Slow Start, Fast Finish

My Prediction

Isles 4, Pens 3. Record in predicting winner: 6-3

Even Strength Offense: A

They put five pucks past a shaky Al Montoya. They didn’t “get to their game” all that well, generating only 50 shot attempts. And they certainly didn’t have any hop early, again. But this time they put it together. The Sullivan goal was huge, and the first Neal one even bigger. They allowed the Pens to come out of the first period even, and they took over the game from there. Dupuis snapped a shot past a stunned Montoya, then Cooke and Martin (???!!!) finished off the scoring.

Even Strength Defense: C

Both ES goals came when Penguin defensemen backed in as the Isles entered the zone. The first time it was Picard, then Orpik. Other than that, they didn’t allow the Islanders a whole lot.

Power Play: B

They got a key goal on the five on three, but ensuing five on four was a joke. But I suppose we’ll take what we can get. The five on three was even a dirty goal that resulted from Malkin firing continuously from center point until something good happened. Eventually, Sullivan fired one after Geno made a good play to keep it in, and Neal slammed home the rebound.

Penalty Kill: C

They gave up yet another road power play goal. I suppose you’d give Jurcina that shot every time, but on this one, an Islander screened Fleury just as the shot was coming.

Goaltending: D

It wasn’t one of Fleury’s better efforts. Every shot beat him high glove. As Bibsy noted, he was way off his angle on the first one. On the second, he was screened a bit. And he left Okposo too early on the last one, exposing the glove side again. Luckily, they were playing the offensively inept Islanders, who didn’t take advantage of the largess.

Overall: B

They came out slow once again, going down 2-0. But then they realized, “hey this is the Islanders,” and came alive. The Sullivan goal really seemed to energize them, and they took over from there. It wasn’t their strongest effort, but they got the two points. They’ve been really lucky in that they’ve played the Islanders four times while they’ve had all the injuries.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: A

He was dominant, and he almost willed them to a goal on that five on three.

Joe Vitale: A

I loved his game last night. He was scrappy and he was everywhere.

Paul Martin: A

Hey, I gotta give the poor schlep an A when he finally scores.

Matt Niskanen: A

I haven’t mentioned him in awhile, which is probably a good thing. But two assists, five hits and a +3 certainly warrants praise.

Tyler Kennedy: A

Is he turning into Adam Oates? He made a great pass to Dupuis for a goal, and had several other tape-to-tape passes as well.

James Neal: A

Back aboard the goal-scoring train again.

Simon Depres: C

I thought he actually played a solid game, but he was the only Penguin on the minus side of the ledger.

Steve McIntyre: F

He is simply the worst hockey player I’ve seen in quite some time. He makes Eric Godard look like Sidney Crosby. He’s slower than Francois Leroux. He has hands of granite. He has no anticipation of where to be. He does only one thing well, and he does it so well, nobody messes with him. Which then kind of defeats the point of wasting cap space and a roster spot on him, eh? As long as you have Engelland and Asham in the lineup, he needs to be in the AHL.

Striped Buffoonery

O’Blindoran so angered Brooksie with a putrid call that he took a minor arguing about it. Oh, and they gave Cooke another penalty for being Cooke, even though he’s not Cooke anymore. But the topper had to be the five and a game to Hamonic for elbowing Brooks in the chest. Just laughable.

Monk Moment

Did I actually see Paul Martin score a goal? I must have been hallucinating.

Free Candy

He lit up Parenteau early on.

Bibsy’s Creative Language

When they buffoons gave Hamonic that penalty, Bibsy said incredulously, “they can’t bring him back!” And then he started singing some classic rock song at the end of the game.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.