The problem with being the Stanley Cup Champions is you next season is always compared to the previous years playoff run. It is an unfair comparison, but that is a small price to pay for success. One of the big concerns for the Penguins has been the amount of shot attempts the team is giving up, they create a lot for themselves, but they are bleeding shot attempts against this season, not just comparatively to last year, but they rank 21st in the league for Corsi Against this year.
Feels like that is not good enough to make a deep run in the playoffs does it?
High danger shots against is something that all teams would like to avoid, so I thought I would go and take a look at the playoff run last year "the unfair comparison" and what the team has been doing this year. If the Penguins are giving up a high volume of shots, I want them as far away from the net as possible.
In the playoffs last year the average distance of shots toward the goalies are below:
That distance shows you how much Fleury struggled in his limited minutes, the team did their best to protect him.
Compare that to this year:
Not a good change, teams are getting closer looks at the goalies, with Murray doing great work with shots coming in a good 9 feet closer on average verses the playoff run.
We all know averages don't show us all the picture, lets try and break this down to high, medium and low danger shots and see where the shots are coming from.
The playoffs are the benchmark we are comparing against here.
Matt Murray is who we need to worry about here, Fleury is either going to be riding the pine with the Penguins, or starting for another team. So the reason Murrays average shot distance has come down is the reduction in low danger chances and an increase in medium danger chances. The high danger chances has not increased, it is basically the same.
For a team that is bleeding attempts towards their net, at least they are not right in tight, not yet anyway.
Should the Penguins shot attempts against be lower? Probably, but not at the expense of their offense, that is what will win them games. Personally I am ok with the volume of high danger saves Murray is going to have to face, he did it in the playoffs last year, he has done nothing this year that makes me thing he cannot do it again.
Thanks for reading.