NHL.com is providing in-depth analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, three key statistics for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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1. Potent power play
The Penguins led the NHL with a power-play percentage of 26.2 percent last season, an increase from 23.1 percent in 2016-17, which was tied with the Washington Capitals for third.
Pittsburgh has three of the seven players who have scored at least 60 power-play points over the past two seasons. Phil Kessel ranks first with 72 (20 goals, 52 assists), Sidney Crosby is fourth with 63 (23 goals, 40 assists), and Evgeni Malkin is tied for fifth with 61 (25 goals, 36 assists).
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2. High shot volumes
The Penguins averaged 34.3 shots per game last season, which tied the Florida Panthers for best in the NHL. Pittsburgh was first in each of the prior two seasons: 33.5 in 2016-17 and 33.2 in 2015-16.
For the first time since 1993-94, Pittsburgh had five players who took at least 200 shots. Kessel ranked 16th with 261 shots, Crosby and Patric Hornqvist were tied for 24th with 247, Malkin was 33rd with 239, and Kris Letang ranked sixth among defensemen with 222. The Calgary Flames were the only other team with five players who had at least 200 shots.
According to the data, Pittsburgh's totals were not being inflated by low-quality shots from the outside. Over the past three seasons combined, the Penguins have an NHL-low average shot distance of 32.5 feet.
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3. Hard to beat
The Penguins are exceptional in the third period, when they have outscored opponents 277-207 over the past three seasons, the largest advantage in the NHL.
Pittsburgh is 100-1-3 when leading after two periods for an NHL-high .962 winning percentage. When trailing after two periods, the Penguins are 19-60-11, a .211 winning percentage. When tied going into the third period, Pittsburgh is 26-15-11 (.606).
During their inaugural season, the Vegas Golden Knights had a .240 winning percentage (6-17-2) when trailing after two periods, second in the NHL behind the Tampa Bay Lightning (9-20-1, .300).
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