Well the Penguins came out on the right side of a 2-1 game with an empty netter and fans as a rule are starting to feel a little more positive about this team.
Should they though?
Are the Penguins really turning it around or are they showing us fools gold?
I wanted to see if the Penguins were getting more high quality chances than they were giving up. If they can be on the positive side of this equation for the rest of the year I think the skill of the top end players will drag them into the playoffs. Also if you can reduce the number of quality chances for the opposition, well it is less work for Fleury.
Luckily for Pittsburgh and for Fleury, the team has managed to reduce the chances against, not by much, but a little.
It is only a half shot per game of an improvement, certainly nothing to write home about, however it is always better to have less high quality rubber heading towards your goalie.
Importantly for the Penguins their own volume of high scoring chances has started to increase. We know they are getting more shots, their Corsi numbers are telling us that, but they are also getting more shots from great scoring areas. If this teams shooting percentage moves closer to the league average then more goals should come.
This increase is quality chances hasn't come at the expense of defensive production which is important, but it does provide Pittsburgh with almost a 2 shot improvement in high quality chances per game since the coaching change.
I have said it before on the podcast and I am sure I will say it again, but the coaching change has definitely put the players in situations to succeed. It might sound crazy but this highly skilled team may need some 'game condition' training on their shooting or they may PDO themselves out of a playoff spot.
Thanks for reading!