Knee-jerk reactions from the Pittsburgh Penguins first three games

Checking in with some preliminary knee-jerk reactions from the Pittsburgh Penguins first three games of the 2022-23 season.

Overall, it has most commonly been a good fortune with 5 out of a imaginable six issues, two blowout wins, and an time beyond regulation loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The latter recreation used to be a difficult loss, permitting a two-goal 3rd length result in slip away in opposition to a foul staff, however there are nonetheless a large number of early season positives.

Some early ideas and issues that experience stood out thus far….

Evgeni Malkin seems nice

He scored the Penguins’ simplest two targets in Monday’s loss in Montreal and already has three targets, 4 general issues, and a team-high 17 photographs on target in the three games. He looks as if a person on a undertaking thus far and appears to be gelling with linemates Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker.

I’ve made this remark prior to, however maximum of his 5-on-5 struggles a 12 months in the past got here from the truth his linemates merely may just no longer end. His even-strength goal-scoring remained as just right because it has ever been, whilst his help numbers have been the house that plummeted. That speaks extra to the linemates than the rest involving him.

Rust and Zucker are an enormous improve over Kasperi Kapanen and Danton Heinen and so long as he remains wholesome I feel we’re in for a perfect 12 months from Malkin.

The shoot-first mentality is the maximum encouraging factor thus far. If he helps to keep hanging pucks on web, he’s going to attain a large number of targets.

The penalty kill has been an early weak point

This has been a large power in now and then over the previous few years, however it’s off to a gradual get started this season having already given up 4 targets in the three games. Overall, the unit is solely 8-for-12 thus far. I’m really not going to panic an excessive amount of at this level as a result of it’s nonetheless early, but it surely has been one in every of the obtrusive flaws thus far. And it’s not essentially a goaltending factor as they have got given up an even collection of photographs, scoring probabilities, and anticipated targets. The body of workers and observe document is there to consider this may get straightened out, however should you needed to pinpoint one weak point thus far, that is it.

Jeff Petry and Marcus Pettersson had been sturdy in combination

Petry had a coarse night time in his go back to Montreal in the penalty division (that interference name in the 3rd length used to be crap), however that pairing has been very productive thru the first three games.

They have performed extra 5-on-5 mins than every other pairing on the staff, have began the vast majority in their shifts in the defensive zone, and feature nonetheless posted the perfect ownership numbers on the staff. When they have got been on the ice the Penguins are making an attempt 55 p.c of the general shot makes an attempt, have 69 p.c of the anticipated targets, 65 p.c of the scoring probabilities, and 75 p.c of the high-danger scoring probabilities. That is, once more, with an amazing proportion of defensive zone begins. They are pushing the play in the proper course.

Petry used to be an important addition this offseason and offers the Penguins a much-needed sturdy proper aspect presence on the 2nd protection pairing in the back of Kris Letang. Aside from the consequences on Monday, he has been precisely that and is giving them a perfect 2nd protection pairing.

Jason Zucker has a perfect probability to dance again

Zucker’s drawback in Pittsburgh has most commonly been accidents and inflated expectancies. When wholesome, I’ve actually preferred his recreation, and his manufacturing isn’t all that some distance off from what he used to be doing for many of his profession in Minnesota.

He isn’t going to attain 30 or 35 targets, however he’s going to create his proportion of probabilities and if he can simply get slightly little bit of a favorable regression to the imply on his taking pictures he may just nonetheless be a 20-25 target scorer, particularly on a line with Malkin and Bryan Rust. Early on, I’ve cherished his recreation this season and he looks as if he’s on course for a pleasing redemption season. It used to be a smart decision not to surrender an asset to offload his contract this offseason. He can nonetheless lend a hand and his contract simplest has 365 days last on it anyway.

Some fast random ideas and observations

— Brian Dumoulin didn’t glance just right on Montreal’s game-tying and game-winning targets on Monday, however the Kris Letang-Dumoulin pairing has a 14-1 high-danger scoring probability merit and a 3-0 targets merit thru the first three games all through 5-on-5 play.

— Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel glance as just right as they ever have.

— The fourth line is the vulnerable hyperlink thus far. They have no longer been unhealthy in any respect, however that could be a particular house that would use an improve.

— The goaltending has been nice. That is all the time the final wild card, particularly after the approach the previous couple of years have long gone in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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