Rangers vs Penguins coverage
|Time||Saturday, 7:00 EST
||5-0 NYR - 11/11/14
|The Enemy||PensBurgh||Scoring Leaders||
R. Nash 12-6-18
||Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
||Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
|13.3 (24th)||Power Play %||33.9 (1st)|
|79.6 (18th)||Penalty Kill %||88.7 (2nd)|
|48.0 (24th)||Faceoff Win %||51.1 (11th)|
|11.6 (19th)||PIM / GP||15.0 (30th)|
|31.3 (6th)||Shots For / GP||32.2 (4th)|
|29.9 (17th)||Shots Against / GP||29.1 (13th)|
|49.87 (17th)||Score Adjusted Fenwick For %||56.59 (2nd)|
|50.7 (15th)||5v5 Corsi For||53.4 (5th)|
|2.84 (2nd)||5v5 Goals For / 60||2.84 (2nd)|
||5v5 Goals Against / 60||1.59 (3rd)
||5v5 Goal +/-
|51.40 (11th)||5v5 OZS %||53.44 (8th)|
|9.14 (4th)||5v5 Shooting %||9.20 (3rd)|
|91.64 (22nd)||5v5 Save %||93.94 (5th)|
|100.8 (12th)||PDO||103.1 (1st)|
M. Zuccarello +6.31
L. Stempniak +3.84
5v5 Corsi Rel % Leaders
(min 100 min)
S. Crosby +10.25
P. Hornqvist +9.56
T. Glass -6.78
D. Girardi -5.38
5v5 Corsi Rel % Anchors
(min 100 min)
S. Downie -8.28
B. Sutter -4.85
R. Nash 4.17
M. St. Louis 2.73
5v5 Points / 60 Leaders
(min 100 min)
S. Crosby 3.26
P. Dupuis 2.37
Nothing Has Changed- The Penguins Are Still Scary
I don't want to waste too much time overanalyzing things. So go to Tuesday's preview, read about what makes the Penguins great and Marc-Andre Fleury's goaltending success to start the season. I'll wait...
Earlier this week, the Penguins uncharacteristically went 0 for 3 on the powerplay (only the 4th time all season they did not record a PP goal) and were skunked by Henrik Lundqvist, who made 33 saves en route to his 53rd career shutout. He is the Rangers all-time leader in preventing the other team from scoring any goals in a game.
However, Pittsburgh rebounded to record a 2-1 win at Toronto last night, in which they absolutely gatored the Corsi battle.
The Rangers, on the other hand, fell flat on Thursday against Colorado. In particular, they started extremely slow, and allowed a team that does not specialize in possession to essentially speed bag them for 40 minutes en route to a 4-3 overtime shootout loss vs the Avs. Sure, the offense had some fair to excellent scoring chances against a team that scrambles in the defensive zone. But sustained offensive pressure was lacking, and you simply can't wait for a team to shell up to get pressure that will lead to goals. Trading blows with a team that gets most of its scoring done on rushes, much like the Oilers, is just asking for trouble. Take a look at the even strength game flow to get an idea of how that one went.
As you can see, the offense did get going in that game but it was after the scoring was done and way too late, as Colorado just held on to assure they get a point. A spat of defensive breakdowns (Boyle looked very rusty) and too much sustained pressure against them in their own zone was problematic all game.
Key To The Game: Attack Early
Tonight the Penguins return home from their 5 game road trip for the tail end of a back-to-back. They could be feeling the effects of fatigue, but they will also be motivated by the 5-0 drubbing they took at MSG earlier this week. I actually expect a crisp effort early. From both teams. This could be a fun game to watch. And isn't that nice, on a Saturday night?
But it is imperative that the Rangers set the tone in the possession battle, and ideally score early. Right now, the Penguins lead the league in 5v5 FF% (61.22%) and CF% (55.71%) when leading by a goal. The discrepancy in the two numbers has to do with the fact that they block an inordinate amount of shots when they have a lead (FF% does not include blocked shots, so the total number of attempts against is reduced). But they aren't shelling up, because those numbers are still very much in the positive. So it simply means that when this team has a one goal lead, they suppress shots better.
Now, I could tell you that the Rangers do fine in the shot attempt battle when playing from behind. And they do. They drive play when losing. But with the defense still susceptible to big mistakes, and against a team that can pile up goals, on the PP or otherwise, in a hurry, I think playing at evens with a lead early is going to be much easier than not.
I expect to see Marc-Andre Fleury between the pipes for the Penguins again, and likely Lundqvist for the Rangers. Both are rested and ready to go.
Something I do not understand for the life of me, is why Anthony Duclair is scratched again. I got nothing. But it looks like Dan Boyle is in again. I don't know if he was rushed back or not and he will be playing through pain for some time. But to be perfectly honest, he didn't look comfortable. It had less to do with his hands and more to do with being out of action for a while. Forwards can mix into a flow. Defensemen on the other hand sometimes get jumped on when they are rusty. Let's see if he is one game more comfortable tonight and helps stabilize the defense's ability to move pucks up ice. Like I said on Twitter:
Boyle looks a bit lost. Takes time. Not like riding a bike folks, I can tell you firsthand.— Nick Mercadante (@nmercad) November 14, 2014
Of note for Pittsburgh, they reunited Pascal Dupuis with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz on the first line after the loss at MSG. Patrick Hornqvist has been moved to the second line with Evgeni Malkin. Blake Comeau sits, so Nick Spaling gets bumped up to that line. Not surprisingly, Dupuis had a big game against the Leafs last night.
Rick Nash – Derick Brassard – Martin St. Louis
Chris Kreider – Derek Stepan – Mats Zuccarello
Carl Hagelin – Kevin Hayes – Lee Stempniak
Tanner Glass – Dominic Moore – Jesper Fast
Scratched: Anthony Duclair
Injured: Ryan McDonagh (shoulder)
Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – Pascal Dupuis
Nick Spaling – Evgeni Malkin – Patric Hornqvist
Beau Bennett – Brandon Sutter – Steve Downie
Zach Sill – Marcel Goc – Craig Adams
Christian Ehrhoff – Robert Bortuzzo
Injured: Olli Maatta (thyroid), Blake Comeau (illness)
Here are line comparison charts. Note that Axel has changed the original setup to a 2014-15 Raw Corsi (pertaining to CF/60 and CA/60) to paint a clearer picture of how the matchup may go, based strictly on Raw Corsi numbers. This is something more of you will be familiar with. If you have any questions, shoot them in the comments and I'll try to answer.
You can see that the 2nd and third lines match up very closely, in almost everything, which is kind of wild. Of course, this may change as Hornqvist and Dupuis have flip-flopped lines as of last night:
As you can see from the graphs below...Pittsburgh's top D pair has been damned solid:
Stats compiled from: nhl.com, naturalstattrick.com, hockeystats.ca, war-on-ice.com, fenwick-stats.com and stats.hockeyanalysis.com