My Prediction

Bolts 4, Pens 2. Record in predicting winner: 22-11.

Even Strength Offense: A

It truly was the Mans vs the Boys. They scored three and could easily have had several more. The top line is unstoppable right now and was on for every goal last night. The synergy they have is just amazing. It’s as if they have ESP with each other. Teams are now respecting Malkin and Neal so much that Kunitz is picking up lots of garbage. Witness the second goal where he waltzed right down the slot while the defensemen stared at Geno and Neal. Or the third goal, where Letang made them pay.

Even Strength Defense: C

Nice deflection by Minus Machine Martin on the first goal, and a brutal giveaway then pylon imitation by Letang just seconds later. They did batten down the hatches after that and allowed few chances to a dangerous trio of forwards.

Power Play: A

The power play was dominant, notching 8 shots in about 6 minutes of time. Most were quality shots, too. Most importantly, the PP got them back in the game when they were really struggling in the first period. Just a great tic tac toe passing play set Geno up for the one-timer.

Penalty Kill: A

They only allowed one shot in 3 minutes of shorthanded time. Tampa seemed to have no clue how to work the puck for a good shot.

Goaltending: A-

Johnson started out shaky, though neither of the goals was really his fault. Martin deflected the first one, though Johnson could easily have made that save. Then Downie was all alone on the back side to tap the second one in. Johnson made a few good saves here and there once the Pens got the lead.

Overall: A

They once again fell behind by two on home ice and once again came back to win. That’s probably not a formula for long-term success, but they got away with it playing two very mediocre teams over the weekend. You do get the feeling that the way the first line is playing, they’re never out of the game, even when they’re down a couple. You have to wonder if the three stars of the week shouldn’t be Geno, Neal, and Kunitz?

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: A+

Good gawd, he’s just a beast right now. Too bad the empty-netter didn’t go in.

James Neal: A

A three-assist night? Is that the first of his career? Nope, just looked it up. He had one on October 14, 2009 against Nashville.

Chris Kunitz: A

He steps out of the shadows with a 7-point weekend. Oh my!

Kris Letang: A

He was dominant again. he’s found his game.

Dustin Jeffrey/Jordan Staal/Steve Sullivan: F

On for both goals against in an 11 second span.

Cal O’Beech: F

It’s incredibly easy to see why two teams dumped him. He’ll sit once Asham is back.

HCDB: A

He finally broke up the Minus Machines. Hopefully it’s permanent.

Bibsy’s Creative Language

He broke out a T.C. Chen reference. Sweet!

His fourth round included a quadruple bogey eight that featured a chip shot that he hit twice in one swing, and became part of the history of disastrous shots in the final round of a major. As a result of this shot, he is sometimes referred to as “Two Chip” Chen.

Then there was his rhetorical “how many Genos are on the ice?”

Loathsome Homerism

Steigy compared Letang to Paul Coffey. Sorry, no dice for two reasons. One, Letang actually plays sound defense most of the time. And two, Letang is nowhere near Coffey offensively or skating-wise. Nice try though.

Monk Moment

It has to be the parting of the Red Sea on Kunitz’ goal. I just broke out laughing at the pathetic defense. on that one.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.