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Pens' room for improvement? Try special teams

by John Kreiser /


Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 99
(4th eAst/8th NHL)
Change from 2007-08 -3
Home Points 53
(7th eAst/11th NHL)
Away Points 46
(5th eAst/10th NHL)
Advantage Margin            +13
The Penguins did an excellent job of generating power plays at home (199), but were among the League leaders in allowing power plays to visiting opponents (180).

Even-Strength Goals Margin        +29
The Penguins were tied for third in the NHL with 167 goals while playing 5-on-5, and matched Carolina for the League lead in 4-on-4 goals with 13.

Special Teams Goal Margin        -4
It's hard to believe a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin finished 20th on the power play, but that was the case for the Penguins in 2008-09. Pittsburgh also allowed 13 shorthanded goals, more than every team other than the Rangers and Flames.

Goals by Defensemen            37
This number figures to go up in 2009-10 with a full season from Sergei Gonchar, who missed most of '08-09 with injuries. Second-year man Kris Letang was tops with 10 goals.

Overtime Record
Total: 12-3-6 (OT: 6-3, SO: 6-6)

Evgeni Malkin had two of the Penguins' six overtime goals. In shootouts, however, the NHL's scoring leader was just 2-for-7 (28.6 percent) -- which actually improved his career percentage to 20.8 (5-for-24).

Times Scored First
46 (Record: 30-10-6)

The Penguins were tied for second in the NHL with 46 first goals, but they were also among the League leaders with 16 losses in games in which they scored first.

Best '08-09 Number             11
Victories by the Penguins in games they trailed after two periods, the most in the NHL. The Penguins were by far the NHL's best team when trying to make up a deficit after 40 minutes, going 11-21-2. No other team won more than eight such games.

Worst '08-09 Number          5-8-1
Pittsburgh's record in both December and January. When the Penguins' slump continued into early February, GM Ray Shero brought in Dan Bylsma to replace Michel Therrien as coach. The rest is history.

The Penguins have a four-game trip followed by a five-game homestand in October, but their big test comes right after Christmas, when they play 11 of 15 on the road. They finish their tenure at Mellon Arena with a six-game homestand before ending with two games on the road.

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