Even Strength Offense: B-

They didn’t generate a lot of good chances on Holtby at even strength. Most of what they had was from the outside. Early on, they were just misfiring on their passes in a very sloppy first period. They were also getting killed on faceoffs, which made puck possession difficult. They did get better in both areas as the game went along, and finally netted the winner at even strength halfway through the third period. Cooke came out of the box and found Niskanen streaking down the slot.

Even Strength Defense: A

Another stellar effort defensively. The Caps did have some chances here and there, but the Pens did a great job of letting Fleury see the shots and clearing rebounds. The work of the forwards continues to be stellar. It’s amazing what happens when they pay attention to their own end. I have to give Bylsma and the staff credit for getting them to buy in to the defensive aspect. I wasn’t sure they had it in them.

Power Play: A

They had some good chances throughout and notched the key tying goal shortly after the Caps had taken the lead. Sid picked up a loose puck and found Martin high in the slot for a one-timer.

Penalty Kill: B

They allowed a goal on a lucky bounce that went right to Ovechickensh!t, but came through with a huge effort on the four-minute (unjustified) penalty to Cooke. I don’t think they gave the Caps one good chance the entire kill on that one. That really got the crowd going and led directly to the winning goal.

Goaltending: A

Another stellar effort from the Flower. He had zero chance on the lucky bounce goal, and shut them out otherwise. He’s in that zone again where he’s confident because his defense is doing its job. And on those rare occasions when he gets out of position, he’s using his quickness to cover up for it, like on the one rebound where he kicked it right to a Cap but got back in position to stop the rebound.

Overall: A-

The offense sans Geno and Letang is the only thing preventing an A. That’s two straight two-goal outputs. But on the much brighter side, the defensive dominance continues. And as they start to look toward the playoffs, that is far more important. Now is the time to be ingraining the good defensive habits, and they are doing it, to the tune of six goals allowed in the past six games (after allowing 17 in the previous four).

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: B

He wasn’t at his best, as several passes misfired early, but still got helpers on both goals.

Chris Kunitz: F

He looked like the early-season Kunitz with bad passes and a stupid penalty.

Paul Martin: A

The amazing transformation continues. He played over 28 nearly flawless minutes. He’s just been a rock, especially last night with Letang out.

Simon Despres: A

He’s in the lineup. They win. Simple as that. 19-4.

Bad DeSidcion*

It was a tie amongst almost every pass they tried in the first period.

Striped Buffoonery

Okay, so now when you hit a guy from the side and he dives into the boards, it’s a penalty? The call on Cooke was ludicrous, as was the unsportsmanlike call for him daring to question the godly officials. I didn’t catch whether it was O’Dork or Sassafratz that made the calls, but whoever it was should be disciplined. Ha, like that will ever happen! Yet these same clowns continually ignored the “zero enforcement” edict on interference (mainly against Sid).

Free (Legal) Cookie

The hit on Ovechickensh!t.

Free Candy

He absolutely plastered Perreault into the end wall. I also like the three hits on Ovechickensh!t after Brooks lost his stick.

Glass Rattler

The boards were shaking after he nailed Schultz.

Icehole

Ovechickensh!t, for his cowardly dive after the Cooke hit.

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A guide to the game grades can be found here.