Pens At Isles Grades
A sloppy win
Even Strength Offense: C
They were very good in the first period. They were keeping play in the Islander zone. They didn’t score, but at least generated a couple power plays. But it went progressively downhill after that. They generated very few quality chances on Nabokov at even strength. Luckily, they did manage to convert two of them. Despres stayed out of the box long enough to whip a nice one-timer past Nabokov, then Sutter converted on a 2-on-1 early in the third that should have sent the Islanders packing.
Even Strength Defense:B+
They played excellent defense for about 59 minutes last night. Unfortunately, in the one minute where they didn’t, the Isles put two in the net. Letang got caught standing still at the blue line, and Grabner breezed past him. That broke things down, and Grabner ended up all alone in front to tap it past Fleury. Then, just seconds later, Martin was basically a revolving door in front and allowed Boyes to tap in a rebound.
Power Play: B+
Luckily on their first power play, they scored before they even had to set up. The other two, it was the same old problems. I’m not even going to try to rehash them here.
Penalty Kill: A+
The PK basically won them the game last night. They took one penalty after another and killed them all. I have to say, though, that the PK unit did allow some high quality chances where Fleury saved their bacon. The adage of the goalie being your best penalty killer was certainly proven true last night. Special props go aout to Orpik and Martin, each of whom logged over 8 ½ minutes of shorthanded time.
Another solid goaltending performance. Every game in the winning streak has featured that. Fleury really had no chance on the two goals (though he did kick out a big rebound on the second one). But he made some fantastic saves throughout, especially when they were shorthanded.
It’s a good thing this was the Islanders. if they had played like that against an NHL team, they likely would have been blown out. The discipline was horrendous, leading to seven Islander power plays. That caused them to never get into any rhythm offensively. It seemed like they were either killing a penalty or recovering from a PK all night long. That led to lottery lines, which led to few offensive chances. But at least Fleury and the PK were there to bail them out.
And now, the rest of the story…
No bad Genovers though.
James Neal: A
He had the big goal early on to get the game off on the right foot.
Brandon Sutter: A
He scored, but this is more for his great defensive work once again. You know what? He might actually be better than Staal defensively. He always seems to be in the right place and make the right play
Matt Cooke: A
Nice to see him on the scoresheet again.
Tyler Kennedy: F
He had the least ice time on the team. Tyler Kennedy, your time is up. How about Jeffrey or Tangradi on that line?
Once again, the team displayed a total lack of discipline last night. Once you see how the game is being called, you play to it. The Pens did not. I maintain this is a coaching issue that has plagued Bylsma from the start. he needs to start taking ice time away from guys who commit dumb penalties. Otherwise, they just keep doing it.
I so enjoy it when I think the game is horribly called without knowing who one of the refs was, then looking the next morning and seeing it is one of my whipping boys. I have hated Francois St. Laurent ever since he came into the league, and he butchered another one last night. Ticky-tack calls on the Pens all night, while allowing the Isles to hack Sid on the hands to prevent a scoring chance. The guy is simply pathetic, and he should not be allowed to have the word”saint” in him name. So to me, he will be henceforth known as Francois Laurent. Or we could just leave it alone with the St. standing for stupide.
It has to be the cartwheel save on Matt Martin. I’m sure Martin thought he had a goal. Oddly, that one didn’t even make the game highlights. Go figure.
Bibsy’s Creative Language
He was in fine form last night.
“Fleury reached out with his palm on his stomach.”
And an oldie but goodie: “A tough and rumble player.”
He nailed Carkner early on in retaliation for Carkner’s play at the end of the last game.
I’m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.