Sometimes, when I look at statistics, numbers, standings, or anything like that, I try and see what I think stands out specifically.
Let’s do that for the Penguins right now.
First of all, standings.
The Penguins rank tied for 4th in the NHL with 20 points, bringing a record of 9-6-2 to the table in their 17 games played. The optics of some of the losses come across really ugly, especially when you remember the 10-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the 7-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Now, let’s not forget that all three of those games were the second leg of a back-to-back, with a backup goaltender in net, on the road. We’ll come back to this point later.
The Penguins rank middle of the pack, 16th in the league, with 45 goals scored. Nothing majorly offensive (no pun intended) here. They should be scoring more given the star power in the lineup, but it’s November and see above point about the standings.
This is where it gets ugly. Third from the bottom in goals allowed ahead of two teams who can’t defend to save their lives right now. How can this be fixed? Well, we might already have an answer to that question in Tristan Jarry, as we discussed here last week. Circle back to the three aforementioned games that combined for 24 goals allowed. Let’s hypothetically say that the Penguins only allowed three goals in each of those games, the Penguins would jump directly to the middle of the pack in the league in terms of goals allowed as well.
What does it all mean?
In the simplest way of saying it possible, the Penguins are underperforming in two aspects — in terms of finishing goals, and in terms of allowing bad goals.
Let’s look at some data here from Sean Tierney.
PDO breakdown— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) November 9, 2017
Cgy owning dull. Njd owning lucky.
Tor is all the fun. Pit is all the team we don't recognize right now. pic.twitter.com/KzPjLNoIum
This is amazing. Extremely low shooting percentage, extremely low save percentage. Combination for bad luck all around.
Chi, Lak, Njd, Van outperforming their xGF% most.— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) November 9, 2017
Pit is underperforming most and no one else is even close. pic.twitter.com/MmnIyGXzlx
And this is even more incredible. Beyond incredible, really.
So, I’ll ask the question again. Should the Penguins be concerned with their goal scoring and number of goals allowed?
Probably not. I would personally say no. Their shooting percentage and save percentages should regress to average, pucks will start finding the net, and they may have a backup goaltender who can make a save (unlike their former one) or two.
Ride the wave, folks. We’ve got a long season ahead of us.