Pens Overcome Auger, Top Canes

My Prediction

Pens 4, Canes 3. Record in predicting winner: 4-2

Even Strength Offense: A-

The first period was kind of blah, but they sure picked it up after that. They just totally dominated the Hurricanes for long stretches. They didn’t generate a whole lot of real high quality chances because of the ice (more on that later). But they finally broke through on Boucher on a brilliant backhand pass from Sid to Craig F’in Adams to break the ice. Then F’in Adams set up Asham for the go-ahead goal early in the third. Super Duper added another in the third on a great individual effort to bang home a rebound. Then Neal made even a better diving play to lock it up. Oh, wait, that’s when Auger started thinking the fans paid to see him.

Even Strength Defense: C

A decent night defensively. They allowed only one goal, but seemed to run around in their own zone quite a bit. Johnson bailed them out in a poor first period.

Power Play: F

They did nothing with their one chance and looked inept in doing it.

Penalty Kill: A

Normally, when they give up a power play goal, they don’t get an A. But the last two minutes overcame that. What an incredible effort! They were diving all over the ice to block shots and clear the puck. It was as if they decided that there was no way Stephane Auger was going to steal a point from them. They also figured out they could take penalties and it wouldn’t kill them unless the game went to OT. They did it all without Jordan Staal, too.

Goaltending: A-

The second goal was a bit of a sloppy rebound. Other than that, Johnson was solid and occasionally spectacular all night.

Overall: B+

It wasn’t the prettiest, but they got the job done. The killing of 2 minutes of 5-on-3 at the end was an amazing effort. The offense was good enough. They end the road trip 3-1, and I’ll take that any day.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: B

Just because of the beautiful blind backhand pass to Adams. But he needs to start scoring some goals.

Geno: B

Had a weak start but came on as the game went along.

Jordan Staal: O

For ouch. I hope the puck didn’t do too much damage.

Craig F’in Adams: A

A goal, and assist. And thisclose to the Gordie Howe hat trick in the final seconds. He started punching Eric Staal hoping to get him in a fight, but ended up with only a minor. He was also part of the great PK at the end.

Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin: A

I give Martin a lot of crap at times, but both he and Orpik were studs last night after Engelland went down. They were defenseman who got all the PK time. Both logged over 25 minutes. Despite playing all the tough minutes, both ended up +1.

Carolina Ice: F

Gawd, it looked like slush out there. The puck was bouncing and rolling. And it wouldn’t even go anywhere when you passed it. It just died. No excuse for this. The weather wasn’t hot, and there had been no events that day. Yee-haw to hockey in Carolina.

Striped Buffoonery

Well, at last we know Stephane Auger never has an agenda. And he certainly had no agenda in the last 10 minutes last night, did he? A clown who called one penalty up to that point suddenly decided to stick it to the Pens for whatever reason. Six penalties in the last 10 minutes? You gotta be kidding me.. Let’s look at them.

Staal, slashing: that stuff was let go all game long
Sullivan, roughing: should have been evened up as he and the Cane both threw punches.
Team, too many men: no issue, obvious call.
Dupuis, holding: worst call of them all, as E. Staal actually grabbed Dupuis’ stick.
Cooke, tripping: no argument.

But it sure looked to this observer that once Carolina fell behind, Auger did everything in his power to keep the game close. That included the no-goal call on Neal. He called goal, then was talked out of it by Joannette. But the standard had been set earlier when they allowed the first Carolina goal when Johnson had gotten bumped. Consistency, boys, look it up. It was like he had been made to look bad and spent the rest of the game trying to prove he was a real ref.

TYFS

We have two. First, it’s Kirk Muller for sucking so bad as a coach. He started Brian Boucher despite the fact that Cam Who? just seems to dominate the Pens. Thanks, Kirk. Then, on the ice, we have Triple Axel Skinner, who had a wide open net, but whiffed on the bouncing puck. Nice hair, by the way.

EFGT

Johnson robbed Joke-inen with the glove on a breakaway.

Bibsy’s Creative Language

Malkin did a “spinorella” last night.

Free Candy

Tuomo Ruutu tasted some last night.

Monk Moment

The PK at the end, obviously.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.