Mar 18, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) makes a save against Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) as Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) defends during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charting Chances: Pittsburgh Penguins Consistently Effective Against Dallas Stars

The Pittsburgh Penguins cut down a two-game losing streak with a 5-1 home triumph over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.

But, as is often the case in hockey, the final score deceives. While the Pens roared to a 6-0 advantage in scoring chances in the opening minutes, the Stars proved feisty – as one would expect from a team on the fringes of playoff contention. A high-quality effort from rookie goalie Jeff Zatkoff helped Pittsburgh keep Dallas at arm’s length.

Here’s the period-by-period breakdown of prime scoring opportunities generated by each side. (For an explanation of how a chance is defined, refer to this previous post.)

Scoring Chances
First Period
Second Period
Third Period
Stars3 (2 PP)7 (0 PP)8 (2 PP)18 (4 PP)
Penguins7 (3 PP)5 (0 PP)8 (2 PP)20 (5 PP)

It’s easy to forget now, but the Stars were quite good in the second period, outchancing the Penguins as they rallied from being mere spectators in the first. The third period got wild, producing 16 combined opportunities while Dallas pushed the pace.

Young Stars star (forgive me) Tyler Seguin missed on a couple great looks, but he nonetheless led the visitors with five total chances generated. Let’s see who paced the Pens:

Chances Taken
Chances Created
Chris Kunitz156 (1 PP)
Jussi Jokinen325 (3 PP)
Evgeni Malkin235 (3 PP)
Lee Stempniak415
Sidney Crosby415
Brandon Sutter213
Marcel Goc202 (1 PP)
Brian Gibbons112
James Neal101 (1 PP)
Olli Maatta011 (1 PP)
Craig Adams011

Not surprisingly, a member of the first line heads the chart this time. Chris Kunitz again reminded us why he’s such a terrific fit with Sidney Crosby, returning from a bruised ankle to take part in six legitimate chances.

Lee Stempniak is making a case for permanent placement on Crosby’s right wing, as he matched Sid with a team-high four chances taken. The top line was dominant beyond its eight combined points; that trio accumulated 16 opportunities, with 15 coming at even strength.

The second unit of Jussi Jokinen, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal weren’t quite as good during 5-on-5 action, but they did combine for seven chance shares on the power play.

Bottom-six centers Brandon Sutter and Marcel Goc recorded three and two chances, respectively, helping bolster the forward depth that’s limited the Penguins lately. On the blueline, only Olli Maatta chimed in with a chance.

Pittsburgh travels to Detroit to face the Red Wings on Thursday.

Tags: Analysis Charting Chances Pittsburgh Penguins

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