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the Underlying Numbers: Penguins vs. Blue Jackets

The Penguins have won a game under head coach Mike Sullivan. This is not a drill.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Lines and Pairings

With no Sidney Crosby in the lineup due to a lower body injury, the Penguins decided to tweak their center depth a little bit to spread out the talent, and I like how they lined up. Eric Fehr, who had been playing on the wing, slid down to 4C for a game. If they find chemistry amongst lines, it gives the Penguins options.



Five goals. Yes, you read that correctly. An All-American great one from Phil the Thrill for his second goal. Hot damn. What a pass from Nick Bonino.

Shot volume. Another game for the Penguins with a good amount of shots on goal.

Shots on goal totals for each of the five games that Mike Sullivan has coached: 45, 34, 32, 38, 35.

The previous five games under Mike Johnston? 29, 20, 24, 33, 42.

Things trending in the right direction.

Evgeni Malkin escaped serious injury. Not good from Boone Jenner.

First NHL win for Matt Murray. The kid has looked very good and very stable in net for both of his starts, nice to see him get the win.

I like Scott Wilson's game. I can see why he has become a pretty good goal scorer at the AHL level. I see him making smart plays, putting himself in position to get scoring chances. I just think he lacks the touch to be an NHL goal scorer, at least right now. Still only 23 years old with just a handful of NHL games under his belt, being a productive depth player for the Penguins would be huge for both him and the team.

Trollin' Mike Sullivan. Up 5-2 with 1:00 left in the game, Sullivan sent his top power play unit out.


Dalton Prout is a fucking joke.

What a clown shoes player. Fits the bill for what has become a clown shoes organization. Another part of Tortorella's hit squad.

Giving up the first goal is still a problem. But the Penguins rallied afterwards and never looked back, really. Not going to nitpick over negatives when the Penguins deservedly win their first game after five losses in a row, some of which they didn't deserve to lose.

John Tortorella is still a gigantic pissbaby. Clown shoes. Again.


Blue Jackets Penguins
Goals 2 (Wennberg, Jenner) 5 (Malkin, Kessel, Kessel, Warsofsky, Malkin)
Shots on Goal 24 35
5v5 Corsi For Percentage 37.7% 62.3%


Even Strength Shot Attempts

Outside of the two Columbus goals, Pittsburgh did a good job of shutting down the scoring chances from the high-danger areas in front of the net. Columbus cannot say the same thing about the Penguins.

Power Play Shot Attempts

Two goals on the power play is never a bad thing. Really good work from the Penguins on the penalty kill, limiting the Blue Jackets to seven shot attempts with the man advantage, resulting in only two shots on goal.

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

Good work from all the Penguins, really. Negative differentials against a handful of players, but not enough from any specific CBJ lines or pairings to be impactful.

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

To steal (and alter) a line from Animal Farm....Penguins good, Blue Jackets bad. Ryan Murray lol.

Individual Shot Attempts Charts via War on Ice

Line-by-Line Shot Attempts

One player on the team below 50% at even strength? Yeah, that's good.

Individual Player Corsi Data via Hockey Stats

Winning is much better than losing. Hot take, I know. Several days off ahead for the Penguins before they get back at it on Saturday.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday week and a Merry Christmas.