Pens At Jets Grades
Even Strength Offense: C
They essentially only scored one even-strength goal, and that was by the fourth line. Vitale made a great play to get deep, then Craig Fâ€™in Adams got three whacks at the rebound before finally burying it. That was some high quality defense to allow that. The Pens had lots of odd-man breaks throughout the game, but PPIH (pass pucks into holes) reared its ugly head time after time.
Even Strength Defense: C
Way too many quality chances allowed. Thankfully, Fleury was there to bail them out.
Power Play: A
I gotta go with results here and give it the A. The 5-on-3 goal at the end was huge, but boy, was that power play ugly until they finally scored. They had trouble establishing the zone while up by two men. When they finally did, Geno made a perfect pass for a Neal one-timer that basically clinched the game.
Penalty Kill: A
As usual, the PK was outstanding, allowing only one shot on goal in four minutes. And this was with two key killers (Orpik and Dupuis) taking penalties.
Fleury was absolutely stellar. He had little chance on the one that beat him and stopped everything else. He was clearly the difference in this game. The Pens gave up lots of good looks, and Fleury stoned them every time until the end. As far as Iâ€™m concerned, he was the first, second, and third stars last night.
Just like the Ottawa game before it, it wasnâ€™t their best effort, but it was good enough to get the job done. They did get lured into a more wide-open game than they would have liked, and allowed way too many chances against. The top three lines produced zilch at even strength, but the fourth line came through with the huge first goal. All in all, not a great effort, but another road win.
And now, the rest of the storyâ€¦
Certainly not his best effort, though much of the lack of productivity was caused by Kunitz perfecting PPIH and screwing up one odd-man break afetr another with ill-advised passes.
He was very solid. AS Bibsy noted, they were targeting him from the start. I figured that would lead to a couple dumb penalties, but he kept his composure and set up Neal for the huge PPG.
James Neal: A
Another power play snipe.
Kris Letang: D
Okay, he played a strong game, but his idiotic icing led to the only Jets goal.
Matt Cooke: F
Toby Enstrom got hurt. Matt Cooke was in the building. Matt Cooke is therefore responsible for Enstromâ€™s injury. Tho sayth Bryan Murray and Eugene Melnyk. Oh, and apparently that known hockey expert Michael Wilbon.
Zach Upchuk: F
Finally, an appropriate spot for him.
Beau Bennett: C
He bobbled almost every pass sent his way, but that little play where he stripped the puck and came around for a quick shot gave a quick glimpse of the hands he has.
Jack Adams: B
Thank you for scratching Upchuk. When will you follow suit with Engelland?
Dejan Kovacevic: I
For insane. For some odd reason, he is attracted to Winnipeg. All I know is, I live almost 500 miles further south, and itâ€™s too frickin cold HERE. I cannot even imagine spending a winter in Winnipeg.
I would really like to know how Letang got that cut on his wrist. My guess would be an undetected slash. Or did Matt Cooke do it?
Boy itâ€™s hard to pick out just one. Letâ€™s just say the whole night.
Bibsyâ€™s Creative Language
â€œThe fourth line is working as a unison.â€ Whatâ€™s a unison?
Rob KIng: F
He said the word â€œshutout,â€ thus ruining any chance for Marc-Andre to attain it.
Gotta give it to Eric Tangradi. he was running everything that moves. Where was THAT the past three years?
Iâ€™m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.