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Rangers By The Numbers Game Preview: Rangers vs. Penguins

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept That Tanner Glass Isn't Coming Out of The Lineup.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Penguins vs Rangers coverage

Time Tuesday, 7:00 EST
Season Series 0-0
Last Meeting 
The Enemy PensBurgh Scoring Leaders

R. Nash 11-3-14
S. Crosby 7-17-24

6-6-2 SEASON RECORD 10-2-1
14 Points 21
11th Conference Position 2nd
Lost 2
Streak Won 7
2.71 (13th)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
4.15 (1st)
3.14 (24th)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.08 (7th)
13.2 (24th) Power Play % 37.5 (1st)
79.6 (18th) Penalty Kill % 88.5 (3rd)
48.2 (25th) Faceoff Win % 51.2 (10th)
12.1 (21st) PIM / GP 15.6 (30th)
31.3 (7th) Shots For / GP 31.5 (5th)
29.8 (17th) Shots Against / GP 28.5 (9th)
49.78 (17th) Score Adjusted Fenwick For % 55.74 (3rd)
51.3 (15th) 5v5 Close Corsi For 54.5 (3rd)
2.90 (4th) 5v5 Goals For / 60 3.06 (2nd)
2.63 (23rd)
5v5 Goals Against / 60 1.43 (3rd)
3 (9th)
5v5 Goal +/-
+16 (1st)
52.72 (10th) 5v5 OZS % 50.78 (12th)
9.22 (5th) 5v5 Shooting % 10.49 (1st)
90.88 (23rd) 5v5 Save % 94.59 (4th)
100.1 (14th) PDO 105.1 (1st)

M. Kostka +6.02

M. Zuccarello +5.31

5v5 Corsi Rel % Leaders

(min 50 min)

P. Hornqvist +13.22

S. Crosby +11.32

T. Glass -6.71

D. Girardi -5.11

5v5 Corsi Rel % Anchors

(min 50 min)

C. Adams -7.74

S. Despres -6.02.77

R. Nash 4.47

D. Brassard 2.89

5v5 Points / 60 Leaders

(min 50 min)

S. Crosby 3.46

B. Comeau 2.46

The Penguins are "pretty good" right now

Tonight the Rangers welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to MSG for the first time this season. While the Penguins have, at times, been a tonic for whatever ails the team at any given moment...uhm...the Rangers are pretty darn ill. Injuries depleting an already suspect defense, general goaltending underperformance (yes, even given the defensive struggles, and no, not vs. Edmonton where King was lights out), and middling to downright bad numbers across the board, especially on special teams. Things aren't great right now.

Meanwhile, the Penguins are winners of seven straight games, Sidney Crosby is clicking with new linemate Patrick Hornqvist, the powerplay is absurdly proficient, perpetual whipping boy Marc Andre-Fleury has been spectacular (and is now millions of dollars wealthier), the defense has been shored up, the PK has been exceptional, the depth has been contributing...I can go on. I love run on sentences for emphasis.

I guess the good in all of this is that a bunch of things are due to get better for the Rangers, and a bunch of things are due to regress a bit for the Penguins. I think. I hope.

Upside Down World Goaltending

Hank v MAF 11-11-14

Created by Axel Fant-Eldh

Henrik Lundqvist isn't going to stay a sub-average 5v5 SV% goalie. He's going to course correct. I also don't think Fleury has been dosed with a magical potion to fix his 5v5% high probability scoring chance SV%* by new goaltending coach Mike Bales:

MAF High prob SV%


*High probability shots are shots recorded basically from the front of the net out to the high slot. The good stuff.

I believe Fleury is in over his head. But then again, I haven't watched him closely enough to see if there are changes that have eliminated his propensity to open up on tight rebounds and/or get himself out of position and not be able to push back into square positioning when there is quick puck movement out of the corners. I don't know, but it is pretty rare for goalies to be as good as he has been in those high probability areas so I think it will just be how much he regresses. And when. Hopefully tonight the Ghosts of Playoffs Past will haunt him, eh?

Meanwhile, Henrik is just the best goalie ever, and everything is going to be OK. He actually is the best in those areas described above. Look at this graph, showing percentages since 2010-11, courtesy of Hint -you want to be up in the top right, and as dark a blue as possible:

NHL adj. SV% goalie performance

Just keep telling ourselves everything is going to be ok, despite the absolutely porous defense and massive team-wide breakdowns going on in front of him.

The Rangers are getting healthier. Derek Stepan is going to get back to being his old self. John Moore is back, for better or worse. Dan Boyle is expected to return this week. Jesper Fast will inject some much needed solid skating and defensive responsibility in against a dangerously potent 5v5 offensive team.

Key to the Game: Stop The Powerplay

Yeah. Pittsburgh's powerplay is pretty darn good

Seriously though, scroll up and let the numbers at the top of this article wash over you. This is a team that is doing everything at or above a high level. When I say above a high level, they are shooting at a ridiculous rate AND getting best in the league even strength goaltending. But their powerplay...ha. 37.5%. The Penguins powerplay, which it doesn't take an analytics nerd to note is "really good," is, like, really insanely good. We are talking 9% better than the Washington Capitals' second in the league PP%. And Washington is at a world-beating 28.9%. Which is over 5% better than those two teams did last year when they tied for the lead league. Yeah. Pittsburgh's powerplay is pretty darn good.

The good: The Penguins log the most penalty minutes in the league. Keep them pinned down on their own PK and hope to prosper. The bad: the Rangers aren't exactly saints lately, and have been taking a great many penalties borne out of laziness and/or simply being behind the play. The Penguins can push pace with the best of them. The injection of Patrick Hornqvist, another smooth skating and playmaking wing to complement uber stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, is cause for concern. You can't let this team work you at evens. They will either make you pay on the scoreboard, or draw a penalty. And then make you pay on the scoreboard.

The Ranger will try to slow down the PP efficiency of the Pens with, probably, a few former Penguins.From Pensburgh:

Former Pens: Lee Stempniak (14gp: 3g, 3a, +1), Tanner Glass (14gp, 0g, 0a, -7, lots of heart), Ryan Malone (6gp, 0g,0a, -4 now waived), Dominic Moore (14 gp, 0g, 4a)

Mmmmm. Yep. Tanner Glass draws in once again. Look guys, I don't know what to say. I really don't. You all know how I feel about this. Duclair, a guy who can push pace and draw Penguins depth players into taking their own ill-timed penalties, is out. The guy hasn't gotten a fair shake and, when he does play, is paired with Glass on what can only be described as a perversion of a useful NHL line. Then he is in the pressbox, so that Glass can continue being Glass out there. To top it off, our boy Tanner, purveyor of delicious and nutritious juice drinks, is also a key cog in the penalty kill. That's where he does stuff like this:

Flip that photo around and that is Malkin all alone for the one-timer. Yikes. If you follow me on twitter, I apologize in advance. I am probably going to be very screenshot and GIF happy.

Expected Lines

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Marty St. Louis
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin-Kevin Hayes-Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass-Dominic Moore-Jesper Fast
Marc Staal-Kevin Klein
Matt Hunwick-Dan Girardi
John Moore-Michael Kostka
Henrik Lundqvist (6-4-1, 2.79, .905)

Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Patric Hornqvist
Pascal Dupuis-Evgeni Malkin-Blake Comeau
Nick Spaling-Brandon Sutter-Steve Downie
Zach Sill-Marcel Goc-Craig Adams
Paul Martin-Kris Letang
Christian Ehrhoff-Robert Bortuzzo
Rob Scuderi-Simon Despres
Marc-Andre Fleury (9-2-0, 1.90, .931)


Pittsburgh: That first line has been other-worldly...I guess attack their 4s? I don't know.

PITT Usage 11-11-14


New York: Or, what Tanner Glass saw AV do in the woods that night. (joke. or is it?)

NYR Usage 11-11-14



All graphs created by Axel Fant-Eldh.

NYR v Pitt Axelgraph 11-11-14

Pittsburgh's first line has to be matched up with...but by who:

NYR Pitt 1st lines 11-11-14

Parting thoughts from Michael Scott:

How I feel about this matchup right now.

Tack your score predictions, musings and thoughts on the numbers in the comments homies.

Stats compiled from:,, and