Penguins most top-heavy offense among playoff teams
By David Golebiewski
Published: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, 11:18 p.m.
The hits keep coming for the 2013-14 Penguins — but so do the goals.
Despite losing more man games to injury (289) than another other team, the Penguins pace the Eastern Conference in scoring (3.17 goals per game) and place behind only the Blackhawks, Blues and Ducks among all NHL clubs.
They have managed to stay among the game's scoring elite with a “stars and scrubs” lineup, enjoying all-world production from a select few and getting precious little offense from the third and fourth lines.
Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal all rank among the game's top 20 in Offensive Point Shares (OPS), which estimates how much a player's scoring prowess contributes to his team's overall points total in the standings. Collectively, that quartet is responsible for more than two-thirds of the Pens' offensive production this season. No other club that would currently make the playoffs gets a higher percentage of its offense from its top four players.
Carrying the load
The Penguins' top four scorers account for 67.2 percent of the team's offensive point shares.
Team Top offensive players % of team OPS
Penguins Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal 67.2
Capitals Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mikhail Grabovski, Joel Ward 64.6
Maple Leafs Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk, Joffrey Lupul, Mason Raymond 62.0
Canadiens Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov 61.3
Kings Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty 60.1
With injuries to Pascal Dupuis (torn ACL) and Beau Bennett (broken wrist) further thinning the list of scoring threats and little offensive fire power at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Pens need their big four to keep up the prodigious scoring. Few playoff teams in franchise history have been as top-heavy as this year's Pens, with the notable exception of the Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis-led squads of the 1990s.
Blasts from the past
Year Top offensive players % of team OPS
1988-89 Mario Lemieux, Rob Brown, Paul Coffey, Dan Quinn 91.5
1997-98 Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Stu Barnes, Kevin Hatcher 79.8
1995-96 Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Petr Nedved 76.5
1976-77 Pierre Larouche, Jean Pronovost, Rick Kehoe, Syl Apps 69.1
2007-08 Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar, Petr Sykora 67.8
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