Photo: Jason Kopinski/Icon Sportswire
Sidney Crosby had his strongest game of the series by a significant 43% margin to help the Penguins win game four and head back to Pittsburgh even at two games.
Four Game Totals
The Penguins are generating 9.6% less offense than the Rangers created against the Senators in the previous series.
Even more interesting, on a play-by-play basis, the Penguins trail the Senators by 1.7% through four games, while the Rangers out played the Senators by 26% despite losing in six games. Apologies to Ranger fans still in mourning.
Granted things looked great for the Rangers after four games as well, but the Penguins are contributing 47% more defensively than the Rangers managed against the Senators a few weeks ago. This defensive commitment is a crucial piece of any Cup run and the Penguins are hoping it will help overcome injuries and an inspired Senators group.
Contribution Leaders Through 4 Games
1. Sidney Crosby performed 34% below his season average through the first three games of the series, but his strong game four pushed him to the lead among both Penguin and Senator forwards. His average performance vs Ottawa is still 21% below his regular season average, but his defensive contributions in the series have more than doubled from the regular season.
2. Phil Kessel trails Crosby by a small margin in the series but is performing 26% above his regular season average. In the Penguins 2016 Stanley Cup run, Kessel increased his performance over the regular season by a similar 27%.
3. Evgeni Malkin is trending down since a very strong game one vs Ottawa. He had his weakest game of the series in game four and is performing 32% below his 16/17 regular season average. Ottawa deserves much of the credit for limiting both Crosby and Malkin’s play making ability, but Malkin is one of the few Penguin forwards with lower defensive performance as compared to the regular season.
Nick Bonino’s performance in the series has been roughly half that of the regular season, but his defensive contributions lead all Penguin forwards through four games, and are identical to his 16/17 regular season. .
1. Trevor Daley is leading Pittsburgh defensemen with a huge 141% jump in performance over his regular season average. His offense has increased only marginally but his defensive play has driven his improvement.
2. Olli Maatta has made the most of his increased role with a massive 182% leap in performance over his regular season average. He leads all Penguin defensemen in defensive contributions.
3. Ron Hainsey in comparison is only 8.6% above his regular season performance, but was a key acquisition for the Penguins due to his ability to make simple and reliable plays with the puck and perform strong defensively. Some may be surprised that he led the Hurricanes in defensive contributions before the trade to the Penguins.
1. Mark Stone and 2. Jean-Gabriel Pageau were the top two forwards against the Rangers and are leading against the Penguins, but they are down 9% and 14% respectively from their performance in the Ranger series.
Many of the Senators forwards have been great defensively but four games into the series, Mark Stone is more than 35% ahead of the next Senators forward, and more than double the leading Penguins forward in defensive contributions.
3. Clarke MacArthur and 4. Bobby Ryan are just behind Pageau, and the three of them have similar offensive and defensive contributions.
1. Eric Karlsson is contributing 23% above his regular season average. He is 14% above any Senators player, forward or defenseman, and is just behind Crosby for the series lead. His overall performance is almost identical to the last series against the Rangers, but his offense has pulled back and his defensive play has jumped considerably.
2. Cody Ceci is performing 63% above his regular season average, but similar to Karlsson, his offense is way down and his defense is way up as he leads all defensemen in defensive contributions.
3. Marc Methot is 127% above his regular season average, and his performance numbers are near identical to the previous series against the Rangers.
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