Even Strength Offense: D

Gee, I could just copy the grade from last game, eh? In the first period, they played classic PPIH. They generated 25 shot attempts. Sadly, they had only 38 more in the final two periods. This time, instead of sitting on the lead, they tried to run and gun it. Oops, 0 for 2. This time, they were so intent on adding more goals, they completely abandoned the defensive zone. They gave the Flyers one odd-man break after another because everyone was trying to score. It’s a disaster right now.

Even Strength Defense: F——————————————

What a joke this team is. I’m not even going to try to recap all the breakdowns. Instead, here’s the tally of even strength goals allowed for each defenseman.

Michalek: 0
Engelland: 2 (in only 12:00 of ice time)
Lovejoy: 2 (in 11:42)
Martin: 1
Orpik: 1
Letang: 2 (both at the end when they had four forwards out there)

Hmmm, there certainly is lots of blame to go around, and that includes the forwards not even knowing where their own end was. But I said in the final week that the Engelland/Strait pair scared me. I’ll now say the same about Engelland/Lovejoy. Maybe if they hadn’t wasted so much money on Martin and Michalek, they might actually have a trustworthy third pair. Really though, that’s the least of the concerns. It’s really a system thing in my mind. The Flyers are releasing guys at the first hint of a turnover by the Pens. And nobody is picking them up because they’re skating so hard going north.

Power Play: F

Good changes on the power play, coach. I guess we should celebrate that it broke even. That’s a moral victory. When they didn’t give the puck away, it looked great. Unfortunately, they DID give it away, and the Flyers notched not one, but two shorties. And I doubt too many teams have ever won a playoff game when allowing two shorthanded goals.

Penalty Kill: A

Congratulations, Pittsburgh Penguins. You finally killed a playoff penalty. That’s a truly amazing feat. Now all you have to do is kill about 18 more in a row to have a decent PK percentage. It’s just amazing how many wide open guys the Flyers have when up a man.

Goaltending: C

I cannot even begin to evaluate the goaltending. This is the least of their worries, that’s for sure. Fleury once again was hung out to dry by his skaters who have no clue where the defensive zone is. How many odd-man breaks and breakaways can you expect your goalie to stop? I am honestly pondering giving Fleury a mercy rest tomorrow and playing Johnson. Either the Flyers will win 12-2, or the team will realize they have to protect their goalie at least a little bit instead of assuming he’ll make 30 spectacular saves every game.

Overall: F

Gee, the momentum from the last game lasted all of 15 seconds. So I was wrong on that one. But anyone who says the Flyers aren’t in the Pens’ heads is just deluding themselves. The Pens always grab a lead, but then they panic because they know the Flyers will come back somehow, some way.They panicked last night by playing like they needed to score 100 goals and totally abandoning any pretense of defensive effort. Last game, they just aimlessly gave the puck away. What’s left? Play a 1-3-1 and don’t even send anyone into the offensive end? It won’t matter, because the Pens have lost the psychological battle.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: C

A goal and an assists, but he had a brutal turnover that gave them a shorty. Then, instead of playing defense on the play, he stood there with his thumb up his ass and allowed Talbot to bang home the rebound.

Geno: F

Another disastrous game, with a lovely -4 and only 4 shot attempts.

Kris Letang: C

I don’t know what it is (too many minutes?), but he’s just not quite on his game.

James Neal: F

One goal in nine playoff games, and counting. And -4 last night.

Chris Kunitz: C

It’s pretty amazing that a guy can score two goals and be -5.

Ben Stinkjoy: F

Was on for the tying and winning goals, and his horrendous attempt at a cross ice pass gave the Flyers that tying goal. Bring up Depres or even Alex Picard.

Minus Machine Update

We start anew

Player This Game Season
MM4 +1 +2
MM7 0 -1
Non Minus Machines -5 -5

Coaching: F

It’s the playoffs, so Jack Adams must be getting outcoached. Jack said between games 1 and 2 that the Pens needed to keep going north when they got the lead. So they Flyers (coached by a real NHL coach), just waited for the inevitable turnovers that have happened every playoff under Bylsma and immediately went south. It just never changes. In the playoffs, the other coaches adjust and Jack just says, “get to our game,” as if that’s all there is too it. This team has no structure. Jack was able to win the Cup by taking FHCMT’s very structured system and loosening it just a little. But his system now has a 7-8 record in the two postseasons with Sid and Geno healthy. Their home record those two years is a pathetic 3-6. That’s what happens when all you do is play offense. The lack of accountability shown buy this coaching staff catches up to them in the playoffs. All year long, guys would make stupid plays, yet be right back out there the next shift. You know, that stuff catches up to you in the end. The Country Club atmosphere is back. Bye bye Bylsma.

Management: F

By the third period last night, the Penguins were looking old and slow. They’re not that old, but it sure would be nice to have some young legs in the lineup. Maybe they could bring up a forward or two from Wilkes Barre? Oh wait, there’s not a single forward down there who projects as an NHL player. Gee, whose fault is that?

Free Candy

He gave out eight of them, but the ones on Voracek and Wellwood really stood out.

Free Cookie

He nailed Brayden Schenn.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.