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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Kings

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The Kings are trash. The Penguins played well enough to get a point in the shootout, and fought back in the game while doing so.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Lines and Pairings

Kris Letang out of the lineup with an upper-body injury. Rob Scuderi back in the lineup taking his place. Sigh.

Highlights

Positives

Better shot differential this time around with the Kings. We weren't outshot by 15 shots halfway through the game, so that's progress.

Resolve. The Kings were playing like trash, and the Penguins seemingly decided they weren't going to take it anymore, and came back and punched the Kings right in the mouth. Literally. Evgeni Malkin took a cheap slash to the knee from behind by Jeff Carter, so he got up and punched him in the face three times. I have said here and in numerous other places, I am anti-fighting in hockey and do not advocate fighting, but I do advocate defending yourself and if a guy takes a cheap shot at you, I have no problem with getting one back. Fuck the Kings.

Great tying goal. Malkin and Crosby both looked like they had the goal with the extra attacker and that's great.

OT player usage. Mike Johnston makes some bizarre player usage decisions, but he made all the right ones in the 3v3. Crosby, Kessel, Malkin, Perron, Kunitz, and Bennett were the only forwards to hit the ice during the 5 minute period, I believe.

Jonathan Quick was incredible, as much as I dislike him.

Negatives

Ian Cole literally died. He was trying to play defense against Tanner Pearson on the first goal for the Kings. It didn't go well.

Officiating. Much to be desired from the crew from last night's game. I'm not saying he deserved this, but hey

There were no rules last night for the Kings. Truly impressive.

Jordan Nolan being allowed to push an official without even a penalty is incredible. At least Dustin Brown got a stern talking to from the referee at the next whistle.

Again, not even a minor 2-minute penalty. Truly incredible. Brayden McNabb is a pissbaby. I vaguely remember him taking a run at Malkin last year when the Kings and Penguins played.

Double standards for coaching. Daniel Sprong barely played last night.

Okay, so here is where I take issue with this. I have zero problem with Mike Johnston holding players accountable when they aren't performing up to task, aren't playing well, or aren't doing specific things you have asked them to do. That's a good thing. But are any other players being held accountable and their ice time being sacrificed because of poor defensive coverage?

Why is Rob Scuderi excused from poor defensive play and inserted back into the lineup after each game he is scratched? Why is Adam Clendening punished for 12-15 games every time he makes a defensive mistake? This team does not have the horses to play the defensive style of hockey that Mike Johnston is trying to make them play, and players are suffering as a result.

I feel like this a recipe for failure with an 18-year old hockey player in the NHL. The message has been sent that if Daniel Sprong makes a mistake, his ice time is going to suffer. He's going to be pressured to make the perfect play every time he's on the ice, instead of just going out and playing hockey, something he has been doing his whole entire life. Focusing on not making a mistake is going to suck the fun and talent out of his game, the things that allowed him to make this roster as an 18-year old.

Stats

Kings Penguins
Goals 2 (Pearson, Muzzin) 2 (Fehr, Malkin)
Shots on Goal 40 42
5v5 Corsi For Percentage 53.3% 46.7%

Analytics

Better than what we have seen against the Kings, especially considering the Penguins were missing Kris Letang.

Even Strength Shot Attempts

Again, better than what I expected against this Kings team.

Power Play Shot Attempts

Let us never talk about these power plays for these teams again.

Shot attempt charts provided by War on Ice.

Expected Goals

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:

Head-to-Head Shot Attempts

Not a stellar night for any individual line or airing for the Penguins, aside from what Fehr-Bonino-Hornqvist did.

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

Individual Shot Attempts

Not a great night for Pittsburgh in this regard, but the Kings are so dominant in possession at times, you don't expect them to have games above 50% against them.

Individual Shot Attempts Charts via War on Ice

Line-by-Line Shot Attempts

Individual Player Corsi Data via Hockey Stats

A very middling kind of game against the Kings for the Penguins last night. Some moments of fun, some bad defensive moments, a whole lot of....meh.  Which is kind of how the Penguins have been playing in general for the most part.

The Penguins are now looking at 4 games in the next eight days, starting with a matchup against division rival Washington Capitals, followed by a home-and-home with everyone's favorite, the Boston Bruins, before finishing with the Carolina Hurricanes.