Goalie drama already before the puck drop.
Scouting Penguins – Blue Jackets For those who weigh playoff projections from advanced stats as the biggest barometer in predicting how each playoff series will go, last year when the Penguins entered the post-season all of the underlying numbers/models pegged the Penguins as the Stanley Cup favorite and they were a case where the advanced stats crowd had their day in the sun with the Penguins hoisting Lord Stanley in June. Now it’s a bit of a reversal for the Penguins. The eye test says they are one of the top Stanley Cup favorites, while the numbers tell a different story. Injuries are certainly a factor but the Penguins numbers are nowhere near the levels they were going into last post-season. While finishing with the second best record in the NHL, in 2015-2016 the Penguins ranked 1st in Corsi % going into the playoffs. This season they rank 2nd inRead More »
The Pittsburgh Penguins looking to become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions since the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings, begin their title defense Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The series begins in Pittsburgh Wednesday and Friday night for Games 1 and 2 before shifting to Columbus for a Sunday evening start at 6:00 p.m. There are no two-day breaks in the series through Games 1-5. ROUND 1 SCHEDULE Game 1: Wednesday April 12, 7:30PM | PPG Paints Arena Game 2: Friday April 14, 7:00PM | PPG Paints Arena Game 3 Sunday, April 16, 6:00PM | Nationwide Arena Game 4:Tuesday April 18, 7:30PM | Nationwide Arena Game 5: Thursday April 20, TBD | PPG Paints Arena Game 6: Sunday April 23, TBD | Nationwide Arena Game 7: Tuesday April 25, TBD | PPG Paints Arena The Penguins finishing the regular season with 111 points, boasted the second most points inRead More »
Penguins better equipped now than past seasons to withstand loss of Letang The stage is set. The Washington Capitals have clinched the President Trophy for the second consecutive season, setting up a Penguins – Blue Jackets first round series. With Kris Letang out for the season, the talk out there is the Pittsburgh Penguins have no chance to repeat as Stanley Champions. That talk is understandable. The last six to seven years have showed that having a No. 1 franchise defenseman is one of the most if not the most important ingredient to winning a Cup. Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Zdeno Chara among the classic examples in recent years and Kris Letang even so last post-season where for the first time in his career, Letang brought that consistent No. 1 caliber level play throughout the playoffs that had been missing in past years from him. Any doom and gloom outRead More »
Penguins – Blue Jackets Fallout Statement game from the Penguins in Tuesday Night’s 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets? The eye test says yes, the analytics say no. One analytic site’s model says the Penguins should have lost 3-2. Columbus had a 39-27 edge in shots and a massive +30 (60-30) edge in 5 vs 5 shot attempts. Other positives for Columbus, they limited Sidney Crosby to being on the ice for just 6 Shot Attempts For at even strength and nearly every Penguins line/D-pair was bleeding shot attempts against. The underlying numbers strongly favored the Blue Jackets and a growing trend for the injury ravished Penguins is getting out-corsied on a nightly basis. Will that eventually catch up to the Penguins? This was a game, though, where the possession numbers don’t tell much of the story. The Penguins felt in control of the game from the get-go. Columbus wasRead More »
Penguins – Blue Jackets Home ice in round 1 on the line tonight. A regulation win tonight will put the Penguins three points up on the Blue Jackets with three games to go. The Penguins like any team want home-ice, especially the coaching staff who always want to play at home. “We’re fighting for home-ice,” Mike Sullivan said. The Penguins see tonight’s game as an important one but it’s a bit more important for the Blue Jackets. Whether the Penguins get Kris Letang back or not (considered doubtful) for Round 1, home-ice is instrumental for the Blue Jackets to get in a series vs Pittsburgh. Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella over the last couple weeks is trying to pump into his club’s head that they belong to be considered among the NHL’s elite with the season they’re having and he wants them to play with an ‘arrogance’ that theyRead More »
Two of the Pirates most important players who the team must get rebound seasons from to be even a threat to make the playoffs played into the narrative surrounding both in the 5-3 season opener loss to the Boston Red Sox. Narrative 1: Gerrit Cole is not an ace Narrative 2: Andrew McCutchen’s 2016 season is who he is now. At least that’s narrative surrounding McCutchen from baseball folks. Cole getting pounded after a fantastic first four innings was the type of start that has started to make the fifth year veteran a frustrating pitcher to some. The second, third time hitters see him in game, the opportunity for a bad inning increases with Cole that doesn’t have him going long enough in games. That’s how things played out in the opener. In a positive sign Cole was bringing the heat in a big way. Hitting 98, 99 but whereRead More »