Stats & Info: Pittsburgh Penguins

Inside the Penguins' 13-game win streak

March, 28, 2013
Now that the Miami Heat win streak is over ...

The Pittsburgh Penguins will try and extend their win streak on Thursday to 14 games when they host the Winnipeg Jets, a team the Penguins have beaten 11 straight times at home.

During the Penguins’ 13-game win streak, 52 percent of their goals have come in areas directly around the net or in the slot. Before the streak, the Penguins had more success scoring from the edges of the offensive zone -- more than 60 percent of their goals came from around the faceoff circles or point.

Pittsburgh has outscored its opponents 19-4 in the third period during its win streak, the highest differential in the NHL the month of March. (In the first two periods combined they have outscored their opponents by just three goals.) In their first 21 games the Penguins outscored their opponents by six goals in the third period.

Sidney Crosby has led the charge for the Penguins, notching 23 points during the win streak. He’s the only Penguin with at least 20 points during the streak, and his 17 assists are the most in the NHL in the month of March.

The 13-game win streak is the longest of Crosby’s career and is now tied for the fifth longest single-season streak in NHL history. (The 1992-93 Penguins own the NHL single-season mark with 17 straight wins.)

Eight teams in NHL history have had a single-season win streak of at least 13 games, but only the 1981-82 New York Islanders (who won 15 in a row) went on to win the Stanley Cup that season.
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1. PENGUINS HANGING IN THERE: For the second straight game, the Pittsburgh Penguins won when facing elimination, beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. The two teams have combined for 50 goals in the series, tied for the fourth-most in a NHL playoff series. FROM ELIAS: In each of the first five games of the series the team that scored the first goal lost. It’s only the third series in NHL playoff history to follow that unusual pattern; the others were Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis in 1981 and Dallas vs. San Jose in 2008.

2. YANKEES SPOIL FENWAY PARTY: The Boston Red Sox had a 100-year celebration of Fenway Park but the New York Yankees spoiled the party. Clay Buchholz allowed five HR in a 6-2 loss. FROM ELIAS: Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz have each allowed five HR in a game this season. It's the third time that a pair of pitchers on the same team gave up five plus HR in a game in one season. The other pairs: 2005 Phillies-- Vicente Padilla and Cory Lidle, and the 2009 Red Sox-- Beckett and Buchholz.

3. SPURS BLOW OUT LAKERS AGAIN: Kobe Bryant made his return after missing seven games with a shin injury, but it didn’t matter as the Los Angeles Lakers were blown out again by the San Antonio Spurs. FROM ELIAS: The Spurs are the first team to win two consecutive meetings against the Lakers by 20+ points since the Detroit Pistons in February 2005. That Pistons team reached the NBA Finals and lost to the Spurs.

4. PREDATORS BACK IN SEMIS: The Nashville Predators are the first team to advance to the conference semifinals, beating the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in Game 5 to win the series 4-1. It’s the second straight season that the Predators have advanced to the conference semis. They didn’t win a playoff series in their previous 11 seasons. As for the Red Wings, it’s the first time they were eliminated in the conference quarterfinals since 2006.

5. SOCCER SHOWDOWN: Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in El Clásico on Saturday, their second and final La Liga meeting of the season. With five games remaining, first-place Real Madrid leads second-place Barcelona by four points. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are tied for the league lead with 41 goals each this season. Both have broken the previous record of 40, set by Ronaldo last season. Barcelona is unbeaten in seven straight games against Real Madrid in all competitions, matching the longest unbeaten streak ever in the series, previously done by Real Madrid from 1932-35. Madrid hasn’t beaten Barcelona since last year’s Copa del Rey final. The match can be seen on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 at 2 ET.
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1. MEMORABLE CAREER: Legendary Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt is stepping down as head coach and will take the title of “head coach emeritus.” Long-time assistant coach Holly Warlick will be promoted to head coach to take Summitt’s position. Summitt won more games than any other coach – men’s or women’s – in Division I basketball history. She led Tennessee to eight national titles and she was a seven-time NCAA Coach of the Year.

2. A LOT OF SCORING: By scoring 10 goals against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins tied a franchise record for goals in a playoff game and the two teams helped make NHL history. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have combined for 45 goals, the most in the first four games of a series in Stanley Cup Playoff history. And they’ve done their scoring early – 20 of the 45 goals have come in the first period. That’s also an NHL record.

3. RECORDS TIED: FROM ELIAS: The Penguins tied two NHL playoff records in the process. Their 10 goals equaled the record for most goals in a Stanley Cup playoff game by a road team, a mark set by the Kings in a 10-8 win at Edmonton in 1982 and matched by the Oilers with a 10-2 victory at Calgary in 1983. Pittsburgh also equaled the record for goals by one team in a playoff game in which it faced elimination. That standard was established by the Canadiens with a 10-3 win on home ice in Game 5 of their series against the Maple Leafs in 1945.

4. LEADING THE WAY: The Boston Celtics clinched their fifth straight Atlantic Division title by beating the Orlando Magic. They did it without Rajon Rondo, who sat with a sore lower back injury. Paul Pierce picked up the assists load by dishing out a career-high 14. The Celtics’ five straight titles are their most consecutive division titles since they won five straight from the 1983-84 to 1987-88 seasons during the Larry Bird era.

Ivan Rodriguez
5. PUDGE TO RETIRE: Reports indicate that Ivan Rodríguez will announce his retirement on Monday and will do so at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He will retire as a 14-time All-Star who caught the most games of any player all time. Known as the best defensive catcher ever, Rodríguez won 13 Gold Glove awards, most among catchers.
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1. TWO HAT TRICKS: The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 8-5, to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Claude Giroux had three goals and three assists to set a team record for most points in a playoff game. Rookie Sean Couturier also had three goals. The Flyers became the fourth team in the expansion era to have multiple hat tricks in the same playoff game.

2. TWO SHORTHANDED GOALS: The Los Angeles Kings defeated the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, 4-2, to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. FROM ELIAS: Dustin Brown became the 13th player in NHL history to score a pair of shorthanded goals in a playoff game, but he is the first of those players to account for his team's first two goals in that manner.

Aaron Harang
3. HARANG MAKES HISTORY: The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 9-8, on Andre Ethier’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning. FROM ELIAS: After allowing a leadoff single, Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Harang struck out nine straight batters, falling one shy of the MLB record of 10 set by Tom Seaver against the Padres in 1970. Three other pitchers had nine consecutive strikeouts in a game: Mickey Welch in 1884, Jake Peavy in 2007 and Ricky Nolasco in 2009.

4. 30 THEN 30: FROM ELIAS: Andrew Bynum scored a game-high 30 points and led the Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Bynum, who had 30 rebounds in the Lakers’ last game, at San Antonio on Wednesday, became the first NBA player with 30 rebounds in one game and 30 points in the next since Moses Malone had 32 rebounds (and also 38 points) on Feb. 11, 1982, and then scored 32 points in his next game, two days later.

Alex Rodriguez
5. A-ROD TIES THE KID: The New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5-0, in their home opener. Alex Rodriguez went 3-for-4, hitting his 630th career home run. He tied former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all-time list. FROM ELIAS: A-Rod and Junior played 587 games as teammates with the Mariners from 1994 to 1999; when Rodriguez left Seattle following the 2000 season to sign as a free agent with the Rangers, he trailed Griffey by exactly 250 career homers, 398 to 148.

6. MISSING SUPERMAN: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his lower back. There is no timetable for his return. This will certainly impact the Orlando defense moving forward. The Magic have allowed opponents to score 7.0 points per game more when Howard is not on the court this season.
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1. FLYERS COME BACK: The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a three-goal deficit in the first period to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in overtime. FROM ELIAS: Philadelphia became the first NHL team since 1996 to start the playoffs with a win in which it overcame a three-goal deficit; 16 years ago, the Capitals won 6-4, also at Pittsburgh, after they had trailed 4-1 late in the second period.

2. HELP ME RONDO: FROM ELIAS: Rajon Rondo posted 20 assists, 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Boston Celtics’ overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks. It was the fourth game in his NBA career (two this season, two last season) in which Rondo had a triple-double that featured at least 20 assists. That ties Magic Johnson for the most such games in the history of the NBA.

3. BYNUM CRASHES THE BOARDS: Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 30 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Spurs in San Antonio without Kobe Bryant. He is just the second player in the last 15 seasons to have a 30-rebound game. FROM ELIAS: Bynum became the fifth Lakers player to collect 30 rebounds in a game, joining George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain (who had 16 such games) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The last Lakers player with a 30-board game was Kareem, who had the second of his two 30-rebound games with the Lakers back in 1978.

Justin Verlander
4. VERLANDER FALLS APART LATE: After allowing just one hit and no runs through eight innings, Justin Verlander allowed four runs in the ninth inning in a 4-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. It was the Detroit Tigers first loss of the season. The reigning AL Cy Young and MVP Award winner has allowed just four runs in 16 1/3 innings but is 0-1 this season. FROM ELIAS: Verlander became only the second starting pitcher in major-league history to fail to earn a win in either of his first two starts of a season after having tossed shutout ball over the first eight innings of each game. The only other pitcher to endure such hard luck was Minnesota’s Pete Redfern in 1980.

5. RONALDO HITS 40: Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals in a 4-1 Real Madrid win. He has 40 goals this season, tying his own record for the most goals in a single season in La Liga history. He is one goal ahead of Lionel Messi who has 39.
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Paul Pierce
1. PIERCE AND KG LEAD THE WAY: Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for 51 points as the Boston Celtics beat the Heat 115-107 in Miami. Boston shot 60.6 percent from the field, the highest allowed by the Heat in the “Big 3” era (last two seasons). The Celtics lead the league with 18 wins after the All-Star Break. They were just 15-17 before the break.

2. TWO UNDEFEATED TEAMS LEFT: After losses by the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets, the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks are the only undefeated teams remaining in MLB. The Tigers are 4-0 for the 1st time since 2006. That season, they made the World Series. The Diamondbacks are 4-0 for the 1st time in franchise history.

3. PETRINO OUT: Bobby Petrino is out as Arkansas head football coach. Petrino was 34-17 in 4 seasons at Arkansas. The 2011 Razorbacks finished with their highest AP Ranking since 1977 and tied a school-record with 11 wins. Their only losses were to the top-2 teams in the nation (Alabama and LSU).

4. PLAYOFF PUCK DROPS: The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Wednesday with three games. The Vancouver Canucks won the President’s Trophy for the second straight season and they host the Los Angeles Kings in the quarterfinals. The Detroit Red Wings are in the playoffs for the 21st-straight season, the longest active streak in the four major pro sports. They open at Nashville. The Philadelphia Flyers-Pittsburgh Penguins series also begins Wednesday. Pittsburgh is the favorite to win the Stanley Cup according to MGM Resorts International with 7-2 odds.

Roy Halladay
5. DUELING ACES: Dueling aces square off on Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN2, 7 ET as Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies host Josh Johnson and the Miami Marlins. Halladay and Johnson have faced each other three previous times since Halladay joined the Phillies. In those three games, a grand total of six runs were scored, including a perfect game from Halladay on May 29, 2010.
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1. BAYLOR WOMEN MAKE IT A PERFECT 40: Baylor wins the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship with a 80-61 win over Notre Dame. Brittney Griner (26 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Blk) was named Most Outstanding Player. The Lady Bears become the 1st men’s or women’s basketball team to reach 40 wins in a season.

2. LeBRON GOES FOR 40: The Miami Heat clinch their 4th straight playoff appearance with a 99-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. LeBron James scores a season-high 41 points. FROM ELIAS: The only other NBA player this season to record more than 40 points in a game in which his team failed to score 100 points is Kobe Bryant, who did that three times in a five-day span in January.

3. KNICKS FALL APART LATE: The Indiana Pacers defeat the New York Knicks, 112-104. FROM ELIAS: That is the largest margin of victory for any NBA team in a game it was losing by 15-or-more points heading into the fourth quarter since October 30, 2010, when the Bulls rallied to beat the Pistons in Chicago, 101-91.

4. RANGERS CLINCH TOP SEED: The New York Rangers clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. It marks the first time that the Rangers secured the East’s best record since the 1993-94 season. That’s the last time the Blueshirts won the Stanley Cup.

Sidney Crosby
5. CROSBY SCORING LATELY: Sidney Crosby scores two goals, with an assist in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins. FROM ELIAS: Crosby has scored 22 points in 12 games (5 goals, 17 assists) since March 15, when he returned to action. That makes him the NHL scoring leader since that date, one point ahead of teammate Evgeni Malkin.

Kevin Hoffman/US PresswireEvgeni Malkin was having an MVP-worthy season even before the return of Sidney Crosby.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off their first loss since Feb. 19, which snapped their 11-game win streak, the longest win streak in the NHL this season.

And while Pittsburgh fans will get their first look at Sidney Crosby since Dec. 5, it’s Evgeni Malkin who has emerged as one of the top contenders to win the Hart Trophy – which Crosby won in 2007.

Malkin leads the NHL in points (88) and points per game (1.38), and his 41 goals trail only Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

But it’s what Malkin did without Crosby that might help bolster his MVP resume.

The Penguins gave up the division lead in the weeks after Crosby left the lineup in December and fell all the way out of the playoff-qualifying top eight. By the middle of January they were fourth in the Atlantic and 12 points behind New York. That’s when they reversed course with Malkin leading the way.

From Dec. 6 to March 14, the Penguins went 26-13-1, with Malkin tallying 29 goals and a league-leading 60 points. In 53 games Malkin has played this season without Crosby, he has 34 goals and averages 1.39 points per game. In 11 games with Crosby, Malkin averages 1.27 points per game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

After consecutive injury-marred seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11, Malkin is back to performing at the level that made him an MVP candidate in 2008-09. Malkin has increased his goals, assists and points per game over the previous two seasons combined, and is +15 after spending the previous two years in negative territory.

Furthermore, after recording his worst point per game average (0.86) in 2010-11, Malkin has bounced back to his 2008-09 MVP candidate play and is on pace to match his career best 1.41 points per game, also set in 2008-09.

Tom Awad developed a metric called Goals Versus Threshold (GVT) that represents a player’s value above a “replacement” or “threshold” player in a term (runs for baseball or goals for hockey) fans are familiar with. Malkin is +27.4 this season, which is third best in the NHL and the only non-goalie who ranks in the top five.

A “threshold” or “replacement level” player would be defined as the top AHL/minor league player in the organization or the highest ranking free agent on the market in-season (not a prospect) and carries a GVT or RAR value of zero.

The GVT metric takes into account the offensive, defensive and shootout contributions of skaters and the goaltending and shootout performances of netminders.

Crosby vs Ovechkin -- a rivalry resumes

December, 1, 2011
Alex Ovechkin
Sidney Crosby
The NHL’s top rivalry resumes Thursday for the first time since the 2011 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day -- Sidney Crosby vs Alex Ovechkin -- when the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to play the Washington Capitals.

Crosby was initially hurt last year in that Winter Classic game when he collided with David Steckel, who no longer plays for Washington.

The Capitals have owned the Penguins in regular-season play of late, going 11-0-2 in the past 13 games regardless of who was playing. However, Crosby has won more head-to-head games against Ovechkin in their careers 12-9.

Ovechkin: 1st overall pick in 2004;
Crosby: 1st overall pick in 2005

Both Ovechkin and Crosby came into the league at the same time in 2005. Ovechkin was the top overall pick in 2004, Crosby the top pick the following year. Ovechkin won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year in 2005-06 with 52 goals and 106 points.

Both have won Art Ross (leading point scorer), Hart (MVP) and Maurice Richard Trophies (leading goal scorer)

They each have won an Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading point scorer, a Hart Trophy as league MVP and the Maurice Richard trophy as the league's leading goal scorer. Of course, Crosby also took home a gold medal in 2010, knocking out Ovechkin and Russia in the quarters.

Penguins def. Capitals in 7 games in 2009 Conference Semis (Crosby: 13 Pts; Ovechkin: 14 Pts)

The two teams met in the playoffs once during a memorable seven-game series in the 2009 Conference Semifinals. Ovechkin had more points than Crosby, but Crosby and the Pens won the series in 7 games and eventually the Stanley Cup.

Crosby: injured in collision with David Steckel in 2011 Winter Classic on New Year’s Day

Thursday is the first time the two have faced off on the ice since New Year's Day at Heinz Field. Crosby collided with David Steckel and finished the game. Crosby would take another hit in the next game and didn't play again until November 21.

Crosby Show returns from hiatus

November, 21, 2011
Sidney Crosby will make his NHL return tonight, for his first game since a hit by Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman ended his 2010-11 season on January 5.

Sidney Crosby
The Penguins host the Islanders, a team Crosby has dominated throughout his career. He has 62 career points against the Islanders, tied with the Flyers for his most versus any team, and his 1.88 points per game against New York is the most among active players.

Prior to the concussion, Crosby was enjoying one of his best campaigns, leading the league with 32 goals and 66 points in 41 games. The only player ever to accumulate more points while playing 41 or fewer games in a season was Bill Cowley, who had 71 with the Bruins in 1943-44.

Crosby was on pace for 132 points, which would have been the most in the NHL since both Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr reached that mark for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96.

Predictably, the Penguins offense took a nose dive with Crosby out of the lineup, ranking 25th in the NHL in goals per game and dead last in power-play percentage. Pittsburgh also missed his faceoff skills, as he led the NHL in faceoffs won prior to his injury, and the Pens were 26th in faceoff win percentage afterward. All of those struggles led to Pittsburgh’s elimination by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Conference Quarterfinals, including a 1-0 loss in Game 7.

Since coming into the NHL in 2005-06, Crosby has been one of the best players in the league, trailing only Alex Ovechkin and Joe Thornton in points, despite missing nearly one-fifth of his possible games.

More impressively, Sid the Kid also ranks among the all-time greats on a points per game basis. Only Hall-of-Famers Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Mike Bossy and Bobby Orr averaged more points per game than Crosby has thus far.