It was the worst of games, it was the best of games, it was a sieve-led nightmare, it was a Sid-led dream, it was the epic failure, it was the epic comeback, it was the period of darkness, it was two periods of goal lights, it was 20 minutes of despair, it was 40 minutes of joy, we had failure before us, we had the visions of the Cup before us.

Even Strength Offense: F/A

It was the worst of games. They generated only four shots and zero pressure on Sievegalov. They took several stupid penalties. It was the best of games. They just dominated the second period and drove Sievegalov from the net. They had all kinds of pressure leading to the Dupuis goal on a beautiful pass from Sid. They got a lucky one of their own when a Neal pass to Geno went in off Coburn. It was all set up by a great play by Bennett to strip the puck off Simmonds. Then they tied it when Cookie made a great patient play to pick up a rebound and skate around the net before finding Kennedy (yes, Kennedy) in the high slot. The onslaught wasn’t done, though. Kunitz worked a great give-and-go with Sid and easily put it past Boucher.

Even Strength Defense: F/B

It was the worst of games. They rarely got out of their own end, and allowed numerous great chances. The Cryers did put two even-strength goals past Fleury. Well, really only one. Engelland somehow managed to make Rinaldo look like a real hockey player in front, leaving him all alone to beat Fleury. Then he provided a slight screen on a very weak goal by Timonen. It was the best of games. They totally shut the FLyers down in the second period, easing Vokoun’s entry into the game. The third period was a bit more dicey, as they allowed some good chances that forced Vokoun to be sharp.

Power Play: A

The Comcast refs stunningly gave them only three power plays, but they converted on their first for a huge goal at the time. Sid made a great play to keep it in at the line, then they ended up getting a good bounce for Kunitz to slam home.

Penalty Kill: F

It was its usual hot steaming mess against Philly. On the first one, Martin allowed a pass through the box, then scored an own goal as he tried to recover. Then he deflected a Voracek shot late in the first for another own goal. The biggest problem the PK had was faceoffs. It seemed like the Flyers won every draw cleanly, leaving the Pens out of position right off the bat.

Goaltending: F/A

It was the worst of games. Fleury started out strong. After 15 minutes, he was the ONLY reason this game was even close. And the only goal to that point went in off Martin. Then he spit out a bad rebound that Rinaldo knocked home. Then a weak wrister by Timonen eluded him. Then a deflected shot leaked through the legs, and that was it for him. He just imploded yet again against Philly. It was the best of games. Vokoun came in and stunned the world by stopping every shot sent his way, 14 in all. He had an easy second, but did make some key saves in the third. In fact, a huge save on Fartsmell led to the game-winning goal.

Overall: F/A

It was the worst of games. They were outclassed in the first period, when they had zero life and seemingly zero interest in competing. How that can happen, I have no idea. They must have decided that they could not have any emotion in their game in order to combat the stupid penalties. Yet they still took stupid penalties.Both of Neal’s ended up in the net on the Flyer PP. It was the best of games. They just dominated the second period and put three past Sievegalov. Then they buckled down and played at least decent defense in the third after they got the lead.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: A

His passing game is returning.

Geno: D

Only two shot attempts the whole game.

James Neal: F

He scored one lucky goal, but took two stupid penalties that led to goals. he is incapable of playing well against this team.

**Beau Bennett: A*

He looked right at home on the second line.

Kris Letang: B

He kept his emotions in check, which is huge for him. But he somehow managed to attempt 7 shots without getting one on goal (5 blocked, two misses).

Chris Kunitz: A

Raise your hand if you thought he’d be third in the league in goals halfway through the season. I see no hands. Okay, then.

Deryk Engelland: F

Two more goals against in only 13 minutes of ice time. Impressive. And, boy, that toughness really came in handy when he left the immortal Zac Rinaldo all alone in front.

Tyler Kennedy: C

He was mostly invisible after the Flyers treated him like a ragdoll early on. But he did score a goal, so that’s at least something.

NHL Network: F

They forced us to watch the homer Flyer announcers. Subjecting the entire country to those clowns should be banned by the FCC.

Steve “The Homer” Coates: F

And sure enough, Coatesy came through big time. When Grossmann was called for interference, he audibly yelled, over Jackson’s call, nonononononononononono, that is not a penalty.”

Cliches: F

They are cliches because they are overused. But Fartsmell must have set a record by using 11 of them in a 30-second interview. Gack. The again, he’s probably not smart enough to use anything BUT cliches.

My Wife: A

I quit watching after the first period, went in our study, cranked up some musics, and ignored the game. But she made me come back in after the Pens made it 4-3. Thanks, hon.

Striped Buffoonery

Yeah, only three PPs for the Pens pretty much says it all. Letang was hooked and went hard into the boards. Both Sid and Adams were hit from behind into the boards. But I guess that’s legal now. Oh, not to mention the first call on Neal for “elbowing” the Pixie was a joke, too. Philadelphia typical.

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A guide to the game grades can be found here.