My Prediction

Pens 6, Sens 4.
Actual: Sens 8, Pens 4.
Record in predicting winner: 29-20.

Even Strength Offense: C

They did put home four goals, but some of the sloppy offense led to Ottawa goals. They gave the puck away so many times I lost track. Once they got to the offensive zone, they fell asleep and just let guys jail break all game. The Spezza goal was the classic example, as all five Pens were so deep that he had a breakaway almost from his own blue line. Over the last three games, they have kind of abandoned PPIH and started playing pond hockey. All I can say is, good luck with that. On the bright side, Cookie continued his hot play with Sid, popping in two more goals on transition. And Sid finally potted one.

Even Strength Defense: A

As in Abject Failure. It was just a total embarrassment. I’m not even going to try to break down every breakdown. But the defensive zone coverage (both forwards and defensemen) was just brutal. They were all wanting the puck so they could head up ice, forgetting that if you don’t play good defense, you won’t get the puck. You have to hit people. You have to have your head on a swivel. And you have to backcheck hard and not leave guys all alone in the slot. Just basic stuff that they’ve totally abandoned.

Power Play: F

Not only did they go 0-4 with only 4 shots, they also allowed a beautiful shorthanded goal where Sid seemed to forget that he was the last guy back after Letang stupidly went after a puck.

Penalty Kill: F

The Sens torched them for two power play goals, one where they just left Phillips all alone (Dupuis), and another where they allowed a pass through the box, then left Geening all alone in front.

Goaltending: F-

As Ann-Margret would sing, Bye, Bye Braddie. Okay, so I just watched an episode of Mad Men where she sings that. So sue me. Anyway, I think we’ve seen the last of Brad Thiessen for along time. Maybe forever. This is what happens when you bring up mediocre AHL goalies. This is what happens when your GM has failed to draft and develop a single goalie. This is what happens when you give a raw rookie his first road start on Hockey Night in Canada. This is what happens to mediocre goalies who have no defense in front of them. Thiessen made a couple good saves early, but totally collapsed as the game went along. On almost every shot, you pretty much expected it to go in. If ever there was a deer in headlights playing goal, Thiessen was it. Yes, he got zero help from his mates, but just one save every now and then would be nice.

Overall: F

With a chance to perhaps move ahead of the Rangers, they laid an embarrassing egg. They forgot you have to play some defense in this league. They forgot you have to work hard. They forgot that you can’t just throw “wish passes” all over the ice. The coach forgot that the game actually mattered and stupidly started his backup goalie. Yet the Rangers, playing back-to-back and with a reliable backup, used their starter. I will say it again, though, if these guys think pond hockey will win them a Cup, they mights well start making their tee times for mid April.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: A

A beautiful pass to Cooke, and he finally put one in. Hopefully, it’s the first of many.

Geno: F

I guess he missed momma’s borscht. He was in Stupid Geno mode all night, and got a sweet -4 to show for it.

James Neal: F

Dragged down by Stupid Geno, and totally invisible.

Kris Letang: C

Not much happening last night.

Matt Cooke: A

Two more goals. Look out Steven Stamkos, Matt Cooke is looming in your rear view mirror.

Deryk Engelland: A

An assist, and he somehow ended up +3 in this debacle.

Daniel Alfredsson: F

Is there anything more annoying than letting this guy score two against you?

Minus Machine Update

Player This Game Season
MM4 -4 -5
MM7 0 +4
Non Minus Machines +1 +66

Minus Maker 4 is really dragging Orpik down. He was also a -4 last night. Seems this happens to whoever he plays with. If Despres is ready next year, I know which overpaid defenseman I want gone.

Neasha Brueggergosman: F

First off, people don’t got to sporting events to hear the national anthem. Get over yourself. Second, if you are going to sing the anthems in such a pompous manner, at least get the words right. You are a joke and an embarrassment, so much so that you had players laughing at you. Go back to your opera hole where other self-absorbed, pompous people enjoy what you do.

Bibsy’s Creative Language

Describing how Ben Bishop went side-to-side: “He came across like a scarecrow.”

Monk Moment

Sid’s spinorama pass to set Cooke up.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.