My Prediction

Rangers 4, Pens 2. Record in predicting winner: 11-6.

Even Strength Offense: F

The popgun attack came through once again against an Atlantic Division rival, mustering one whole goal. Is it me, or does it seem like rival coaches have totally figured out how to stifle Jack Adams Bylsma’s system? They just use the Montreal method. Let the Pens aimlessly cycle the puck all they want, but then pack the front of the net to prevent screens and rebounds. When you have an attack that consists of Malkin, Neal, Staal (likely no more this year), and nine hacks trying to whack pucks behind an elite goalie, well, this is what you get. Lots of opportunities, but few goals. Yet “our game” never changes. And the results rarely do, either.

Even Strength Defense: B

The defense played a pretty solid game, even if the guy behind them didn’t. My only quibbles were nobody taking Richards in front on the first goal and Michalek inexplicably clearing it up the slot with Fleury out of the net on the third one.

Power Play: F-

Totally ineffective and they allowed a goal on a shorthanded 3-on-1 against. The Rangers had two shots, the Pens three on their four power plays.

Penalty Kill: A

At least something went right.

Goaltending: F

Another puckhandling debacle for our idiot goalie. He needs to look down at the other end of the ice at Luckqvist, who never leaves his crease. Why he thought it was a good idea to try to go cross-ice with that pass just baffles me. Oh, I’ll bet it’s because Jack Adams Bylsma never wants the puck to go backwards. Well, it did end up going backwards, right into the net. And it was a killer goal that basically gave the Pens no chance to get back in the game. Oh, and we won’t even mention the first goal, where he deftly angled a behind the goal line shot right into the slot to Richards.

Overall: F

Same old, same old. The Pens are simply incapable of beating the good teams. And with Staal’s apparent injury, I am rapidly losing hope that this team will even make the playoffs. And I’m not sure I’d want them to, anyway, just so they could get blown out in the first round. Yes, this past 10 days has been very depressing.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: F

Absolutely nothing clicked for him.

James Neal: F

Pretty much invisible.

Jordan Staal: F

See ya next year.

Chris Kunitz: F

Caused another goal to be waived off. Hey, moron, those crease lines are painted there for a reason. It’s so stooges like you stay out of the goalie’s crease. But you can’t seem to figure that out.

Matt Niskanen: P

I’m going to use the pylon pic again just because that’s what he was on the shorthanded goal. I agree he has to go down there, but not go down and then slide right out of the play.

Henrik Luckqvist’s Glove: A

Was there a puck magnet in there or something? It seemed like the Pens shot about a dozen pucks right into his glove where he didn’t even have to move it.

Our Boys Versus The Mans

With this loss, the Pens fell to 0-5 against the Mans of the East (Philly, Rangers, Boston). They are now 3-9 against the current Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Elite Goalies: A

I’m not saying you need one to win the Cup. You don’t. Seriously, when WAS the last time a team with an elite goalie won a Cup? Oh, wait, last year. But I am saying that if you want to see elite, you look in the Rangers’ crease last night. Fleury is simply not at that level. He’s very good, but not elite. That might not mean anything based on the teams that have won Cups. I’m just sayin’...

Ray Shero’s Ability to Draft Scorers: F

Here’s the sum total of the output of the forwards Shero has selected in six drafts after Jordan Staal (who was probably a mistake as it was). Are you ready? Okay, here it is: 11 goals, 13 assists from only two players who have made the NHL—Luca Caputi and Dustin Jeffrey. Boy, that is SO impressive. And it is showing up in their popgun attack. It sure would be nice to go down to the farm and harvest something other than an Old Colin McDonald. But no, you look down at Wilkes Barre and the cupboard is totally bare. Not a scoring winger to be found. Shero makes good trades, but he’s a lousy drafter of scoring talent. How about they try something unique and draft a European forward? Oh, wait, Euros hate Bylsma’s system.

Icehole of the Game

Gotta give it to Mike Rupp for his knee that ended Staal’s season. I know it wasn’t intentional, but still…

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.