The “3rd” line with Derick Brassard and Phil Kessel has seemed to find a full-time left winger. After cycling through a bunch of candidates in Brassard’s first few weeks as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Conor Sheary has added a lot in the past few games.
Brassard isn’t the coach so his vote doesn’t really count but he has definitely enjoyed Sheary on his left.
Brassard is liking linemate Conor Sheary, who sprung that pass up ice to him today. "I think Conor is really explosive out there. He can create a lot of turnovers; it's fun to watch. When you're on the ice with him and see him flying like that, you just want to keep up with him."— Angie (@acarducci) March 26, 2018
In the four games of being on the line, Sheary has 3 points (1g+2a). A somewhat modest start but for Sheary to help create 3 even strength goals in four games, that’s a good boost for the team. The more the supporting players like Sheary and Carl Hagelin can chip in, the better it will be for the star players.
Sheary’s had an uneven and shaky season. Before joining this line he had but 9 assists in 69 games, a not nice development for a player who produced 30 assists a season ago. In that context, joining Kessel has been great for Sheary who recently joined ex-Penguin Ryan Whitney on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast (NSFW language if you look it up)
“It’s awesome, he’s a hell of a player,” Sheary said of Kessel. “A lot of times I’m looking to get him the puck, he makes so many plays that people don’t see. I think you hear it a lot he’s an under-rated passer and it’s so true. If you just watch him, he gets every pass through a dman. Obviously he’s got that shot but I think his passing is crazy. So you gotta try and get open.”
If Sheary gets staying power on that line as a productive member of it, that answers a lot of questions about the Pens top-9 group and really gives them only pleasant choices to fill out the Crosby and Malkin lines with three powerful offensive lines.
From the “sounds encouraging files”
Over the course of the last 30 days, the Penguins rank:— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) March 26, 2018
5th in overall corsi-for percentage
3rd in mitigating shot attempts against per 60 at evens
3rd in overall scoring chances-for percentage
2nd in scoring chances for per 60 mins at evens
The stats of course can be sliced any way you want to view them, as I saw a tweet (forget the source, sorrey) that Pittsburgh only has 4 regulation wins in the last 14 games, which doesn’t sound that great. But, then again they’ve only lost 2 in regulation in the last 10 so you can take it how you wish.
Weekly playoff percentage update via Sports Club Stats:
- Columbus: 39.1%
- Philadelphia: 35.1%
- New Jersey: 15.1%
The Pens are currently 3 points down to the Capitals who also have a game in hand, so the race for first place isn’t looking so hot at the moment. The Pens and Caps meet next Sunday and a regulation win would tighten it up, however a regulation loss would all but assure Washington 1st place.
So it’s looking like another year of the 2 vs 3 Metropolitan Division matchup for Pittsburgh. The odds say right now it’s likely one of Philly or Columbus for the Pens first round opponent.
The Week Ahead:
The divisional games Thursday and Sunday are the most critical, the Atlantic games in between against two non-playoff teams are on paper some good chances to add more points in the standings.
Join us this Saturday evening before the Pens game!
Friends! Join us fools here at PensBurgh for a night of brews, food, and hockey as the Penguins welcome the Habs to town Saturday, March 31. We’ll be hosting a meet-up at the Souper Bowl before we head to the game, so come hang out with us and be merry. pic.twitter.com/hrVEu6qvi2— PensBurgh (@Pensburgh) March 21, 2018
Might be something post-game too, follow along with my twitter @hooks_orpik if you’re interested. Should be fun and we have all 5 Pensburgh staff writers confirmed for the pre-game so stop by and look for us. We’d love to say hello and have a great time!