Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Graphs! Graphs! Graphs!

If you read the blog regularly you note that in between games, I don’t have much if anything to blog about. Whatever I blog about during the week is usually old news by the time it gets here.

I decided that I needed an entry that you can chew on for a bit, so I thought of what I could possibly run with.

I figured I’d start and take a look at the teams that only have used two goaltenders this season. Wilkes-Barre is one of them. So too are Albany, Houston, Milwaukee, Peoria, Providence, San Antonio and Worcester for a total of eight teams. I originally thought that this number would be less than five, turns out it was eight. So there’s that.

I then chose to look at the Penguins record against the East Division and everyone else. It snowballed from there. I used a lot of graphs. Take a look once you jump through….

Penguins Record Points Goal Differential
vs. East Division 11-17-2 24 -17
vs. everyone else 15-5-1 31 +18
Totals 26-22-3 55 +1

I combined overtime losses and shootout losses.

Then I thought, “hmm…let’s take a look at individual divisional opponents.” Again, overtime and shootout losses are combined.

Record GF GA Away GF-a GA-a Home GF-h GA-h
BNG 2-6 14 22 1-3 10 11 1-3 4 11
HER 4-5-1 18 23 3-3 11 11 1-4 7 12
NOR 2-2-1 11 11 2-1 9 7 0-2 2 4
SYR 3-4 14 18 2-1 7 7 1-3 7 11

GF-a = goals for away, GA-a = goals against away, GF-a = goals for home,
GA-h = goals against home

So the Penguins have losing home records against every divisional opponent and are .500 or better against every team in the division on the road except Binghamton, who’ve had our number all season. They have also have a -18 goal differential on the road and a +1 goal differential at home.

So you think that the Penguins have a pretty bad home record and a better away record, right?

Not so fast, my friend. I took a look at overall home and road records. These numbers will baffle you. First the records at home.

Record Points
BNG 16-3-3 35
WBS 14-10-3 31
NOR 13-10-2 28
HER 11-13-5 27
SYR 10-8-4 24

The Penguins are 11-1-1 against non-divisional opponents at home this season outscoring them 41-22 Mohegan Sun Arena.

Now the road records:

Record Points
SYR 20-6-2 42
BNG 14-9-2 30
HER 13-7-2 28
WBS 12-12 24
NOR 9-14-2 20

Against non-divisional opponents on the road, the Pens are 4-4 and have been outscored 23-25.

It’s obvious that the Penguins are struggling to score goals. So I decided to check out goal differentials next:

GF GA Differential
SYR 175 138 +37
BNG 151 125 +26
HER 129 123 +6
WBS 121 120 +1
NOR 120 143 -23

What I found most interesting about this table is that the Penguins have given up the fewest goals against in the division. Collectively overall, only Springfield has allowed less goals (117) all season. The Penguins rank second in goals against per game at 2.35 only behind Abbotsford at 2.30.

The Pens are 27th in the AHL in goals for at 2.37 goals a game. Syracuse is first at 3.50 goals for per game.

As for future opponents, the Pens play 8 more divisional games vs. 17 non-divisional games.

So what does it all mean?

- The Penguins are better at home against non-divisional opponents.
- The Penguins struggle at home against divisional opponents.
- The Penguins rely heavily on defense to win them games.
- The Penguins are okay on the road, not great, not terrible.

Think about that last point then think about how many times this season the Penguins have lost games because of defensive gaffes. Now match that up against the records against the teams inside the division and out.

I might be overstating the obvious with my conclusions but I wanted to delve deep into the numbers and see for myself.

It should be interesting to see how things play out going forward, knowing that the Pens have success against non-divisional opponents and play them 17 more times.

Anyway, I have been meaning to dive deep into the numbers for some time and have something meaningful and original to put up on the blog to boot. Enjoy!

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