My Prediction

Pens 4, Lightning 3. Record in predicting winner: 13-8.

Even Strength Offense: A

The Pens dominated the first two periods against a rather disinterested Lightning team. They finally got to go against a sieve goalie, and it sure had to feel good. Park fired a wrister past a stunned Garon in the first to give them the dreaded two-goal lead. They kept pressure on the Lightning through the second period, when Garon actually looked like and NHL goalie. After the Lightning stunned the Pens with three quick goals, Geno took over. First, he flipped a wicked backhand past the ex Penguin. Then he made a beautiful move on a breakaway. Then he ended all suspense with the empty netter. Other than for about 5 minutes, the Pens did keep the Lightning hemmed in most of the game and the odds in here were that they would win. That would have been perfect for NHL betting. They generated lots of chances and zone time, and got some of those chances to go in.

Even Strength Defense: C

It was an absolute A for the first 40 minutes, but an absolute disaster for the next 7. Tangradi did not have his head on a swivel and let Gilroy walk in behind him for a slapper. Then that line was on again as Tampa tid the game on a scrambly play in front. Just like that, thanks to horrid defense, a three-goal lead was gone. But they regained their bearings and didn’t allow much the rest of the way..

Power Play: A

James Neal, power play machine. He knocked home two one-timers from the right side. Geno made a great play on the second one, kind of walking the blue line, drawing the attention to himself, then dishing a perfect pass to Neal.

Penalty Kill: F

They failed to kill the only chance they had, allowing a cross-crease pass by Lecavalier to Malone for a tap-in.

Goaltending: B+

Fleury was strong for most of the game, except those dreaded 7 minutes. Actually, the only goal you could really blame him for was the third one. he was kind of swimming around on that one. He had no real chance on the other two, and he did make some big saves as the Pens built their lead.

Overall: B

Again, most of the game was an absolute A. But then there were those 7 minutes they just took off. Thankfully, Geno just took the team on his back after that and willed them to a win. And we’ll take them any way we can get them.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: A+

Another awesome performance. A 5-point game, his second in a month. He just keeps gaining confidence. And confident Geno might be the best player in the NHL. it sure is fun to watch him carry this team while Sid is out.

James Neal: A

It’s starting to look like there won’t be a second-half slump this year.

MMPM: A

The Martin/Michalek Plus Machine was a combined +4 in this one.

Eric Tangradi: F

He was on for both TB even-strength goals.

Dustin Jeffrey: F

Yes, I know he has to play his way back into shape. But he’s awful right now.

Root Sports Daily F

They were showing the Subway Sammich of the game while there was a scrum on the ice.

Bibsy’s Creative Language

On an Eric Tangradi backcheck: “He passed eight guys like greased fries.!”
On a Tampa Bay goal: “A behind-the-door play.”

Iceholes of the Day

If you want to watch some stunning idiocy from two supposed “experts,”, just subject yourself to this video. Your blood pressure will jump 20 points instantly. So the entire Malkin-Lecavalier thing was Geno’s fault? You gotta be kidding me. The good old canadian boy Lecavalier takes a run at Geno, who ducks out of the way. But that’s a dangerous play, a low-bridge similar to Marchand’s? Milbury has always hated the Pens since they whacked his team out of the playoffs twice in a row. And Jones is nothing but a Flyer homer who should never be allowed to disgrace a national telecast. Let’s reverse things a bit here and imagine if, I dunno, Nicklas Kronwall took a run at Claude Giroux. Giroux ducks under it. Jonesy would be praining him while whining about the cheap shots by Kronwall on his star little pixie. Well, this is what you get when the Flyers and the network are owned by the same clown.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.