My Prediction

Pens 3, Lightning 2.
Actual: Pens 8, Lightning 1.
Record in predicting winner: 23-14.

Even Strength Offense: A

It wasn’t one of those dominating games where they spend the whole game in the offensive zone. But it was one of those games where they took advantage of egregious Lightning errors and pathetic goaltending. The Lightning allowed the Pens to make plays all over the ice, and most of those plays ended up in the net behind Oldie. Kunitz took advantage of a stickless Oldie, then before Oldie had recovered from his first heart attack, Cooke jammed one by him. In the second, a senile Oldie decided to poke the Russian bear with a glove to the face. Big mistake. During Oldie’s afternoon nappy, Geno slammed one by him from the goal line. The, just for good measure Geno skated through the entire Lightning team to congratulate Oldie on his 80th by putting another one past him. Just as Oldie was about to leave for the Senior Special at King’s, Dupuis gave him one last gift.

Even Strength Defense: C

This was not a strong defensive performance by any means. They gave up numerous breakaways and odd-man breaks. They took way too many penalties. It’s only a C because they won. It should be much lower.

Power Play: A+

Can’t beat 2 for 2, with 5 shots in under 2 minutes of PP time.Staal finished off a PP breakout then Geno banged home the garbage to bring about a rain of hats.

Penalty Kill: A

They did give up a PP goal on a garbage play in front, but Jordie also scored a shorty at the end of the first period to give them a cushion.

Goaltending: A

An outstanding game for Marc-Andre. Tampa might actually have had more scoring chances than the Pens, but he just slammed the door. He stopped several breakaways. he made saves facing backwards. If this wasn’t standing on your head, I don’t know what is.

Overall: A

Wow! Just wow! What an afternoon. The Pens finally got back at Oldie for what he did to them last year. That alone made this enjoyable. But watching Geno go crazy after Oldie awoke him was even better. Watching Jay Sharrers set up the Staal shorty was fun. The odd thing about it is that the Pens have played lots better games this year. But in this one, pretty much every good chance ended up behind the guy in the wheel chair. And Fleury stopped numerous great Tampa chances. You have to wonder what the score would have been if the goalies were on opposite teams. I bet the Lightning would have won.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: A

He wasn’t really into the game until Oldie punched him. Big mistake by Oldie. Geno would not be denied ater that. You know he really wanted that HT.

James Neal: A

Who knew he could be a setup guy too, with three assists?

Steve Sullivan: A

He’s really picking up the paces. Three more helpers yesterday.

Jordan Staal: A

He has really improved his finish this year. He’s taking advantage of his chances.

Pascal Dupuis: A

He actually scored a real goal yesterday.

Kris Letang: D

He had no points, but more alarming was how many times he was chasing guys down from behind on breakaways. Not a good game at all.

*Minus machine 4: * +1 to go to -9.

Minus Machine 7: +3 to jump to -7

The Non Minus Machines: +8 to go to +42

Oldie the Goalie: W

As in washed up. I have to wonder if they didn’t play him yesterday to showcase him to the Pens, who might be looking for a backup? If so, major fail. No way would I want him.

Striped Buffoonery

Thank you, Jay Sharrers. That was a helluva pick you put on Hedman to spring Staal on the shorthanded breakaway. If a Penguin had done that, it’s a penalty.

Ash Heap

He added Brendan Mikkelson to it.

Free Cookie

Immediately thereafter, Gilroy received a Cookie.

Monk Moment

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.