My Prediction

Bruins 4, Pens 2.
Actual: Pens 5, Bruins 2.
Record in predicting winner: 26-17.

Even Strength Offense: A

The pens came out storming, determined to run the Bruins out of the rink. They succeeded in the first period, dominating play and scoring on two point shots. Lovejoy had his shot blocked, but it came right to Asham, who beat the Tool like a rented mule. Then Niskanen blasted one past a screened Tool. They later added insurance goals by Kunitz and Dupuis. But that first period was just total domination. it might have been the Pens’ best period of the year. They just hit everything that moved. They went to the net hard. They went right after Chara, showing they were not intimidated by the Big Bad Bruins. The second period was a reversal, as they really seemed to back off. But they came back and played a near-perfect third period with a two-goal lead.

Even Strength Defense: A-

They gave up a few good chances, but not that many against a good team. Lovejoy and Orpik had a breakdown on the first Krejci goal, and they left the same guy all alone in front on the second one.

Power Play: A

They scored the goal they needed to on the two-man advantage late in the first. That really gave them the cushion they rode the rest of the game. It had been a horrid 5-on-3 up to that point (nary a shot on goal in almost a minute), but then they scored on a rush on a zinger by Neal.

Penalty Kill: A

They allowed only three shots in four minutes of kill time, and I don’t recall the Bruins even coming close to scoring.

Goaltending: A

Fleury once again did his job very well. They got two past him, but he had no chance on either. He made several huge saves when they had only a two-goal lead.

Overall: A

Simply put, a tremendous all-around effort against a top team. Remember earlier in the year when the worry (yes, by me, among many others) was that they couldn’t beat good teams. That seems to be in the rear-view mirror now, as they’ve been beating all comers lately. Since the whole DK kerfuffle, they are 6-1 against current playoff teams in the East. They just dominated the Bruins yesterday, never giving them any real hope they could win the game.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: A

I t wasn’t his best game, but he racked up three points. It’s a great thing when you can be not at your best and do that.

James Neal: A

Welcome back, James! He finally got off the schneid since signing the new contract.

Jordan Staal: A

He extended his point streak with another solid all-around effort.

Minus Machine Update

Player This Game Season
MM4 0 -3
MM7 0 -4
Non Minus Machines +4 +49

Jack Adams Bylsma: A

He shook up the lines the first few shifts, and it really seemed to work. The top line, when reunited, was better than it’s been in awhile. And his game plan to hit everything in white paid early dividends and left three Bruins injured.

Eric Tangradi: B

He had a tremendous first period, causing havoc on the first two goals. But in the second, he really struggled in his own end as the Bruins came on.

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A guide to the game grades can be found here.