Pens Vs Islanders Grades
Even Strength Offense: D
Not a very good offensive display at all. They managed only 23 even strength shots on goal. And not a lot of them were of high quality. This game illustrated how much the top line means to this team. They were essentially without it from the get-go. The Geno line produced only in spurts and the others almost not at all. Finally, after the huge PK to start the third period, they started skating better. Cooke made a nice play on a rebound to kind of outwait Nabokov, then Neal zipped one past the Kazakh goalie to kind of wrap it up.
Even Strength Defense: B-
Maybe I’m being harsh, but the defense wasn’t real strong most of the day. They allowed way too many good chances. The good thing is again, there were few, if any, rebounds to be had.
Power Play: I
For the second straight game, the opponent played an angelic game
Penalty Kill: A++
The major kill with the 5-on-3 interlude was simply amazing. The PK guys just buckled down and allowed almost nothing to the Islanders. They were diving in front of shots. There was Cooke keeping the puck in the Isles’ end for what seemed like an eternity. They blocked the passing lanes to prevent easy one-timers. They cleared the puck when they got the chances to. It was as good as you will ever see.
In contrast to the previous game, Vokoun had to work for THIS shutout, The Isles fired 58 pucks toward him, 35 of those actually on net. But once again, he was totally technically sound, quite the contrast to earlier in the year when he was flopping like an Aubin out of water. His rebound control was again tremendous, and this time he didn’t require the help of the iron to get the shutout. Marc Andre Who?
They get only a B for their third straight shutout? Yep. The offense just wasn’t there. And the defense was a bit leaky too. But the goaltending sure wasn’t, and that’s what carried this day.
And now, the rest of the story…
He was in his usual day game vodka hangover fog until the third period and attempted only three shots. His short little breakout pass set up the Neal goal.
James Neal: A
Good to see him finally get one. His misfires earlier were reminiscent of the Little Jimmy days.
Simon Despres: A
I’m going to keep giving him an A until Bylsma agrees. He got less ice time than Stinkelland yesterday.
Well, that’s two in a row. Since the Iginla trade, the Pens have played two games and had a total of 2:43 of power play time. It’s starting to look like a trend. The player-wannabe refs are jealous of a talented team that has been put together and are going to try their hardest to make them earn every goal they get.Yesterday’s performance by Tim Peel was simply despicable. How a guy like that even keeps his job is beyond me. Let’s go through the list of missed calls, shall we?
-Dupuis obstructed trying to enter the zone
-Sutter was interfered with on a PK faceoff right after a very weak call on Engelland
-Adams’s stick was slashed and broken
-Oh, and of course, we have the Kunitz call, which takes the cake
Peel is so bad he can’t even discern a hockey play. Two guys go shoulder-to-shoulder. One guy is strong. The other is a weak-on-his skates AHL quality player. The irresistible force met the movable object and guess who won? Bailey goes off balance after the shoulder-to-shoulder and hurdles into the boards. And Kunitz gets five and a game. And knowing the War Garage, that will probably earn him five games. Heck, if Nash didn’t get suspended for his blatant hit, they can pretty make up anything they want, right?
Bibsy’s Creative Language*
“He was almost a human advertisement on the boards”
The aforementioned hit was on Colin McDonald. It was mammoth.
Before his was wrongly ejected, he nailed Tavares in the open ice.
After he and Matt Martin jawed when Cooke scored, he nailed Martin into the corner boards. Cleanly I might add, Mr. Melnyk.
I’m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.