Pairings

Rob Scuderi and Nick Bonino had both been sick through the last few days and were given the night off. Adam Clendening got his second start as a Penguin, and Sergei Plotnikov found his way back into the lineup. The Penguins forward depth was as evident as ever, seeing as how Eric Fehr was able to slide up into the 3rd line center role, Matt Cullen was able to stick at his 4th line center role, and no one skips a beat. When Bonino is healthy, Fehr slots down to a 4th line wing instead of a center.

Highlights

Positives

Good start. Malkin drawing the defenders at the top of the offensive zone, leaving lots of space for Perron to crash the net was great.

The power play being a functioning unit. Two goals in one game, what a world.

Evgeni Malkin. Ridiculous night for this guy. Two goals, one of which I think we're gonna see on the 'best goals' countdowns at the end of the year.  Oh, and he clowned the Wild at the end of the 2nd period and they got mad about it.

Negatives

Olli Maatta. I'm just hoping the kid is okay. No idea where he ultimately ended up being injured, but what a dirty and reckless hit from Nino Niederreiter that was. Reckless on its own merits, compounded by the bench door being opened. I have no idea why Niederreiter even hit him there. What a pissbaby.

As of this morning, Olli Maatta is still hospitalized, per Dave Molinari from the Post-Gazette.

The ridiculous coaches challenge system the NHL is using. Mike Yeo was able to challenge the goal call on Malkin's PPG, suggested that Devan Dubnyk was interfered with by Patric Hornqvist. Hornqvist bumped Dubnyk, yes, but I think a full 5-10 seconds transpired between then and when Malkin shot the puck. Dubnyk could have made a sandwich in that time. Should coaches be able to challenge? Absolutely. Should referees use their discretion right off the top and say 'lol no' when they want to challenge something like that? Absolutely. Dubnyk was a pissbaby about it anyway and whined about how it shouldn't have been a goal.

The penalty kill. Maybe moreso the penalties that were called. The Penguins had a 4-1 lead. After the Maatta injury, they started to play kinda stupid. A few bad calls, a few unnecessary penalties (Looking at you, Ian Cole). The power play situations got the Wild back in the game, but ultimately ended up being a non-issue.

David Perron tried to or perhaps successfully did bite Nate Prosser? Maybe discipline will come of this? Why do that?

Stats

Wild Penguins
Goals 3 (Granlund, Spurgeon, Koivu) 4 (Perron, Malkin, Bennett, Malkin)
Shots on Goal 29 29
5v5 Corsi For Percentage 50.0% 50.0%

Incredible. Shots on goal dead even. Even strength shot attempts dead even. Each teams with two power play goals.

The flatline after the Minnesota goal to tie the game isn't too surprising or uncommon, but it's nice to see how they got their game back together and put their foot back on the throttle to take control of the possession, and ultimately, the game.

Analytics

Even Strength Shot Attempts

Power Play Shot Attempts

Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.

All seven goals in the game, at even strength and power play, scored from the 'home plate' scoring area. It's like the Penguins and the Wild both remembered how to hockey at the same time.

Even strength chances led by Minnesota, special teams chances led by Pittsburgh. A really evenly played game all around.

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:

Pominville, Granlund, and Vanek did good work, but the Penguins depth earned their pay against Brodin and Dumba.

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

Tough night for the bottom six. Hard to judge any of the defensive matchup stuff, seeing as the Pens played a man short for over half the game.

5v5 Individual Shot Charts provided by War on Ice

Okay, so a few thoughts here. Sidney Crosby's line put in a hell of a job, despite not showing up on the score sheet.

That second line synergy!  Daniel Sprong, yikes. Play Ian Cole and Adam Clendening together forever.

Line-by-line Corsi data provided by Hockey Stats

The Penguins are off tonight, before hosting the Colorado Avalanche Thursday evening as part of a 4-game homestandd.