Two week roundup is a season long look at the Penguins performance over the previous two week period. It will highlight what the team is doing right and what they are doing wrong. It will track individual and team performance for that period and for the season to that point.
The Penguins opened the 2009-2010 season with a having to play 5 of the first 7 games on the road. It is a less then favorable way to start a season, but the defending Stanley Cup champions showed why they are capable of having that title by winning all five of the road games and splitting the two home games. The Pens even won both of their first two shootouts of the season. The Penguins season started with a banner raising and a victory over the Rangers followed by a trip to Long Island and a shootout victory over the Islanders. They then went back home for a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Coyotes, but were able to rebound nicely with four straight victories over the Flyers, Maple Leafs, Senators, and Hurricanes.
The power play has struggled a little clicking at 17.9% over the seven games, good enough for 23rd in NHL. The penalty kill has fared somewhat better and is at 83.3% which is currently 7th in the league.
One of the more unusual stats for the team thus far is that they are, on average, out shooting their opponents. In their first seven games, the Pens are averaging 32 shots per game, and the opponents are averaging just 28. This is a good thing all around as the Pens have, in recent years, seemed to be more successful when they are out shot. No real data on that, just an observation.
The Penguins are also winning face-offs at a rate of 52.2% so far.
* Marc-Andre Fleury – Flower has started the season an astounding 6-0 with a 2.27 GAA and a .917 save %. He has been in mid season form since the opening whistle and is the main reason the Pens won all four of the one-goal games so far.
* Bouncing back – In three of their victories, the Pens responded to a goal against with a quick one of their own. Against the Flyers, the Pens scored 28 seconds after Philly had tied the game. Against Toronto, the Leafs scored to make the score 2-1 only to have the Pens score 31 seconds later. Then later in that game, leafs cut lead to 4-2 and looked to mount a comeback, but the Penguins shut that down 1:07 later. And against the Senators, after Ottawa took a 1-0 lead, the Pens evened it 39 seconds later to take control.
* Tyler Kennedy – TK has earned 4 goals and an assist in seven games. Three of those goals were game-winners. Pretty impressive for a third liner.
* Alex Gologoski – 1 goal and 4 assists in 7 games for the rookie. Had some nerves in the opener against the Rangers, but has been phenomenal since.
* The Power Play – This is supposed to be one of the Penguins strong points and how they win games. So far they have survived with a mediocre 17.9% on the PP, but they will need to improve this as the season progresses.
* Passing and Turnovers – There have been way too many lazy, inaccurate, and just plain stupid passes so far. Many of these are leading to turnovers, scoring chances, and even goals. This should not be happening with the Pens talent level. No one to single out here because everyone is guilty.
* Chris Kunitz – Don’t get me wrong, Kunitz is one of the most important parts of the team and his shoot out goal against Carolina showed why we love him. But it is because of that that he has not been playing to the level he is expected. He has gotten four assists so far, but he has basically been invisible for a lot of the play. There is no doubt he will rebound, but for now, he is not where he needs to be.
* Coyote’s game – That entire game was pretty ugly from the drop of the puck. No one played with any real energy, discipline went out the window, and nearly every attempt to attack was snuffed out by a neutral zone trap. This showed a potentially huge weakness in the Pens game that they will need to address. Hopefully, the current four game winning streak means that they have.
#3 – Marc-Andre Fleury – Amazing 6-0 record. It looks like he’s gunning for a Vezina.
#2 – Sesame Street Line – Jordan Staal has 3 goals and an assist, Matt Cooke has 1 goal and 2 assists, and Tyler Kennedy has 4 goals and an assist. By far the best line so far.
#1 – Alex Gologoski – He has been jumping up on the attack and getting back to block shots and break up scoring chances. Seven games into, what should be, his first full season in the NHL, and he is playing beyond his years.
* Sidney Crosby has been dominating at the face-off dot. He is at 59.2% so far, but would be at 65% if not for that Phoenix game.
* Jay McKee’s nickname should be Kevlar because all he does is stop shots.
* Evgeni Malkin is without a doubt, the most complete player on the team and maybe in the NHL. He scores, he fore checks, he back checks, and isn’t afraid to scrap if you mess with his countryman.
Penguins have a five game home stand against Tampa Bay on 10/17, St. Louis on 10/20, Florida on 10/23, New Jersey on 10/24, and Montreal on 10/28.