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Penguins Lines: Graphing the Numbers

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin, Beau Bennett
ITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 06: Pittsburgh Penguins Right Wing Phil Kessel (81) and Pittsburgh Penguins Center Evgeni Malkin (71) share a laugh during a break in the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators on April 6, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. The Penguins shutout the Senators in a 4-0 win. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had an interesting start to the 2018-19 season. They’ve allowed 11 goals, including their firewagon hockey win over the Washington Capitals in the season opener, but also including a disappointing 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

It was the loss to the Canadiens which made head coach Mike Sullivan grit his teeth and threaten changes.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

Below are graphs which show which lines are producing and which line is having its lunch taken. PHN did include a fifth line because Bryan Rust has taken Daniel Sprong’s spot on the Penguins fourth line for nearly six minutes. According to, the Penguins lines have played the following minutes at 5v5:

Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist: 25:36
Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel: 22:27
Simon-Brassard-Rust: 19:10
Cullen-Sheahan-Sprong: 11:04
Cullen-Sheahan-Rust: 5:48

The Penguins third line had a dominant game against Washington with a Corsi above 70 percent but was a negative against Montreal, which lowered their totals. The fourth line with Sprong has been the Penguins weak spot in Corsi, goals against, and save percentage.

The Penguins on-ice save percentage should be above 91 percent, but only the Guentzel-Crosby-Hornqvist line has achieved that, or anything close, so far. The fourth line drop is startling, at 62 percent:

The Penguins Lines Corsi

The numbers will settle in above 53 percent, probably closer to 55 percent for the season but it’s been a rough start for the Malkin line at only 50 percent but that’s consistent with the numbers from last season when Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin were paired. The fourth line with Sprong has really struggled and are below 40 percent.

Penguins Lines Scoring Chances

The scoring chances historically favor the Penguins. 55 percent is a low mark for the Crosby line, however, a great mark for the Malkin line. However, through the first two games, the Malkin line with Kessel is again failing to put up adequate numbers while Crosby’s and Brassard’s lines have exceeded 60 percent.

High Danger Chances

Scoring chances are indicative of every type of chance. High danger chances are the opportunities within the dots and in the gritty scoring zones.

Penguins Lines Goal Differential

And most importantly, the goal differentials. A quick look and it’s become visible against whom the opponents have score

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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