Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Pens beat Columbus, 2-1; Do you remember these 19 goals?

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

The Pens beat Columbus last night, 2-1, off the strength of goals from the NHL's two leading scorers, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.  There's no reason to apologize for this.

But to beat a drum that's we've beaten to death already, it would take an absolutely Herculean effort on the part of those two players to continue carrying what is essentially the Pens' entire offensive burden throughout the playoffs.  A good team that devotes all of its resources to shutting down two lines can probably do it, especially when Byslma isn't that interested in keeping Sid and Geno away from tough matchups.

This season, the Pens have scored 19 goals on which none of their 5 best players -- Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Neal, and Letang -- had a point.

1. San Jose, 12/5 - Megna from Despres
2. Florida, 11/30 - Vitale from Megna and Engelland
3. Toronto, 11/27 - Conner from Ebbett and Sutter
4. Anaheim, 11/18 - Sutter from Maatta and Gibbons
5. Nashville, 11/15 - Dupuis from D'Agostini and Sutter
6. Nashville, 11/15 - Sutter from Jokinen and Martin
7. Columbus, 11/2 - Engelland from Vitale and Jeffrey
8. Columbus, 11/1 - Sutter from Glass and Adams
9. Boston, 10/30 - Sutter from Dupuis and Orpik
10. Boston, 10/30 - Jokinen (unassisted)
11. Carolina, 10/28 - Glass from Megna and Orpik
12. Islanders, 10/25 - Jokinen from Sutter and Niskanen
13. Islanders, 10/25 - Engelland from Vitale and Niskanen
14. Florida, 10/11 - Adams from Glass and Vitale
15. Carolina, 10/8 - Glass from Vitale
16. Carolina, 10/8 - Jokinen from Maatta and Sutter
17. Buffalo, 10/5 - Kobasew from Sutter and Niskanen
18. Buffalo, 10/5 - Adams from Martin (empty net)
19. New Jersey, 10/3 - Kobasew from Sutter and Bennett

Some ways to look at these numbers:

That's one out of every five goals the Pens have scored this season.

It's 7 total goals since November 1st (19 games).

Only 14 of the Pens 32 games have had these type of goals.

And maybe most ominous of all, only 5 of these goals have come in the 13 games the Pens have played against teams with winning records.  In other words, you're basically getting 2 or 3 of these goals per playoff series against a decent team.

The Pens are scoring plenty of goals -- they're the highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference.  The problem isn't goals, it's who is scoring them.  Or, more accurately, who isn't scoring them.

To end on an optimistic note, the Pens are excelling in the one area that can cover their otherwise fatal lack of scoring depth: goals against.  The Pens give up the 4th fewest goals per game in the entire NHL.   If that keeps up, everything else is moot.

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