Note from Rossi: Jesse Marshall, a local hockey blogger, has agreed to share his unique brand of analytical insight on this blog. His contributions will appear on an as-we-think-of-it basis. Enjoy.
>> Positively Paul Martin Magic
If there’s been one constant in the last two playoff runs for the Penguins, it’s been defenseman Paul Martin.
Martin’s mobility and hockey sense have put him at the top of nearly every statistical metric for the Penguins in the last two postseasons. He has 19 points in his last 21 playoff games. Also, Martin found continued success against the Blue Jackets, registering three of his eight assists at even strength and leading the Penguins defensemen in possession metrics.
Sixty-one percent of all shots taken that were not blocked when Martin was on the ice were shots attempted at the Columbus net. That number paced the Penguins by 5 percent over rookie defenseman Olli Maatta.
To get a gauge of how good of a percentage that is, it currently puts Paul Martin fourth in the NHL among playoff defensemen – 6 percent behind the Minnesota Wild’s Marco Scandella.
Martin has also been staunch on the defensive side of the puck. The Penguins allowed eight even-strength goals this series. With 106 minutes of even-strength ice time, a number that was again tops for the Penguins, Martin was only one the ice for one goal against at five-on-five hockey in the first round.
In fact, 83.3 percent of all the goals scored when Martin was on the ice in the first round were by the Penguins – another number that is good for the team lead. It isn’t just a recent trend. Martin finished ninth in the NHL for the 2013 playoffs with 62 percent in that regard.
With a repeat of his series against Columbus, Martin has the chance to sneak into the top 20 all-time in playoff scoring for the Penguins. He currently sits tied for 26th spot with former winger Troy Loney at 22 points, one point behind former center Petr Nedved’s 23.
With Brooks Orpik potentially out to open Round 2, the likelihood is that Martin continues to see big minutes for the Penguins moving forward. With all the action created when he’s on the ice, Penguins fans should be very comfortable with that.
Jesse Marshall is co-founder of Faceoff-Factor, a site that breaks down the Penguins by using nontraditional methods such as the study of advanced statistics. Read his work at www.faceoff-factor.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmarshfof