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Is Jason Pominville The Key To The Sabres Penalty Kill Woes?

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When Lindy Ruff talked to the media a few days ago about the return of Jason Pominville to the lineup, the one thing he mentioned is how key Pominville is to the penalty kill and could be the answer to the Sabres' woes with the penalty kill this year. While that seems like an interesting statement, here are the stats that could prove Lindy's statement true. 

Penalty Kill With Pominville in 2010 Penalty Kill Without Pominville in 2010
12 for 13 - 92.3% 30 for 42 - 71.4%

Does this mean that Pominville is the cog that drives the penalty kill? The one thing that should always be mentioned when looking at statistics is that correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. In other words, there could be other things explaining the stats we are looking at. The small sample size does have a tendence to skew the statistics and while Pominville is a penalty killer, his absence in the lineup shuffled everything around and may not have given the penalty kill lines a chance to mesh. Players not realizing who would cover who and leaving players open in front of the net or on the point.

What the stat does lend itself to say though is that Pominville is a key member to the penalty kill. Pominville has been killing penalties for the last few years and does know the tendencies of shooters on the power play. The penalty killing units have started to find their groove with Pominville in the lineup again, the Bruins went 0 for 4 in Pominville's return. If the penalty kill can start to get back to last year's levels, its one less thing the Sabres have to focus on.

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