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Insider Only Benz: Data shows Penguins’ not the lone ranger in being offensively challenged


Please allow me a quick preamble here. The following post isn’t an attempt to massage the Penguins’ early offensive problems. Like a lot of Penguins’ fans, I’m also alarmed by their lack of goal scoring punch. There is no “excuse making” or “carrying water” for the team here. It’s a star powered, offensively built club that is vastly underachieving in the goal scoring column.

But a quick glance at the NHL shows it’s not JUST the Penguins who are having eye-popping problems when it comes to putting the puck in the net as the first month of the season is about to close.

WHAT OTHER TEAM COULD POSSIBLY BE WORSE THAN THE PENGUINS OFFENSIVELY?: I submit the Anaheim Ducks. They had scored just six goals in 8 games prior to tonight’s game in Dallas. That’s absurd. Seven PLAYERS have as many goals as that!

What’s worse is that Anaheim actually “exploded” with a 4-1 win over the Wild on 10/18 for the club’s lone victory. So that means in the other seven games they were either shutout or scored just once. In fact, Bruce Boudreau’s bunch has been blanked five times already. They lost 2-1 in a shootout on 10/12. And they scored a single goal in the third period while trailing 4-1 in Nashville on 10/22.

The Penguins have the second lowest total in the league with 13 goals. So, unlike the Ducks, they’ve got a healthy five goal cushion on league leading goal scorer Jamie Benn. Let’s see how that plays out for the rest of the year. I like Benn’s chances of catching the Pens. But (fingers crossed) I think the entire Pittsburgh team can maybe…maybe…hold him off.

[13 NHL teams including the Penguins are averaging under 2.40 goals per game]

YEAH, BUT PITTSBURGH’S POWER PLAY IS THE WORST IN THE LEAGUE: Again, no, that’s Anaheim. The Ducks have just one power play goal in 22 chances for a humiliating conversion rate of 4.5%. The Penguins are barely better with a 2-28 effort (7.1%) in 29th place overall.

And then there is Arizona. The Coyotes lead the NHL with 38 power play opportunities. And they’ve scored just five times. Furthermore, the Yotes have yielded four short handed goals as well.

But a lot of teams are struggling on the power play. As evidence, just one team in the NHL had a conversion rate under 15% last year. And that was tanking Buffalo at 13.4%. So far this year, nine teams are under 15%.

I SWEAR! THIS PENS TEAM PASSES UP MORE OPEN SHOTS THAN ANY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE: Well, that one just isn’t true. The Penguins rank fourth in the league in shots on goal attempted at 32.6/game. In unblocked shots attempted, Pittsburgh ranks 14th with 260. In total shots attempted they are still Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

Tim Benz

TIOPS Columnist

Tim Benz can be heard on the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network post game show and M-F 10-1 on TribLive Radio

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