My Prediction

Rangers 4, Pens 1.
Actual: Pens 5, Rangers 2.
Record in predicting winner: 30-24.

Even Strength Offense: A

Once again, it was not PPIH, as they generated only 47 shots toward the net. But it certainly was effective. They took advantage of the Rangers playing their backup sieve and popped four past poor Marty Biron. Kunitz had a great deflection, Kennedy ripped home a rebound from “his spot,” Park banked one in from behind the net, and Geno rifled one past Biron on a great setup from Kunitz. All in all, they did what they had to and kept the Rangers at bay most of the night.

Even Strength Defense: A

The Rangers had only a few quality chances all night. The Pens really clogged the neutral zone and never allowed the Rangers to get any speed. They also moved the puck out of their own end pretty efficiently, save for the one even strength goal. That one was almost totally on Brian Strait, whop gave the puck away on a clear, then allowed the “speedy” Brian Boyle to get around him for a shot. Dubinsky then banged home the sloppy rebound.

Power Play: I

It’s almost comical that Tortorella is whining about the Pens when his angelic boys gave up only one power play all night.

Penalty Kill: B

They killed the first four penalties with ease, but slacked off a bit on the Orpik major. Of course, they did get the Letang shorty at the end to nullify the power play goal.

George: A-

Funny story here. Right after the save on Gaborik, my wife yelled, “great save, George.” George? She had no idea why she said that. But henceforth, Penguin goaltenders will be known as George. Fleury looked much better. Of course, it helped that they played solid defense in front of him, too. He made the one spectacular save on Gaborik when the game was tight. He just looked calmer and more in command than he had recently. I’m guessing they give him Saturday off so he goes into the playoffs on a high note.

Overall: A

An excellent effort! They played a very solid playoff style game. They didn’t allow too much in their own end. They minimized the turnovers. They generated a lot of high quality chances. These last two game, while not against teams playing for much, have certainly brought them out of their slump.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: C

He wasn’t very good last night. Most of his passes seemed to go awry. In fact, he picked up a second assist on Malkin’s go when his pass to Kunitz failed to connect.

Geno: B

He and Sid did not seem to have a lot of chemistry last night. But he put home his 49th on a nice feed from Kunitz.

Kris Letang: A

The first goal was a great example of how he keeps getting better. He waited momentarily instead of just taking a slapper so that he had a chance for a Kunitz deflection.. Oh, and he was +3.

Pascal Dupuis: A

I have neglected to mention him most nights during his streak. But anytime you put your name up there with Mario, Jagr, Sid, and Geno, you’re doing something right. Simply amazing!

Deryk Engelland/Brian Strait: U

For ugh. This pairing scares me if Niskanen can’t go in the playoffs. They are slow as dirt. Engelland can move the puck a little, which is more than Strait can say.

Minus Machine Update

Player This Game Season
MM4 +3 -1
Non Minus Machines +5 +76

It’s a race against time tomorrow. Can Z get back to even so we can retire this category?

Free Candy

Poor Derek Stepan felt the lower body wrath.

Icehole of the Game

Boy, the Pens must be the favorites in the playoffs. Every coach is whining about them. Last night, it was crybaby Tortorella’s turn.

What a joke. I don’t even know where to begin.

“Their two whining stars:” Oh, you mean the two guys who get abused all game long while the clown refs look the other way?

“Most arrogant organization in the league:” Not as long as the Rangers are in the NHL. They are leaders in trying to get rid of head shots, not accidental knee on knee hits. Oh, by the way, Torts, if Orpik was really trying to hurt someone, he wouldn’t have chosen a meaningless pissant like Stepan.

“Cheap, dirty hit:” Watch the replay, blowhard. Orpik never changes his line. Stepan, in trying to avoid the hit, ended up hitting Orpik’s knee.

“I wonder what would happen if we did it to their two whining stars over there.” Is that a threat, John. You might end up with a bigger fine than Brooksie.

What an ass.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.