My Prediction

Pens 5, Leafs 4.
Actual: Pens 3, Avalanche Leafs 2.
Record in predicting winner: 25-16.

Even Strength Offense: B

Toronto pretty much shut down the Malkin line, but thankfully the Staal threesome picked them up. They had all three goals and dominated most of the night. The goals were all the result of hard work down low. They got the puck deep on the Leafs and just kept working until they got shots on goal. Two of them were deflections of point shots and the third just an ugly goal by Dupuis in front.

Even Strength Defense: B+

They really didn’t allow a lot of quality chances. The Kessel goal was essentially a power play one, coming four seconds after a penalty expired. The other goal was a result of a bad line change that caused all sorts of disorganization in their own end. That allowed Grabovski to walk in a let loose a wicked shot that Gunnarsson deflected. But after the Pens took the lead, Toronto had few quality chances.

Power Play: F

In 5 minutes of time, they mustered only 4 shots. They looked disorganized and out of sync. And twice they took stupid penalties to negate their man advantage.

Penalty Kill: B

They technically didn’t allow a power play goal, but the first one might just as well have been. Thiessen made an original save, but got bowled over on a questionable non-call. That left Kessel all alone with a wide open net, and he didn’t miss.

Goaltending: A-

Thiessen was probably too far out of his crease on the first goal, but there was nothing he could do about the second one. He played a very solid game and made some key saves after the Pens took the lead. He’s at least earning himself a shot at being the backup next year.

Overall: B

This is three games in a row where the Pens haven’t been near their best but pulled out wins. This time, the second line picked up the slack for a rapidly deteriorating top line. The Pens played well in the first period, but they couldn’t dent the Swedish Monster. Then they gave up two quick ones in the second. They didn’t play real well in the second, but came back with two goals. After they got the lead, they pretty much shut the Leafs down.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: F

He was in his “beat everybody twice” mode and that resulted in him being a giveaway machine.

James Neal: F

No goals since signing the big contract and only 3 in the last 17 outings. Methinks the second half Jimmy is back again. It happens every year as the checking gets tighter. It’s like Groundhog Day, and that’s pretty much when the turnaround occurs.

Months Goals Per Game
October – January 0.43
February – April 0.19

For the mathematically challenged, that’s a 56% dropoff. And it’s a 4-year sample size.

Jordan Staal: B

Don’t get all upset at the B. That’s B as in Beast, which is what he was last night. He was everywhere, dogging pucks, working the boards, hitting, and shooting. It was one of the best all-around games I’ve seen him play. The Leafs had no answer for him.

Pascal Dupuis: A

Awesome game from him. I guess he and Jordy were auditioning for Sid.

Minus Machine Update

Player This Game Season
MM4 +1 -3
MM7 0 -4
Non Minus Machines +2 +45

May 2, 1967

Black Panthers storm California legislature
Elvis marries Priscilla Beaulieu in surprise Vegas ceremony
Leafs win their last Stanley Cup


Phil Kessel had a wide open net to tie the game. But he gagged, being the easiest player in the league to intimidate, and shot the puck right back into Thiessen. Oh well, when you’re as highly paid as him, I guess hitting one out of two open nets is about all you can expect.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.