Congratulations to the Dallas Stars, playoff participants for the first time in five years!
Surprisingly, Dallas is the only team in the 14-team Western Conference which holds a losing record (13-17-2) against the Eastern Conference.
The Penguins are 20-8-1 against the Metropolitan Division and have four more intra-divisional wins than any other team in the Met.
I don’t know what to make of Pittsburgh native Ryan Malone’s arrest for DUI and possession of cocaine. I’ll save the judgment for other folks and leave it at that.
The Pens may just be the biggest wild card in the Eastern Conference. There’s no other team with the upside Pittsburgh offers that has lost as many man-games or has had as little time to put together its best starting lineup.
Not everyone believes in the Pens.
Steve Laidlaw of Dobber Hockey wrote an interesting article on teams most likely to have success in the playoffs, based upon past indicators. Click here.
The article lists goal differential and shot differential TOGETHER as the best indicator of winning in the postseason.
The Penguins, interestingly, prove to be the contra-indicators in this analysis.
The Problem Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins really blew up the shot differential scores, as well as those of the “fancy stats”. The Penguins were a dog shit possession team until Dan Bylsma arrived but Michel Therrien was the coach for much of the two seasons where they made back-to-back Finals so they really made the case for poor possession teams having success.
Of course, the Penguins have appeared to be a great possession team ever since and have subsequently flamed out early in the playoffs with the exception of last season when they were once again a poor possession team.
They have been decidedly average this season. I have no idea what that means but if their trend of going against the grain continues the Penguins should be in for a long playoff run.
Another take from the article is that 5-on-5 play, while important, isn’t the end-all to winning playoff games.
Bovada’s Stanley Cup odds currently have the Penguins listed with the third best chance of taking home Lord Stanley. Click here.
The Boston Bruins (15/4) and St. Louis Blues (6/1) are the two teams with better odds of winning the Stanley Cup than the Penguins (7/1).
According to Bovada, the odds to win the East include Boston (13/10), Pittsburgh 11/4) and Philadelphia (17/2).
Given the Penguins’ inconsistent performance in 2013-14, would you be satisfied with a postseason run which included two series wins before an conference finals loss to Boston?
What if the team the Pens beat in Round 2 was the Flyers?
Philadelphia has gotten into the collective psyche of the Penguins, drawing out emotional responses from the likes of James Neal, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby since the 2011-12 regular season (if not before). Who can forget the meaningless regular season game at the end of the season (sound familiar to today’s game) in which then assistant, Craig Berube, stood on one side of the bench and Tony Granato the other — with Pierre McGuire in the middle?
If Pittsburgh ever needed to exorcise some demons, it would be against these Flyers.
The Penguins recalled Harry Zolnierczyk for Saturday’s home tilt against Philly. A part of me was rooting for a Tom Kostopoulos recall, too, as a tribute to the ultimate mucker, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
courtesy, Pittsburgh Penguins