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.)
|Penguins||3 (2 PP)||6 (1 PP)||3 (2 PP)||2||14 (5 PP)|
|Ducks||7||6 (2 PP)||4||2||20 (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:
|Evgeni Malkin||4||2||6 (3 PP)|
|Sidney Crosby||2||3||5 (2 PP)|
|James Neal||3||1||4 (1 PP)|
|Matt Niskanen||1||1||2 (1 PP)|
|Chris Kunitz||2||0||2 (1 PP)|
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.
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.