The Pittsburgh Penguins are about as healthy as they've been since the beginning of the season, but have lost their last 3 games (0-2-1) and are just 4-4-1 in the month of February. Fans are not happy with the results, and worse the team even feels more out of sync, cause for even more concern.
But we liked this twitter monologue by friend of the blog, Jason on twitter.
Pens have the 5th worst PDO (97.9) in the league since December 22nd (Use that date because I saw it thrown out last night), caused by the— Jason (@Jay32600) February 20, 2015
3rd worst SV% and 8th worst SH%. This team has outplayed their record. Neither of those numbers will stay that low long term. In past years— Jason (@Jay32600) February 20, 2015
the Pens could hide stretches like this with an elite PP, but not this year. Pens are far from the favorites in the east, but they are still— Jason (@Jay32600) February 20, 2015
PDO, for those that might not know, is basically how to tell luck in hockey. It adds the save percentage of a team plus their shooting percentage (at even strength). Almost always this evens out to 100.0 sooner or later- with some exceptions that very good players (and teams like the Penguins) routinely can exceed and sustain a 100+ PDO. Similarly, very bad teams and players can stay below the 100 mark for long periods of time, since they don't have the skill to fully bounce back to league average.
A good example of PDO is Sidney Crosby getting robbed on the doorstep by Curtis McElhinney . With all due respect to McElhinney, that's a play that can, should and probably usually ends up in the net more often than not. But it didn't this time, McElhinney made a great save and an opportunity to turn the game around for the Pens was lost.
Another point Jason mentions is the power play going cold is a huge issue too. The Penguins traditionally have leaned heavily on their PP unit to produce goals, and that has been a good strategy to have. Of course, right now in an 0 for 20 slump, the power play is letting Pittsburgh down. Worse, it's giving up goals against and doesn't look close to breaking through. That's a whole different issue, but it's one that is quite clearly costing the Pens victories right now.
The luck will come back sooner or later as long as the team trusts the process, sooner or later the results will follow. More concern should be had about what strategies, personnel usage and designs the coaching staff will come up with to get the power play on track. This isn't going to work itself out and is a major, major issue for this team right now.