Pens At NHLeafs Grades
Leafs 7, Pens 3. Record in predicting winner: 19-9.
Even Strength Offense: F
Hey, you get shut out by the 25th ranked defensive team, this is pretty much the grade you deserve. They did hit three posts behind a lucky Reimer, but they were also stifled most of the night. The Leafs just Montrealed them to death. They put five guys in the box and just dared the Pens to keep flailing away from the outside. That they did, and rarely if ever did they get a clean chance from a prime scoring area.
Even Strength Defense: B
They played a very solid game overall, not allowing the Leafs too many cracks at Johnson. But, boy, did they break down on the goal. Letang made an ill-advised pinch, leading to a semi odd man break. Then when he came back, he went toward the guy that Orpik already had instead of bee-lining for the front of the net. Bang, in it goes.
Power Play: F-
Once again, the â€œtruculentâ€ Leafs were only called for two penalties, and the resulting power plays stunk. The Leafs had three shots on the Pensâ€™ power plays, the Pens only one.
Penalty Kill: A
Toronto did squat on their three power plays.
Johnson stunningly kept the Leafs off the board until the goal with six minutes to go. he overplayed it a bit, but I certainly canâ€™t complain about his performance. He made several key saves to give his inept offense a chance.
Seriously, when you canâ€™t muster even one goal against the Laffs, youâ€™re doing something wrong. Someday, somehow, Bylsma is going to figure out a way to beat the â€œpack the boxâ€ style. Maybe he should just listen to Jesse. The other problem they have is that they are a one-line team. Stop that one line and youâ€™ll usually beat the Pens, except for Tuesday night. But it sure worked last night. neither Malkin nor Neal was particularly visible, and the result is plain for everyone to see.
And now, the rest of the storyâ€¦
He was a little more visible than Tuesday night, but rarely threatened to score.
James Neal: F
Kris Letang: F
He was thrown off for the night when he got high-stuck by Kessel. He was out of control the rest of the game.
The All Star Break: F
Whatever momentum they took into the break seems to be far in the rear view mirror. They played two putrid games against Toronto where they were impressive for a total of maybe 15 minutes out of 125. They couldnâ€™t get any good looks at a goalie I thought looked very shaky.
Dustin Jeffrey: F
I can only hope that Cal Oâ€™Reilly was brought in to replace Jeffrey. Another awful performance by him.
Tom Kowal put on one of the most despicable displays of officiating youâ€™ll ever see. He missed a BLATANT high stick by Kessel on Letang early on. That caused Letang to angrily fire the puck away in total disgust as he was bleeding from the nose and face. Kowal apparently thought Letang showed him up, because he spent the rest of the game allowing the Leafs to use him as a human penalty demonstrator. Hereâ€™s how you trip Letang. hereâ€™s how you slew foot him. Just blatant things, too. Most refs would have been man enough to admit their mistaken no-call. But the snivelly, insecure, gutless pipsqueak Kowal didnâ€™t have the testicular fortitude to do anything but torment Letang the rest of the night. And once again, the Leafs were called for only two penalties, pretty much proving that the league has doubled down on them making the playoffs since Montreal wonâ€™t.
Icehole of the Game
Mike Brown again, for dropping his gloves against Cooke (which, oh, byt the way, should have been a penalty).
Cooke reacting to Brownâ€™s iceholery by whacking him on the bare hand. Totally deserved.
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A guide to the game grades can be found here.