My Prediction

Panthers 4, Pens 1. Record in predicting winner: 12-8.

Even Strength Offense: A

They generated lots of quality scoring chances and finally some of them went in. It sure didn’t look like they would after a frustrating first period where they hit four goalposts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. But there is that whole “darkest before the dawn” thing, and I guess it couldn’t get much darker than that. They finally broke through when Clemmensen gave them a goal with a bad turnover, and that seemed to get them going. Geno got another lucky goal when he bounced it off Clemmensen from behind the goal line. Then TK (of all people) and Neal beat the back-down-to-earth goalie with shortside wristers in the third.

Even Strength Defense: B

It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t too bad either. They did allow some good opportunities. The only goal was a nice deflection by Repik, who was left alone beside the crease by the 4M (Martin/Michalek Minus Machine) pairing.

Power Play: D

They had four power plays and didn’t score, but at least they were moving around and generating chances. They hit the post three times during one first period power play.

Penalty Kill: A

They kept Florida at bay and even had a Cooke breakaway while shorthanded.

Goaltending: A-

Fleury was very strong, though there seemed to be a few times when he didn’t know where the puck was. But he kept all but one out, and he had no chance on that one.

Overall: A-

A much better performance than most recently. They played well in D.C. and lost because they couldn’t score. Last night, they found a backup goalie who they could beat. Clemmensen was tremendous early, but every one of the goals was at least a bit suspect. Hey, we’ll take them any way we can get them, right? The Pens are certainly due for a few of those “lucky” goals.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: A

He was everywhere. He ended up with 12 shot attempts. Simply dominant.

James Neal: A

Also ended up with 12 shot attempts and finally found a way not to hit the post late.

Eric Tangradi: B

I like his game since he’s been up. Eventually, he’ll get rewarded.

Sid: A

It was just nice to see him around the boys again. Small steps.

The 4M Pair: A

Even though they were on the ice for the only goal against, they ended up a combined +3. They backed up the Malkin line against Florida’s top line very well.

TYFS

Tomas Fleischmann basically whiffed on two open-net chances.

Free Candy

He nailed Mike Weaver near the end just to punctuate the win.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.