I'm pretty turnt up after that one, so this is a mess. But. It's taken me a long time to come around on the advanced statistics, but last night's game is a pretty strong case study in their usefulness. The Pens attempted 73 shots to Columbus's 42, and from the (admittedly) little I was able to see Pittsburgh was the better team by many miles. And when you consider that CBJ's third goal and the Penguins' fourth goal came on arguably fluke redirections on shots that weren't on goal when they left the original shooter's stick, it's a pretty strong argument that firing the puck in the general vicinity of the 6'x4' is a good strategy.The problem with Sid is that he's the best player in the world, and four assists in three games for the best player in the world will get your "hunger" questioned. Consider that Sid attempted 8 shots (second only to Neal's 9), started a whopping 80% of his shifts in the defensive zone and still managed a relative corsi-for of +22% (best on the team last night) while his QoC was a rather insane 30.9%. Yeah, Sid is paid $8.7 million to score and when he doesn't questions are going to be asked. But the way he was deployed last night made that awfully difficult. If you'd have told me that through three games the Pens PP was 3 for 17 (and 0 for their last 12) with Crosby, Malkin, Neal, and Kunitz with zero goals between them and Fleury sporting a.899 save percentage I'd have told you the Pens were down 3-0 and probably outscored 12-2. But the Pens have turned into a really respectable possession team (with some obvious lapses) playing their best even strength hockey of the year. If they eliminate the asinine penalties and make better decisions on the power play, this series is a laugher.It's only a matter of time before the big four start scoring - combined, they scored on a little more than 13% of their shots this year - the Jackets can't keep all of them off the scoresheet forever. It's a great sign for a team that had essentially zero secondary scoring this season has found offense from the blueline and guys like Sutter and Pavel Datsyuk Gibbons.Go Pens
Might just copy/paste this in as our recap. Terrific.