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Underlying numbers suggesting Penguins are moving in the right direction

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Some hope on a Monday

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With 22 games down, the Pittsburgh Penguins have pulled past the quarter-pole of the 2018-19 season. A rough stretch in November has left them in shaky positioning with just a 9-8-5 record.

Despite only winning nine of 22 games, the Pens may be trending in the upward direction though if you look into some advanced metrics.

Take shot share and expected goal pace. Pittsburgh is inching up towards the top 5 in the league for both metrics, indicating they’re doing well to control play and generate dangerous scoring chances relative to the rest of the league.

One item that has saved the Pens so far is having a good shooting percentage. They’ve been shooting close to 10% just about all season.

Luckily, it looks like the 5v5 shooting percentage last year for Sidney Crosby was a painful but temporary outlier, as the only season in his career that was below double digits. Crosby’s shooting % this year is almost twice as high, rebounding from 7.14% last year to 13.04% currently.

(From Natural Stat Trick)

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One other quick point - tomorrow night both Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang make a pretty cool impact on all-time Pittsburgh Penguin history.

Check out the franchise total games played from hockey-reference:

Malkin will take over #3 all-time, passing Jaromir Jagr with game #807 in a Pens jersey.

Kris Letang will pass Brooks Orpik with Pittsburgh career game #704, to set a new franchise-high for games played as a defenseman.

Also, up at the top, Crosby is now just 32 games behind Mario Lemieux for first place all time in this category.

Pretty cool that the Pens list is their Mount Rushmore: Lemieux, Crosby, Jagr and Malkin. Tough to name a more iconic group than that.