We all hate the Pens and know a little bit about them by default (aka. the NHL throws them down everyone's throat). Lets get to know the Pens by the numbers:
|Forward||Pos||TOI/60||Corsi Rel QoC||Corsi Rel QoT||OZS%||G+A1||Corsi Relative|
Above are all of the Penguin forwards, sorted by lines (top 3= line 1, next 3= line 2, and so on (Adams is the last active player for tonight's game, all below him are scratches).
Line 1: Malkin-Neal-Kunitz- This line consists of 3 of the top 4 ES TOI forwards (excluding Staal) on the pens. Although Malkin has dominated the NHL, he has been sheltered---something he wont be against the Flyers. All 3 guys face around 3rd line competition, with 1st line teammates, while starting in the offensive zone roughly 63% of the time---highest line OZS by far on the Pens. The Flyers will counter this by putting Giroux's line and Couturier's line in own zone draws 80+ % of the time. Bet on it. Also bet on these guys seeing a hefty dose of Coburn and Grossman (big fucking dudes). Malkin's offensive production by himself (3.3 G+A1) is nearly double his line mates (interpretation: Malkin is the man on this line). This line consistantly drives the play forward, with no one below a 10.2 CRel. Couturier has done well against Malkin as his (Malkin's) C-Rel rate is at only 55% vs. Scooter (he's only 46.3 vs. Giroux). Scooter's been on him 64% of the time on the road and 67% at home---so keep an eye on this matchup. Also, if you ever see Briere on the ice vs. Malkin---we're at a huge disadvantage.
Line 2: Crosby-Sullivan-Dupuis- These guys place 5,6,8 in ESTOI for the pens, but havn't played much together due to the sporatic #'s across the board. Dupuis is used to top QoC, but Crosby and Sullivan have been seeing 2nd line opponents. The usage on an individual level is all differetn as well. Dupuis has even zone starts while Sullivan has been sheltered with a 62%. Crosby's at 58%, so it'll be interesting if this line stays together. Expect this line to get a heft dose of G and Timo (G's Corsi numbers vs. this line are 55%, without G, the Flyers are only 29% vs. Sid---but thats a little low to the small three-game sample size). Just like with Malkin---we want to keep Briere away from these guys. Sid is a better ES scorer than Malkin---which is scary. Dupuis is white hot right now, and he has the 3rd highest G+A1 on the squad.
[Update: The pens' top three penalty TAKERS are named Crosby, Neal, and Malkin---just a little tid-bit]
Line 3: Jordan Staal is the man. He starts in his own zone more than any top-9 player. He plays far and away the top competition, with 3rd line help, and he actually drives the play FORWARD scoring 4th most on his team. He's going to be the guy asked to shut down Giroux, and we need to keep Giroux away from him. Kennedy has had a good year this year as well. He's slightly sheltered (3v3 w/ 57% OZS) but has driven play forward as expected with that usage. Cooke is the opposite--- top competition, third line teammates, even ZS, and has been driven back slightly, just as expected with his usage. Cooke and Hartnell on the ice together should be a lot of fun for 7 games!
Line 4: Eff these guys! The line stinks and they get driven back to the tune of a -12.5 CRel. Don't expect to see too much of these guys, but the numbers really speak for themselvs. Any time we have these guys on the ice---its a major advantage for the Flyers.
|TEAM||TOI/60||Corsi Rel QoC||Corsi Rel QoT||Off Zone Start %||G+A1||Corsi Relative|
Same as above, top two are first pair, next two are second pair and so on. Niskanen is usually the 6, but Strait is in there tonight.
Pair 1: Letang and Martin: This is the pair that the offense comes from. Letang's G+A1 is double any other defender in the line-up tonight. The are the only defenders to have a positive corsi going into tonight. Both guys are relatively small (both roughly 6-0 195 lbs) so look for the Flyers to get real physical with these guys especially on the for check.
Pair 2: The "shutdown" pair (kind-of): Beastly Brooks Orpik (6-2 220) and Zybnek Michalek (6-2 209) are the ones going to be responsible for stopping either the G line or Briere line. They consistently go up against top competition with the lowest OZS of the Pens defenders. Expect them to be out for big own zone draws and for Orpik to be a very physical presence all series long. Here's the good news: They've been getting driven back pretty significantly at a -8 Crel pace. No one said the Pens D was their strenghth, and this pair is something we can exploit.
Pair 3: This pair is just not very good (good for us!). Engelland is a tough guy. Starts in the offensive zone more than any top-4 guy, plays with the best teammates vs. the worst competition and is getting crushed witha -8.2 CRel. Normally Niskanen gets to pick up Engelland, but he's out tonight. In is Strait- a rookie with numbers worse than Engelland. Worse competition, slightly better teammates, but his 62.5 OZS is tops of all defenders in the line-up, zero points, and a Jody Shelley like -20 corsi. /licking my chops
I'll leave special teams and goalies to someone else.
LETS GO FLYERS!
|NAME||TOI/60||Corsi Rel QoC||Corsi Rel QoT||G+A1||Corsi Relative||Off Zone Start %|
Line 1: G and Hartsy get the most TOI for the Flyers due to them keeping Jags off of some own zone draws and other defensive situations. After Talbot, G faces the toughest competition on the team---Harts and Jags face 5 and 6th toughest competition respectively. All of their corsi’s are from 7-10, G’s slightly below due to him taking on some more difficult situations evidenced by his low OZS% and high QoC. As for scoring G leads the squad, with Jags and Harts again at 5 and 6.
Line 2: This line was clicking big time before Briere got hurt, if they rekindle some of that feugo, this line could be the X-factor. Frank Sevorelli has mentioned he thinks Schenner has played the best of all Flyers down the stretch. All 3 guys are used to third line competition with second line teammates---which is exactly where they should be this series (as Eric T. pointed out Briere struggles mightily with Sid and Geno). Simmer has been the most productive of the crew, with Briere and Schenn streaking, those numbers might seem a little low. Their corsi’s are slightly negative which is disappointing considering their high OZS%. The important thing is each of these guys seems to play better in the playoffs. Briere’s got 97 playoff points in 96 games, Schenner broke some scoring records two juniors ago, and my brother watched a lot of the Kings series last year and raved about this big, fast, “made-for-the-playoffs”, Wayne Simmonds (I know that’s not very credible but he was a wrecking ball in the playoffs last year). I’m expecting big things from these guys.
Line 3: The “shut-down” line: This is the line (not exactly, but very close) that a lot of people were calling for early on to be the true shutdown line. I’ve wanted to see Scooter-Talbot together for a long time, and that time has come with a great third winger. After Talbot’s team toughest QoC, Scooter and Voracek rank 3rd and 4th---they’re no strangers to guys like Sid/Geno. Each one of these three guys produces more offense than Danny Briere, with Voracek at second on the team. Only Jake’s CRel is positive (which is impressive given very tough starts, 1v3) with the other two right around -2.5. You’d like to see positive corsi’s all around but given Talbot and Scooter starting in their own zone 6/10 times---I think we can all agree that their corsi’s are respectable.
Line 4: 3 rookies, all very fast, all very impressive all season long. Rino wont see much time---I’d say no more than 6-8 minutes. All three have been used in drastically different situations: Read played 3v3 even, Wellwood played 4v4 with only 45% OZS to a positive 6.6 corsi, and Zac got whipped by 3v4 competition. Read will see time on other lines, as well as PP and PK. Wellwood could see some PK time and as I said before, Zac won’t see too much.
|NAME||TOI/60||Corsi Rel QoC||Corsi Rel QoT||G+A1||Corsi Relative||Off Zone Start %|
Top Pair: As you can see, the Flyers have done a good job of keeping Kimo’s ES minutes down, but he does make up for it in excessive special teams minutes. Both guys are used to top-4 competition with top-4 teammates, at right around 50% OZS. Timo’s done the most scoring on defense, and leads in CRel---with Carle in 3rd and 2nd. Expect these guys to go against Sid.
“Shut Down” Pair: Lots of talk has gone into naming the big 6-4 and 6-5 pair the titled “shut down guys.” Don’t read too much into their stats---they’ve been playing much better then they show as of late---especially Grossmann. He’s been an absolute beast since joining the squad. Coburn’s 1v1 w/ 50% OZS to the tune of a -2 corsi is very respectable. Grossman’s numbers just aren’t reflective of his time in a Flyer uni, so I don’t really need to go over them.
Third Pair: Remember in 2010 we had a “big-4” and a horrible 3rd pair made up of Lukas Kraijeck (or something like that), Ryan Parent, and someone else who sucked. They got torched for like half the goals scored on us in like 15% of the time. Well, that’s kind of happening again. (shit). Lilja’s numbers are atrocious. 3v2 (slightly better teammates), with almost even OZS to a -12 corsi is flat out bad. Bourdon’s numbers are slightly more impressive, but he played the majority of his time as a Flyer with Matt Carle. I don’t really understand why were not going with Kubina, but it’s a long series and you never know.