Pens At Devils Grades
Devils 3, Pens2. Record in predicting winner: 20-10.
Even Strength Offense: F
When thereâ€™s no effort, thereâ€™s no results. The never got any forecheck going. They rarely if ever got an odd man break. They never touched Uncle Fatty. They made life for the Devils as easy as they possibly could.
Even Strength Defense: F
One breakdown after another. And let me be clear. I am not just talking about the defensemen. The lack of effort mentioned above extended to the work of the forwards in the defensive zone. I lost track of how many times they just peeled off a backcheck instead of staying with the guy. And Iâ€™m mainly talking about you, top line.
Power Play: B
They did score their only two goals on the power play, but they also gave up a brutal shorty. It was the only facet of their game worth talking about, though. Oâ€™Reilly made a nice pass to Niskanen for the first goal (which was enough to earn him the Toot Sports Player of the Game), and Geno made a great individual effort to notch one late.
Penalty Kill: A
They only gave up one shot in 4 minutes of power play time.
More on this later. Fleury was simply brutal. The first goal was totally his fault since he misplayed the puck behind the net. The second one wasnâ€™t much better, and he went for a swim chasing Kovalchuk in the corner. Then Johnson let one in that no NHL goalie should ever allow when he left the post and they just poked it in right where he should have been.
When the skaters arenâ€™t trying and the goaltending sucks, well, youâ€™re lucky you only lost by three. This was yet another in a string of awful performances against division foes. I know it was an early game and the building was dead as usual, but how can you come out not ready to play this game? Top to bottom, this team was just dead. I know they played a tough game against the Broons the day before, but this is the NHL. This is a division rival. This is a goalie who itâ€™s going to take everything in the arsenal to beat. And they came out and played like they were pissed that they were missing some great Super Bowl bash. Just a joke.
And now, the rest of the storyâ€¦
He at least gets a D for scoring a goal, but was a lovely -4.
James Neal: F
Also a -4 and apparently going into his usual second half mode. Did you know heâ€™s a scored a grand total of 5 goals after the All Star break the last two years?
Chris Kunitz: F
Also a lovely -4, making the top line -12 for the day.
Kris Letang: F
Has yet to return from the All Star break.
Physical Play: F
Against a division rival, they mustered a paltry 13 hits.
Jack Adams: F
Why on earth did he start Fleury in this game? Why does he start him in any game against Uncle Fatty? He just continually chokes against his idol. I would never start him against that guy. It almost always ends the way it did yesterday.
Bad Goaltending Looking Good
Would you take this goalie on your team? He has an .886 save percentage and a 2.62 goals against average. Not even mediocre by NHL standards. Well, of course you would, because the version of him youâ€™ve seen this year has a .961 save percentage and a 1.33 GAA. Yep, those are Uncle Fattyâ€™s stats against the rest of the league and against the Pens. Think weâ€™re doing something wrong here?
Bibsyâ€™s Creative Language
When Letang hit Eric Boulton, Bibsy said, â€œhe just hit him with the pants.â€
Geno whiffed on a shot. it slid slowly to a Devil. The Loathsome Homer said the Devil block the shot. Never mind that it wouldnâ€™t have had enough oomph to reach the net anyway.
I think Fleury actually made a save somewhere along the line.
Iâ€™m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.