Pens Vs Predators Grades
Pens 4, Predators 2.
Actual: Pens 5, Predators 1.
Record in predicting winner: 29-19.
Even Strength Offense: A-
They scored 5 goals and they really never played too much Pittsburgh Penguin Ice Hockey (PPIH). That usually involves getting the puck deep and wearing the opposition down. Last night, it was more of a quick-strike offense. Both of Geno’s snipes were on awesome transitions, as was Kunitz’. A Nashville giveaway caused by a strong forecheck gave the Pens the Cooke goal. Only the Dupuis goal was a result of sustained zone time. It worked well last night, and I do like to see them have a stronger transition than just dumping it in. But counting on such a high percentage of shots going in probably isn’t a recipe for long-term success.
Even Strength Defense: B
They allowed only the one garbage goal, but in doing so forced Fleury to make quite a few good saves. Nashville certainly had their chances, and they actually played better PPIH than the Pens did.
Power Play: I
Playing against the angelic Predators, the Pens had only 25 seconds of power play time.
Penalty Kill: A
They easily killed the lone full Nashville power play, allowing nary a shot on goal.
Flower was a little scrambly at times, but allowed only the Radulov rebound where he had no chance. This could easily have been a lot closer game had he not been on. But once again, he did what he needed to to keep them ahead all game long.
It wasn’t their best effort during the streak, as they were too dependent on the transition for goals. But they did what they needed to and beat a top-notch Nashville team. They got ahead early, and never gave the Predators a whiff that they would get back in the game.
And now, the rest of the story…
Remember, that’s an F by Sid standards. But he was barely noticeable last night, attempting only one shot the entire game.
He got the Pens off and running and led his line to a totally dominant effort. It was one of those games where you almost expected them to score every time they hit the ice.
James Neal: A
He’s becoming such the playmaker. Four more assists last night.
Kris Letang: A
What a beautiful, patient play he made on the Dupuis goal. Just wait and wait and wait until there’s somebody there to deflect the shot.
Matt Cooke: A
And another goal, this time without Sid’s help.
Nice deflection on the Letang shot.
Minus Machine Update
|Non Minus Machines||+4||+65|
It will be a glorious day when both Minus Machines hit the plus mark. Oh, and props to the entire defense corps for playing down a man after Niskanen went down.
Thank you, Nick Spaling, for missing a wide open net from the side of the crease.
While Steigy just can’t resist extolling the Pens, this remark was a tad over the top. He called this group, “the most powerful offensive group the Penguins have ever had.” Okay, Steigy. I know you were around in 1992-93, because I listened to you. So, um, how can you possibly say this team is more offensively talented than that one? Mario, Tocchet, Stevens, Francis, Jagr, Murphy.
Oh, and then there was his comment that Hal Gill must be marvelling at the Pens’ firepower. Um, no, Hal Gill was out there trying to stop them. The better the Pens play, the worse Steigy is getting. He’s almost unbearable right now.
Bibsy’s Creative Language
When Malkin was called for tripping Legwand, he said, “he got the leg with the wand.”
He almost sliced Craig Smith in half with a beautiful open ice hit.
I’m still trying to figure out how Geno’s first one got by Rinne.
I’m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.