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Pittsburgh Penguins


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Pittsburgh Penguins

Post by jedi17 on Fri 19 May 2017, 7:53 pm

Time for Sid and Geno to play together at even-strength
May 19, 2017, 11:49 AM ET [105 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
Tonight is not a must win game for the Pittsburgh Penguins if you are using a strict definition. However, when you haven't scored more than one goal against your opponent in five games (regular season included) it doesn't make winning three games in a row a likely proposition. In fact Pittsburgh hasn't been doing much scoring at all recently.


Only twice last postseason were the Penguins held to one goal. It has been three games in a row for the current team. The team has only hit the three goal mark once in the last eight games.

The goaltending choice doesn't look as important when you look at the offensive output.

Ryan Lambert went into some detail about the Penguins playoff run in an article today

Combined, Crosby and Malkin are out there for less than two-thirds of the game, and on power plays they actually play together, so that leaves a lot of wiggle room when you’re hoping Nick Bonino and Matt Cullen are keeping things moving in the right direction for you. Based on the regular-season results and what happened in last year’s playoffs, that’s all well and good when you have a full complement of players. But when lesser players are pressed into service for higher-leverage situations, the cracks in the system start to show.

How do you fix the cracks? I think there are times where Mike Sullivan could shorten the bench or break away from the lines he sets before the game. This is my annual plea to have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play more even-strength shifts together. I don't want it for the whole game. I want it how Dan Bylsma used to do it. He would get them out together after penalty kills since neither guy is a part of that group. Bylsma would use television timeouts to his advantage. He would throw them out at the ends of periods together because, why not? It's smart and also hard to argue against the results.

In the last four seasons the dynamic duo has only played 200 minutes together at 5v5. They have a CF% of 59.6% and a CF/60 of 75.22(!). Not only do they tilt the ice together, but the volume that they create is absurd. For some context I looked at the last four seasons to see which individual had the best CF/60 in the league and it was Tyler Toffoli at 66.8.

For a team that can't seem to figure out how to score more than one goal against the Ottawa Erik Karlssons you'd think the team would get creative and use Crosby and Malkin together to their advantage. The thing is, Crosby and Malkin together at even-strength has been a very rare thing since Mike Sullivan took over. Here is a look at Crosby and Malkin's time together at 5v5 over the years


So there are a few variables at play here that skew the data a little bit. We have Sidney Crosby's concussion which limited his ice time with everybody. We also have a the lockout shortened 2012-13 which will naturally shrink the sample. Some of those years would have had more Sid and Geno 5v5 time based on previous evidence. As a result I have taken the total amount of ice time Sidney Crosby played in a given year and then found out the percentage of time he spent with Malkin


Their time together was in decline before Mike Sullivan became coach. However, it is now nonexistent. Sid and Geno were sharing the ice for about 7% of the time pre-Sullivan and that number has dwindled to seven TOTAL minutes this year. Sidney Crosby played ten more minutes with Eric Fehr this year than Malkin. It's just weird.

Listen, I don't need them on the same line 20% of the time like it used to be. What I do need is for some creativity during the game in order to help boost the Penguins offensive push. Using Sid and Geno together in some of the situations I outlined above is something you can do while still maintaining the integrity of your normal line combinations throughout the game.

Pittsburgh doesn't have HBK to fall back on anymore. That has been a dud in 2016-17. It isn't even a thing right now. No reason that Guentzel-Crosby-Malkin can't get four or five shifts together to try and move the needle. Status quo is not acceptable. Let's generate some Sid and Geno time at even-strength.


It won't matter what goalie the Penguins play if they can't score, but that goalie will be Matt Murray

No guarantee the switch in goal will lead to victory, but if Murray is fully healthy he is objectively the better goaltender and gives the team a better chance to win. I'll take my chances with that logic.

Here is an injury update

The difference between winning two out of three or winning three in a row is pretty big. Tonight's game will drastically alter the path of this series. Time to score some goals.

Thanks for reading!

    Current date/time is Sat 26 May 2018, 1:07 am