The Penguins have combined for 357 total points this season; 132 of them, or 37%, have come off the sticks of defensemen. According to Statmuse, that’s good for sixth-best in the NHL so far in 2021-22.
But during the Penguins’ current losing streak, defensemen’s names haven’t been showing up on the scoreboard.
Here is a summary of defenseman production during the Penguins’ recent six-game winning streak (January 15 to January 25):
Kris Letang: 3-4—7
Mike Matheson: 3-3—6
Brian Dumoulin: 1-3—4
John Marino: 0-1—1
And here is the entirety of production from defensemen during the Penguins’ four-game losing streak (January 27 to February 1), which they carried into the current All-Star break:
Kris Letang: 0-4—4
Maybe it’s that Penguins defense helps drive the team’s production; maybe it’s that when the Penguins are doing well, defensemen have the opportunity to produce. Either way, defenseman production has been correlated with Penguins success throughout the season.
When a Penguins defenseman scores a goal, the Penguins are 8-2-1 so far in 2021-22, for a 73% win percentage; when defensemen are kept off the board, the Penguins are 19-9-7, for a 54% win percentage.
Maybe part of the reason for those numbers is that the Penguins (knock on wood) have had their top defensemen healthy for the majority of the season— in fact, despite worries that the team would be missing two blueliners after what appeared to be mid-game injuries to Chad Ruhwedel and Brian Dumoulin on January 30, the Penguins have boasted the same top six (Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang, Marcus Pettersson / John Marino and Mike Matheson / Chad Ruhwedel) for 33 consecutive games heading into the All-Star break.
Now it’s time for one of those consistent six to get on the scoreboard— and potentially help the Penguins to snap their current four-game losing streak when hockey resumes after the break.