Since this has been bothering me forever, I dug up the stats myself just to reaffirm my point.
Our atrociousness on the penalty kill is one of the most interesting anomalies in sports this year. A team chalk-full of Selke-caliber forwards and Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart and Ericsson on the backend should not have been so bad on the PK in the regular season, and so epically bad in the playoffs. How epic is it? Check it out.
-Total goals against this playoffs: 40 in 19 games.
-Even strength goals given up: 21
-PP Goals given up: 18
Do you catch that? That's barely a 1/1 ratio between even strength and PP goals given up. By comparison, Pitt's ratio is 41/11. Chicago's is 34/14. Carolina's is 41/8.
My goodness. There's a couple of different angles here, and they're very obvious. 1) Our superior skill and defensive tenacity is on full display at even strength, as most teams are lucky to notch even 1 tally a game 5-on-5.
And 2) Our PK is, quite frankly, an abomination. And there's no explaining it. We've been outstanding the past few years with the same group of players, and we're more talented this year with guys like Hossa and Ericsson contributing to the PK. Last night was particularly gruesome, because I didn't see anything overwhelming from Pitt 5-on-5, but the second they go on the power play, you can almost sense that a goal was inevitable. Why is this? It's obviously unexplainable, and being somewhat of a stats geek, I know there are lies damned lies and statistics - somehow Detroit has found itself in the midst of a year-long anomaly on the PK that will eventually ride itself out next season. There have been many times where we'd do a marvelous job killing off a 1:30 of a PP, only to watch somebody skate into the zone, fire it on net, and there's Vandersteeg or someone else punching the puck home on a rebound.
Is it Osgood? A lack of tenacity in clearing the area around him, where so many of these guys have snuck into to put the puck away? I think there's some truth in the latter, but nothing in the former. In conclusion to my rant: this is one of the most interesting stats I've come across in quite some time, and the only conclusion I can come up with is that we are just flat out unlucky on the PK. Hard-hitting analysis, I know. If we avoid being shorthanded, we can party on at the Joe on Saturday - because Pittsburgh, like everyone else, has little hope against Detroit 5-on-5.
Probert 5 For FightingMember Since 02 Apr 2006
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