Since losing nine out of 10 games in late October and into November, the Penguins have bounced back significantly. Following that 10-game segment of the schedule, the team has gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and strangely enough, they’re creeping back towards the top of the division.
Diving into some data that looks into the Penguins shot volume and similar metrics might give us a little bit of an answer as to whether the Penguins are actually playing well right now or not. Data viz wizard Sean Tierney has aggregated some data that helps the average reader understand some of this stuff easier than looking at the raw numbers.
As you can see, the corners of this chart give you some guidance as to where you want your team/players to show up. The Penguins are in good position here because they allow fewer 5v5 shots than average, but perhaps more importantly, they produce more 5v5 shots than well-above average. For a team built with skill and speed, you always want that motor going.
This chart shows Expected Goals For and Goals Against. Pittsburgh’s rate is not as good as Carolina or New Jersey within the division, but it’s still among the top-10 in the NHL.
Falling in line with your expectations is always good. Looking around the Metro division, Columbus and Philadelphia are dead even in the middle, so they kind of are what they appear to be, the Capitals are overperorming a little.
As far as I am concerned, this visualization describes exactly what has plagued the Penguins this season. In terms of shot attempts, pace, shooting percentage, expected goals, and actual goals, the Penguins rank very well among the other teams in the NHL. They just need a goaltender who can make a save from time to time.