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Insider Only Penguins Game Day: Scouting Report on Canucks – Penguins

Penguins Game Day

When: November 17 2010 | Where: Consol Energy Center

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS VS VANCOUVER CANUCKS

The Penguins line up against the streaking Vancouver Canucks in Pittsburgh Wednesday night. Both teams are coming off overtime losses Monday night, Vancouver dropping to the Buffalo Sabres, and Pittsburgh losing in maddening fashion to the New York Rangers. It is the lone meeting between the teams this season.
Vancouver beat the Penguins last year 6-2, in which John Curry and Alexander Pechurskiy made appearances in goal.
VANCOUVER
10-4-3 (23 pts)
1st Northwest, 3rd West
6-0-1 Home, 4-4-2 Road
8-1-1 Last 10
PITTSBURGH
9-8-2 (20 pts)
3rd Atlantic, 5th East
3-5-1 Home, 6-3-1 Road
4-5-1 Last 10

MATCHUP

The Canucks have owned the Penguins in recent years. The Canucks have won four straight in Pittsburgh, and haven’t lost a regulation game to the Penguins since 2000. Since 2001, Vancouver is 7-0-1 against the Penguins. Similarly, Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo has owned the Penguins, going 6-0-0 in his last 7 starts against Pittsburgh with a 1.64 GAA as a member of the Canucks and Florida Panthers.
Pittsburgh’s struggles at home continue. The Pens dropped another one at home Monday in yet another up and down effort and have fallen to 3-5-1 in the CEC. Vancouver is similarly shaky on the road, going 4-4-2 away from Western Canada (6-0-1 at home).
Vancouver, however, is flying after a slow start. Monday’s overtime loss was the Canuck’s second loss in their last ten games. The Canucks are first in the Northwest division and tied with Detroit for second in the West. The Penguins are showing signs of improvement, going 3-1-1 in their last five but still have yet to establish consistency.

TEAM SCOUTING REPORTS

Vancouver sports some of the best numbers in the league to accompany that shining record. The Canucks are flying offensively, 5th overall in goals per game (3.2) and 2nd on the man advantage (29.2 percent).
Defense has been the team’s strong suit for a number of years. Their newfound scoring touch hasn’t lessened their attention to defense. The Canucks are 8th overall in goals against (2.41 per) and on the penalty kill (86.2 percent).
Pittsburgh’s offense has been generally strong. The Penguins are 8th in the NHL in goals per game (3.0), a stat that doesn’t line up with their 23rd-ranked power play (13.0 percent). The Pens were 0-6 on the man-advantage Monday.
Also mismatched are the defensive stats – the Pens are 14th in the league in goals against (2.7 per), but are 4th with a penalty kill working at 87.5 percent efficiency.
Special teams have been the strong suit for Vancouver thus far. The Canucks are 2nd on the man-advantage (29.2 percent) and have scored 19 power play goals. Their penalty kill is 8th in the NHL at 86.2 percent.
The Pens power play scored fewer goals than the Rangers penalty kill on Monday. They are now 1 for 15 on the PP in their last three.
Stat of the Day: For every 4 goals the Pens have scored on the man-advantage, they have allowed 1 shorthanded goal. Not good.
Vancouver is averaging 32 shots on goal per game, while allowing an average of 31 shots against. Pittsburgh averages 32 shots per game, but allows only 27 shots against.
The Canucks average just under 14 PIM per game, while the Penguins are pushing almost 17 PIM per game. The Pens continue to lead the league in fighting majors as well, as Mike Comrie dropped the gloves Monday to take the team total to 21 fighting majors in 19 games.

PLAYER SCOUTING REPORTS

The Sedin Show continues rolling in Vancouver. Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks with 12 goals. Henrik Sedin, last year’s leading scorer, paces the Canucks with a league-high 21 assists and 23 total points.
Sidney Crosby is playing similarly well for Pittsburgh. Crosby notched an assist in Monday’s loss, extending his points streak to six games. He is first on the Penguins and second in the NHL to Henrik Sedin with 16 assists. Crosby’s 12 goals also pace the Penguins, as do his 28 total points, which are most in the NHL.
Rick Rypien, suspended early in the season for grabbing a fan in Minnesota, leads the Canucks with 31 PIM. Deryk Engelland leads the Pens with 40.
Ryan Kesler leads the Canucks with 58 shots on goal. Evgeni Malkin’s 83 shots are the most for Pittsburgh.
On defense, Alexander Edler leads the Canucks with 13 points (2G, 11A) and in average TOI (25:00). Kris Letang continues leading all Penguins and NHL defensemen with 17 points. He is second on the team in points, tied with Malkin (7G, 10A).
While many spent the offseason lauding the newly revamped defense of the Penguins, the Canucks may have what is, on paper, the best corps of playoff-ready defensemen in the league. In addition to Edler, the Canucks have Olympian Christian Ehrhoff, Andrew Alberts, Kevin Bieksa and new acquisitions Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard on their blueline. Of them, only Keith Ballard is a minus.

GOALTENDERS

Roberto Luongo ended his captaincy of the team this offseason. The desired result was that Luongo would be able to focus solely on his position.
Through 13 games, Luongo is 7-4-2 with one shutout (2.66 – .914). The numbers aren’t eye-popping, but Luongo has been a slow starter for most of his career.
Backup Cory Schneider has taken strides for the Canucks this season. Schneider is 3-0-1 in five appearances with a 1.59 GAA and .949 save percentage. With Schneider performing at that rate, Luongo will likely see regular rest for the first time in years.
Marc-Andre Fleury seems to be back as the everyday starter for the Pens. In spite of Monday’s loss, Fleury played well again.
Fleury’s numbers continue creeping toward where they should be, now 3-6-1 overall (3.07 – .873).

INJURIES

Tyler Kennedy missed Monday’s game with the flu, and will return to action Wednesday.
Defensemen Ryan Parent (groin) and Sami Salo (Achilles) are out long-term for the Canucks. Forwards Guillaume Desbiens (hand, indefinitely) and Alexandre Bolduc (ankle, 2-3 weeks) are also out.

Penguins Lineup

Kunitz – Crosby – Dupuis
Cooke – Malkin – Asham
Conner – Letestu – Kennedy
Talbot – Adams – Rupp
Defensemen
Martin – Michalek
Orpik – Letang
Goligoski – Engelland
Starting Goaltender: Marc Andre Fleury

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