Even Strength Offense: C

I don’t think it was a real solid effort. They only had 49 shot attempts. They did control play for brief periods, but it seemed like the Senators kind of shut them down most of the night. The Sens played the trap, and the Pens had very few odd-man breaks. They got the first goal when Depres made a good pinch and then Sid made an unbelievable saucer pass to the Duperstar. Then, lo and behold, the Geno line put one it at even strength thanks to Cookie creating havoc in front. Then Martin made a nice pass to Sid for essentially an empty-netter as Anderson had wandered way out of the crease. But the usual overpassing problem was prevalent again last night as they passed up several glorious chances in an effort to make one final pretty pass.

Even Strength Defense: B

They allowed the Senators to bottle them up in their own end for long stretches, and Fleury had to make some great saves to bail them out. They did allow only one even-strength goal when Engelland allowed Jim O’Brien to get behind him and snipe one past Fleury.

Power Play: A

They scored a goal when Neal banged home a rebound and they had another power play where they kept the puck in the zone for the entire two minutes but didn’t score.

Penalty Kill: A

They killed a long 5-on-3 and didn’t really allow and great looks for the Senators. Ottawa did score right at the end of that sequence but you can’t blame the penalty killers for a shot from behind the goal line.

Goaltending: C

Fleury made some outstanding saves, most notably the one on the Diving Whining Choking Dog on a cross-crease pass. But neither of the goals he allowed had any business going in, especially the one from below the goal line. This game was the maddening inconsistent Fleury encapsulated into 60 minutes. He was great for 59 minutes and awful for one. Luckily, it didn’t cost them the game.

Overall: B

It wasn’t their best effort, but it was good enough to get the job done against a depleted Ottawa team playing its second game in as many nights. They’ve got to take shot opportunities when they’re there, especially against a strong defensive team like Ottawa. They did not do that last night. They also allowed too many prime scoring chances. But they did what they had to to get the two points.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: A-

He was involved and made the great pass on the Dupuis goal. he gets downgraded a notch for the stupid drop pass when he had a shot in the low slot.

Geno: A

Very strong game from him even though he didn’t show up on the scoresheet. The addition of Cooke to his line seemed to help all of them find more space.

James Neal: A

He even notched an even-strength goal. How about that!

Matt Cooke: A

He had a very strong game and seemed to mesh right away on the second line. I’m not sure he’s a permanent solution, but it sure worked last night. he gives the line some badly-needed grit and net-front presence as opposed to the perimeter play of…

Zach Upchuk: F

Good riddance. We already know you can’t play a bottom-line role, so now that you’re off the Geno line, the waiver wire is next.

Paul Martin: F

Probably his worst game of the year. he took three penalties because he was a step slow defensively, though he did pick up two assists.

Jack Adams: C

I like that he dropped Upchuk down, but he also played Engelland over Bortuzzo. I don’t get that. Bortuzzo is a better skater and will become better defensively, if he’s not already. This is about the playoffs, and Engelland has not performed well there. So why not grow Bortuzzo?

Striped Buffoonery

So apparently it’s now okay to extend your arms while pushing Sid into the boards? Well, according to Rob Martell, it is.

EFGT

The Fleury save on the Diving Whining Choking Dog was spectacular.

NEFGT

The Da Costa goal from below the goal line was ugly, ugly, ugly. That might be the first really bad goal Fleury has given up this year. Anderson nearly equalled it on the final goal, when he ended up in the faceoff circle as Sid was shooting from in front.

IceHole

Chris Neil played. Need I say more? Yes, I need to. he decided to sucker punch Cooke late in the game in retaliation for the ACCIDENTAL injury to Karlsson (even the Garage League agrees). But Chris Neil knows no other way. I only wish it had been his achilles tendon instead of a class guy like Karlsson. But Neil would never be in that position because he only hits from behind and wouldn’t be the first one to the puck

Bibsy’s Creative Language

After the game, on Fleury: “Marc-Andre Fleury had to make some big saves early in the hockey game, particularly the first 60 minutes.” Did I miss that the game went into overtime???

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.