My Prediction

Flyers 4, Pens 3.
Actual: Flyers 6, Pens 4.
Record in predicting winner: 30-22.

Even Strength Offense: C

What’s that, you say? They scored four even-strength goals and only get a C? Actually, I think I’m being generous here. I am sick and tired of all the giveaways, failed fancy passes, and flat out crappy puck management that leads to breaks the other way. This team has been playing pond hockey for the last several weeks, and if they think that this style will win even a single playoff game, they are sadly mistaken.

Even Strength Defense: F

Okay, the defense and offense are inextricably linked here, but the bottom line was, they did not keep the puck out of the net. They gave the Flyers goals every which way. There was horrible defensive coverage. There was a lost draw. They screened their own goalie on a couple of them. They gave up breakaways. Again, it’s not like we haven’t seen this over the past month.

Power Play: F

If Bylsma insists on using this idiotic five forwards configuration, he should be summarily dismissed, and immediately. It flat out stinks. As I said the other night, scoring off the rush is not a formula for sustained success. They showed it yesterday. The Flyers took away the rushes, and once the Pens tried to set up, comedy ensued. They either couldn’t get set up, or did and gave it away, leading to scoring chances at the other end. They did pad their stats with a meaningless goal at the end, but the power play was a total FAIL when they needed a goal.

Penalty Kill: F

The PK issues continued. The Flyers made two consecutive passes through the box to set up a wide open Simmonds for a tap-in. Maybe the Pens should watch video of this to see how a real power play functions.

Goaltending: D

Fleury’s slump continues. He just hasn’t been the same goalie since the Flyer debacle that ended the winning streak a couple weeks ago. Here’s the ugliness for the past couple weeks: .873 save percentage, 3.50 GAA. He wasn’t absolutely awful yesterday, but he certainly got outplayed by the guy at the other end. The first one leaked through him, and that got the Flyers going. He really didn’t have much of a chance on the rest of the goals, as his clueless mates just left him back there to fend for himself.

Overall: F—————

The picture up top says it all. This team is dead in the water. They are not doing anything well, and have only three games to figure it out. Not enough time to fix all that is wrong. The even-strength play, especially the puck management, is atrocious. The power play is abysmal. The PK is slipping. And the goaltender is in a funk. Oh, and they have a guy that routinely gets outcoached in the playoffs. Did I miss anything?

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: F

I don’t care that he had two assists. I do care that, as the leader of this team, he made two blind backhand passes in front of his own net. He is the captain, and players follow his lead. That kind of crap has to stop NOW.

Geno: F

Gene, Gene, the turnover machine was in fine form, always trying to do too much. Oh, and the Flyers got under his skin and took him off his game.

Kris Letang: F

He flat sucks if he isn’t good enough to play on this power play. That’s a joke, for all you Letang fangirls out there.

Steve Sullivan: A

Is he the only guy who sees what’s going on here? He looked totally pissed at his mates late in the game.

Joe Vitale: A

He injured two clowns yesterday.

*Jack Adams Bylsma: F

I put the blame for the state of this team squarely on his shoulders. These puck management problems were becoming evident long before the end of the winning streak. But they were not addressed. That would have been the time to do it. A good coach doesn’t worry about his players’ feelings while they’re winning. He makes sure they stay grounded. That apparently did not happen, as the problem has only gotten more and more serious the past few weeks. You want to have your team heading in the right direction heading into the playoffs. Bylsma has his doing just the opposite.

Ray Shero’s Draft Record: F

Boy, can you ever see the difference between the Flyers and the Pens. Look at all the young guys the Flyers have up front. And look at the dearth of up-and-coming forward talent through the entire Penguin organization. When the Pens need an injury replacement from the AHL, who do they call? Colin McDonald, that’s who. Boy, does that make you feel good or what!

Minus Machine Update

Player This Game Season
MM4 -1 -4
Non Minus Machine -2 +73

Today is a grand and glorious day. We are removing MM7 from this list., as his +/- now equals his number. Amazing what being separated from Michalek will do for you, eh? Now it’s poor Brooksie who’s being dragged down.

Silliness

Notice I haven’t brought up the silliness at the end yet? It had no bearing on the game, or as some are hoping, the Pens’ season from here. But let’s get into it now. So Peter Puke Laviolette says that Bylsma is “gutless” for putting out fourth liners at the end? Gee, I’m sure he’s never done that, has he? No, that’s not the Flyer way.

Hey, Lavy, do you want to know what’s gutless? Gutless is having your rookie punk run Sidney Crosby after the whistle, knowing he couldn’t be called for a penalty. Gutless is your little elf spearing Joe Vitale off the draw when you supposedly just wanted to keep things in check. Gutless is smashing a stick over the glass, when doing so put fans at risk. Gutless is sullying what had been a good reputation by going against all your principles and working for this outfit. Oh, and what wasn’t gutless was Engelland easing up on Simmonds. he could have plastered Simmonds all over the ice, but didn’t want to do that because of his broken nose.

Icehole of the Game

Gee, who else could it be?

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.