Pens Vs Blues Grades
I forgot to make one before the game.
Even Strength Offense: D
It was an absolute snoozefest for two periods. The Pens were just asleep on their skates. They couldnâ€™t complete a pass. They did every stupid thing imaginable. They aimlessly dumped the puck in. They took lazy and undisciplined penalties. They could barely get a shot on net as the Blues just dominated. The Pens came alive in the third and got goals from Sullivan and Malkin. But it wasnâ€™t enough to overcome the ineptitude of the first two periods.
Even Strength Defense: F
As I said to my wife during the game, there was actually a bright spot. The defensemen got lots of practice skating backwards. But as usual, Paul Martinâ€™s ineptitude led directly to two goals. First, he just flat handed the puck to the Blues on a backhand outlet pass up the middle. Then he got caught pinching and never reestablished himself in the defensive zone. On the winner, Sod Brain apparently forgot that itâ€™s his job to take away the backdoor pass. It was set up by Orpik whiffing on a check and putting himself way out of position.
Power Play: B
It was thoroughly unimpressive the first two periods, but then came through with a tying goal early in the third. Malkin gave Sullivan a beautiful pass and he buried it. Oh, and Sid sneakily kicked Elliottâ€™s stick as he skated through the crease. That didnâ€™t hurt things.
Penalty Kill: A
In 8:11 of power play time, they allowed only 6 Blues shots, none of which was terribly threatening.
Thee wasnâ€™t a thing Fleury could do on any of the goals. They just totally hung him out to dry all night.He made one spectacular save after another to keep the Pens in the game. The point they got out of this debacle is totally his. But in the end, they abandoned him one last time and he couldnâ€™t bail them out.
So, how much turkey DID they eat yesterday? The Blues played the night before, then had to fly in. Yet it was they who had the fresher legs. They who baffled the Pens with their defensive play. The first two periods are the most disinterested and lazy Iâ€™ve seen in a long time. It was an absolute embarrassment. The Pens usually put on a good show for the visiting fans on Thanksgiving Eve, but not this year. How anyone in that building stayed awake through two periods is a mystery to me. My question is, does the CBA allow a bag skate on Thanksgiving? If so, thatâ€™s what this team deserves after that abominable effort last night.
And now, the rest of the storyâ€¦
For two periods, they looked like this. The first engine was Fleury, the second one Sid, and the rest were nothing but cargo. But he was held off the scoresheet, so thatâ€™s not good.
For two periods, he was invisible. But he came alive in the third with two beautiful passes to set up goals.
Jordan Staal: F
Memo to Jordan: if you want to be considered among the gameâ€™s elite, you have to bring it night after night. Last night, you did not bring it.
Kris Letang: F
I donâ€™t know if he completed a pass all night.
Paul Martin: F
Thereâ€™s an argument out there that says his +/- isnâ€™t as bad as it appears. That he is playing the tough minutes against tough competition. I might actually analyze that in a later post. But all of that is overcome when you watch the first Blues goal last night. First he gives it away, then he deflects the shot past Fleury. I also see that Orpik and Michalek got almost all the PK time last night, which tells me the coaches have little faith in Martin right now.
We have two, and on the same play. The first one goes to Fleury for his backhanded glove save as he was lying on the ice. The second goes to Sid for making a second save behind Fleury on the rebound, and using his head to do it.
He gave out an incredible nine candies last night. I had several favorites. One was the Dubble Bubble where he checked Dâ€™Agostini into Backes and they went down like a couple bowling pins. Then he did a WWE move where he checked Nichol over a fallen Michalek. Finally, he absolutely laid out Polak.
Iâ€™m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.