The following is a recap of the 'Summary' and 'Looking Ahead' portions of the Pittsburgh Penguins G10R. The G20Reports will become available for purchase at the OGA Store in mid-November so please check back often at www.ongoalanalysis.com for information regarding your favorite team's play as measured against our Playoff Qualifying Curve...!
The PENGUINS are currently…Playing IN THE CURVE when compared to the OGA Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC). Their first 9 games of the season were all against Eastern Conference teams, familiar foes and helped Pittsburgh to another strong start, paying +1 against the PQC The pre-season brought questions as to how the Pittsburgh defense would hold up missing their top two D-men, Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney.
While picking up points in the standings, the Pittsburgh defense has also allowed 30 or more shots in 7 of 10 games and on two occassions, more than 40 (49 vs NJD and 44 vs NYR). Exactly half (50%) of their first 10 games have required OT and/or a Shootout to determine the victor but the Penguins are showing they are anxious to build another winning season.
While Sidney Crosby only has 3 goals in the 1st 10 games, Evgeni Malkin has been one of the 3 stars in 4 of 10 games they have played. Pittsburgh has enjoyed a light schedule with the only back-to-back game being the NHL openers in Sweden. They then enjoyed almost a week off and have had plenty of time betwen games with a light travel schedule. Now they are on the road and it will be a good test of team chemistry, but they have dropped the first two games of this road trip.
In the next 10 games, the PENGUINS are likely to…have a 2 to 2.5 point correction on their playing trend towards the PQC. In two of the previous three seasons, their play has dropped considerably and they wound up below the PQC by the 20-game mark. The Penguins will continue to enjoy a lighter schedule as they do not have their first back-to-back game until late November. In the next 10 games, they will split their time between home and the road. Defenseman Hal Gill, left the previous game and his return is questionable at this time. For the Penguins who are already missing key components to their defense, this may put an increased focus on smarter defensive play from their top line of Crosby and Malkin. The effect on scoring, if it goes down, would mirror previous performances against the PQC in fewer numbers of wins.