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Facts and Figures: Back-to-backs are nightmare for Penguins

Pittsburgh yet to win when playing on second of consecutive nights

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor

The Pittsburgh Penguins are 3-2-1 when playing the first of back-to-back games this season. 

The second game is another story.

Pittsburgh has played six sets of back to backs this season and has lost the second game in all six. They Penguins lost the first four in regulation but have earned a point in each of the past two, including a 5-4 shootout loss at the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

The biggest problem for the Penguins is that they don't want to play starter Matt Murray on consecutive nights but have yet to get a win from anyone else. Antti Niemi started the second game in the first three back-to-backs but was 0-3-0 before being waived. Rookie Tristan Jarry has started the past two; he's 0-0-2 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .903 save percentage. 

The Penguins did play Murray on consecutive nights once. He lost 2-1 at the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 28, then allowed four goals on nine shots in the first period at the Winnipeg Jets the next night before being replaced.

Video: PIT@WSH: Murray stops Smith-Pelly's short-side effort

The Penguins need to find an answer for their back-to-back issues because they have 13 sets remaining; Pittsburgh is tied with the Ottawa Senators for the most back to backs in the NHL (19). The good news for Pittsburgh is that two of them come between now and the end of 2017, and the Penguins are the home team for the second game in each of those two after being the road team in each of the first six.

Not alone: Pittsburgh isn't the only team struggling when playing the second of back-to-back games. The Washington Capitals' 3-1 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday dropped them to 0-4-0 in the second half of back to backs. Washington has 10 sets of back-to-back games remaining.


Still Golden

The Vegas Golden Knights have wasted no time turning T-Mobile Arena into a tough place for visiting teams. They are 7-1-0 at home after a 5-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday; it's the best home record in the Western Conference.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Golden Knights are the second team in the NHL's modern era (since the red line was introduced in 1943-44) to win six consecutive home games at any point in their inaugural season. The other was the Vancouver Canucks, who did it from Nov. 20 through Dec. 15, 1970). 

They are also the fastest team to 10 wins in its first NHL season. Vegas earned its 10th win in its 16th game, one fewer than the New York Rangers in 1926-27.

Video: WPG@VGK: Neal finds the net for PPG while falling

Perhaps most amazing is that the Golden Knights on their fourth goaltender. Maxime Lagace, who figured to be the backup for their American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago, got the win Friday, but he's 2-4-1 with a 3.58 GAA and .876 save percentage. However, the Golden Knights have overcome any defensive problems with an unexpectedly successful offense. They are fourth in the League with 3.56 goals per game and have yet to be shut out.

Oilers come up short in New York

The Edmonton Oilers' 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday prevented them from sweeping a three-game swing of the metropolitan area teams for the first time. They won 2-1 in overtime at the New York Islanders on Tuesday and 3-2 in OT at the New Jersey Devils on Thursday. The Oilers have played consecutive games at the three New York-area teams four times; this was the second time they've won two of three.

Video: Nash scores twice as Rangers defeat Oilers, 4-2


OT in Stockholm

The NHL has played 28 games outside North America, including two in Sweden this week. Of those 28, four have been decided in overtime and all four of those games were played in the same place. Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. Ottawa Senators forward Mark Stone scored the OT winner Friday in a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Avalanche, joining Tyler Kennedy (Penguins), Ethan Moreau (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Jack Johnson (Los Angeles Kings).

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