Pens At Rangers Grades
Even Strength Offense: C
The offense really wasn’t much to write home about. They got the geno goal early and the Despres breakaway out of the box, but they certainly didn’t generate much in the way of sustained pressure most of the night. What they did do well is avoid those costly turnovers. They played what is becoming their typical conservative road game, and they played it to perfection.
Even Strength Defense: A
Excellent performance here. Once again, the forwards were backchecking hard. The defensemen were tying guys up in front. The Rangers did get a couple odd-man breaks early, but that was about it. The two youngsters had strong games on the blue line.
Power Play: C
Well, hey, at least it wasn’t the steaming pile it had been recently. They actually had a couple solid power plays where they established the zone and moved the puck around. That led to one power play goal on a beautiful deflection by Neal. What I noticed is they were moving all over the place. I think everyone but Kunitz ended up at the center point at one time or another. But there was still a maddening tendency to pass up shots looking for the Sportscenter highlight play.
Penalty Kill: A
For the most part, they frustrated the Rangers. They kept things to the outside. They alternated between a passive and aggressive box. That seems like a good idea, as it keeps the opponent guessing. Just don’t always fall back into the passive box.
Boy, did Vokoun look solid. He was just always in exactly the right place. The puck was hitting him and he was absorbing it. He just looks so calm in net. he got a bit lucky in the third with the two goalposts, but, hey, maybe this team deserves a break or two.
Once again, they played a near-perfect road game. They scored early to get the crowd quieted, then once they got the 3-0, they just trapped the life out of the Rangers. They got flawless goaltending. because they had the lead, they didn’t juggle the lines too much and they were able to protect Despres and Bortuzzo.
And now, the rest of the story…
He had the one breakaway, but was otherwise rather quiet.
He scored the huge early goal on a laser beam, and limited the turnovers all night.
James Neal: A
He had the beautiful deflection and also came back hard defensively all night.
Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik: A
24:46, 26:23, and 24:30, respectively. These guys are carrying the load while Niskanen is out.
Dustin Jeffrey: A
I thought he looked better than either Kennedy or Tangradi has on Geno’s left wing. Sadly, he’ll probably be scratched to make room for Boychuk.
Both teams were barking at Hasenfratz and Joannette all night long over missed calls. The most blatant of these was probably Sid tripping Gaborik from behind and getting away with it. Then again, we also had Girardi nailing Sid behind the net, from behind. And Sid hadn’t touched the puck. The awfulness worked both ways.
The whole game by Vokoun.
I’m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.