Mar 7, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrates with Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen (2) after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period at Honda Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Anaheim Ducks in a shootout with a final score of 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Charting Chances: Pittsburgh Penguins Warm To The Task Against Anaheim Ducks

As I laid out in Friday night’s recap, the Pittsburgh Penguins were fortunate to be in a position to force overtime against the league-leading Anaheim Ducks.

Pittsburgh was being outshot 21-4 midway through the second period, but the visitors turned the game around in the final 35 minutes, going toe-to-toe with one of the NHL’s best teams. The advanced numbers weren’t pretty, but the Pens hung in via strong goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury and a dash of good fortune.

As you can see below, the Ducks’ edge in scoring chances was also quite wide at the start before the Penguins went about the business of evening things out. (For an explanation of how a chance is defined, refer to this previous Charting Chances post.)

Scoring Chances
First Period
Second Period
Third Period
Penguins3 (2 PP)6 (1 PP)3 (2 PP)214 (5 PP)
Ducks7 6 (2 PP)4220 (2 PP)

In terms of scoring chances, the first period was about as lopsided as it looked. After a back-and-forth middle frame, the action settled down a bit in the third, with Evgeni Malkin cashing in on a power play to give the Penguins new life.

Let’s look at the individual production:

Chances Taken
Chances Created
Evgeni Malkin426 (3 PP)
Sidney Crosby235 (2 PP)
James Neal314 (1 PP)
Matt Niskanen112 (1 PP)
Chris Kunitz202 (1 PP)
Deryk Engelland101
Jussi Jokinen101
Brandon Sutter011

One game after the Penguins had 10 players take part in at least one scoring chance, the field was narrowed against the stingy Ducks. Malkin’s two-point night was well-earned via the six opportunities he helped generate, and Matt Niskanen continues to show a knack for contributing at the offensive end of the ice.

It was a difficult game in which to create, but Pittsburgh’s big three of Malkin, Sidney Crosby and James Neal still combined for 15 chance “shares,” one more than they had in San Jose.

Newcomers Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak didn’t sniff the net against the Ducks, although the eventual third-line pairing of Brandon Sutter and Jussi Jokinen displayed some chemistry late.

All in all, Friday night was a playoff-type atmosphere, which the Penguins gradually warmed up to. Pittsburgh has two days off before it challenges the Capitals in Washington.

Tags: Analysis Charting Chances Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Penguins

comments powered by Disqus