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Hey, it's the Penguins. Killer.
I could make a crack about Sidney Crosby's 41-point pace. Or comment on how horrid their power play has been through four games. Or how Marc-Andre Fleury has already seen far more rubber than any other goalie in the League.
But these are the Penguins. You know who they really are (hint: who you think they are, of course) and what they can do, especially when they are, um, due.
And while it's hard to make much of anything of early numbers (a wise man noted that we don't know anything about anything), a few early data points bear watching, as small samples sometimes turn into trends which, eventually, can inform that which we do know. With that in mind, let's take a look at what's clicking and what isn't, through three games.
What's clicking: The offense. The Caps are averaging a League-best 4.33 goals per game and the second-most shots per outing, have the second-most 5-on-5 goals in the League (behind only the Rangers, who have played two additional games), and have a 26.7% power play efficiency (good for fourth in the League).
What's not clicking: The penalty kill - 77.8% would have finished dead last a season ago. Granted, if they had just one more successful kill so far they'd be at a more comfortable 83%... but if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle. So there's that.
What's clicking: Alex Semin and Mike Green. The duo have combined for six goals in three games - one more than Tampa or New Jersey has.
What's not clicking: Faceoffs. A year after finishing ninth in the NHL with a 51.2% efficiency in the dot, the Caps are off to a slow start, winning just 45.6% of their draws, with only Sergei Fedorov among the regular centers above the 50% mark.
What's clicking: Second periods.The Caps are out-scoring opponents 7-1 in the middle stanzas.
What's not clicking: The goalies (early, at least). The Caps have allowed six first period goals in three games (and only four total over the second and third periods), including markers 0:26, 4:02 and 8:20 into games (and all six within the first 14 minutes of games).
What's clicking: Mike Green's... defense. He's leading the team in blocked shots and plus/minus (even though all of his goals have come on the power play).
What's not clicking: The defensive pairing of Tom Poti and Jeff Schultz has combined for one hit on the season thus far. I know they're not bangers... but one hit? Michael Nylander has as many.
So while we may not know anything yet, after tonight we might know a bit more. And if any of the above continue tonight and into the weekend, we might know a lot more.
Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:
Matt Cooke is "iffy" for tonight's game. Matt Cooke is iffy for every game.... Yawn. Another day, another rumor (or three).... You've seen the cover of this week's The Hockey News, but am I the only one who thought there was also a cover story on Wyshynski teased in the upper left corner?... Matt Pettinger is trying to work his way back to the NHL.... Keith Seabrook has his confidence back.... Finally, don't forget to make your SPG picks.