My Prediction

Pens 5, Habs 2. Record in predicting winner: 15-9.

Even Strength Offense: A

It was the typical Montreal game with one exception. The puck actually went in. That probably had more to do with there being a Buddha in net rather than a Price. But thank you, Mr. Cunneyworth, we’ll accept your gift. The Pens did generate their usual quota of poor chances from the outside, many of which Montreal blocked. But with Buddha in net, they managed to put a few of the unblocked shots in. Tanger made a spectacular play to beat a stunned Buddha early on. Jeffrey zipped a wrister past him, and then Geno scored on a play where Buddha is still looking for the puck. What a shot that was!

Even Strength Defense: F

It was a horrid night defensively, just one breakdown after another. Their heads were just not in this game until the third period. The first goal was just a bad bounce. But Cole and Pacioretty both scored on 2-on-1s. And those certainly weren’t the only odd-man breaks Montreal had. It seemed like almost every shot they had was a good scoring chance. You rarely see the Pens play that loose. But they got away with it.

Power Play: F

It was totally ineffective. They generated few if any good chances.

Penalty Kill: C

They gave up a power play goal by leaving Kostitsyn all alone in the high slot. But they made up for it with a Jeffrey shorty.

Goaltending: B

Fleury gave them a chance to win by covering for their sloppy play. He really had little chance on any of the goals. And he made some huge saves on odd-man breaks when they were behind. He’s probably the only reason they got two points out of this mess.

Overall: C+

They followed up their best game of the season with what was basically a clunker. It was the classic “trap game,” in between the Ranger and Washington games. Luckily, Montreal started their Buddha to give the Pens a fighting chance. And they took advantage of it, scoring a couple questionable goals to get it to overtime.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: C

Until he scored the tying goal, he had a terrible game. He was basically invisible. But he came throug in the clutch, then scored in the shootout to bring that grade up.

James Neal: C

He didn’t have much of a game either.

Dustin Jeffrey: A

Welcome back, Dustin! He had a tremendous game, to the point he was their best center last night. He could easily have had four goals.

Kris Letang: A

He was all over the ice once again. He’s making us realize how much they missed him.

NHL Network: F

The scroll at the bottom of the screen said “scoreing” and said Letang had “1 assists” in his first game back. They also joined the game 13 seconds after the opening faceoff, presumably because Kathryn Tappen and Jamie McClennan weren’t finished dispensing their wisdom.

Striped Buffoonery

Piece of Krap Subban blatantly slew-footed Kunitz right in front of the ref and no call was made. But they made up for it by making no call when Sullivan was high-stuck, allowing Jeffrey to score seconds later.

Loathsome Homerism of the Game

We had two last night:

“Dustin is bustin!”
“Malkin’s incredible ability is surpassed only by his burning desire.”

Icehole of the Day

Gee, who can it possibly be? Nary a Montreal game can go by without Piece of Krap doing something dirty or stupid. Last night, it was the slew foot on Kunitz. Just a totally blatant attempt to injure. I find it totally indefensible that the garage league has yet to discipline this clown. I am being dead serious in saying I think it’s some type of affirmative action by the GL because they don’t want to have to discipline the black guy. If you’ve got a better explanation, I’d love to hear it.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.