Monday, October 23, 2006

Mario Lemieux transferring his powers to Fleury

What a difference a year makes for the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury. I couldn't base this post entirely on Fleury because the revamped Pens defense has a lot to do with Fleury's performance early this season.

Fleury has a
Save Pct. of .924 this season (9th best in NHL). That's an A in the Chicago Math grading scale...and possibly an A in the rest of the world, if the teacher isn't a bitwitch.
GAA is 2.76 (18th in NHL).

Calculating Goals Against Average
(Basically it's goals given up per every 60 minutes played)

Take goals given up (18)...divide by minutes played (392)
and then multiply that answer by 60.

I personally feel that a save percentage is a much better indicator of goalie talent than GAA, which relies more on the defense in front of the goalie (i.e. giving up breakaway chances, giveaways in front of the net, odd-man breaks).

That brings us to the Penguins defensive play this year. Can you honestly pick out a Pens defenseman who has been consistently bad this year? Melichar and Scuderi have been steady; we don't necessarily expect points from them. Mark Eaton is outstanding; we've been giving him accolades all year. I'll take Scuderi or Eaton killing a 5-on-3 any day of the week.
Kris Letang has been a pleasant surprise...I knew he would find himself on the powerplay with that right handed shot. Ryan Whitney is a work-horse this year for the Pens, getting significant ice-time every game and looking confident. And Gonchar is taking fewer penalties this year and is lookin good out there.

Save for a couple bad plays (especially the Devils game where we let dudes park right in front of the net without clearing them out), the Pens defense as a whole has been efficient. If the defense had allowed 2 or 3 more goals this year so far, the Pens could be sitting here with a 2-5 record...or worse. We definitely need to count our blessings.

The bottom line is the defense, and especially Fleury, is keeping us in games. It's like in the 90's where we had steady team defense and steady goaltending...we just had to wait for our offense to explode.


Anonymous said...

The forwards are helpin out, to. Moore has been a treat watching on the backcheck.

dennis said...

I have a feeling that most of the time it'll be our defense that needs to make stops because I think this offense will score enough. If the defense plays well all year then we could very easily be playoff bound.

chris said...

as long as we keep getting powerplays.....we will continue to put the puck in the net...lets keep up the hard nosed D

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