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Penguins’ first-half struggles could be mitigated by second-half schedule strength

The Penguins have struggled early on this season, but there are reasons to think it can improve in the second half

Pittsburgh Penguins v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins have officially reached the halfway point of the 2017-18 campaign, in which they are attempting to again defend their Stanley Cup title. As it stands, the team sits with 44 points in their 41 games played, one point out of a Wild Card Playoff position, also sitting in 7th place in the Metropolitan Division.

None of this sounds great, but the way the NHL schedule makers and format of games have been presented this season, the Penguins well-documented struggles still have afforded them time to figure themselves out.

The reason that the Penguins have time still is that there is so many games to be played in which they can make up ground in their own division and conference.

At this point, of their 41 games played:

  • 10 games played against the Metropolitan Division, with a 7-3 record in these games. Zero of the 10 games played have come against the New Jersey Devils, who sit second in the division. They've only played the Islanders and Hurricanes once, and no team in the division more than twice.
  • 11 games played against the Atlantic Division
  • A whopping 19 games against the teams from the Western Conference, with several of the teams in-season series already being completed.

Sure, the division matchup games may feature the rivalries where games can be tougher or more physical, but given the Penguins success against those teams this season so far, there’s reason to feel optimistic about what will come in the next few months.

Just sing the first line here for now. Be positive, my friends.