Even Strength Offense: B-

This was a really hard grade to come up with. They scored four even-strength goals, but all were due to the “generosity” of Montreal’s goaltenders. Well, except the last one that Plekanec deftly deflected past Price. The first three, though, were eminently stoppable by NHL-caliber goaltending. Sutter ripped a long wrister past Buddha, then Morrow leaked a couple through. The Pens only generated 16 shots at even strength, and a total of 49 shot attempts including the power play. They certainly did have stretches where they controlled play in the Habs’ end without getting shots, so that was a plus. But they were far from dominant.

Even Strength Defense: B+

Likewise, the defense was a tad leaky too. They gave up 68 shot attempts, though some of that in the third was just garbage time. They never let Montreal get back in the game after jumping to an early lead. Many of Montreal’s shots were weak attempts from the outside. But they also left some guys uncovered right in front on a couple of the goals.

Power Play: A

The PP was dominant. They racked up 13 shots in 11 minutes of time and scored twice. They moved the puck well and had guys in opportune net-front spots to knock home rebounds.

Penalty Kill: A

The PK was superb all night. They allowed only two shots in over 5 minutes of time and Montreal was never a threat.

Goaltending: B

It wasn’t Fleury’s best game, but it didn’t have to be. They gave him the early lead and he was more than up to holding it.

Overall: B+

Again, it’s a tough game to grade. The Pens played well, but the sieves in net for Montreal gave the Pens an early lead. After that, it was more about making sure Montreal didn’t get back into it than it was about playing the usual aggressive forecheck. The Pens were in command on the scoreboard, but the play was actually pretty even.

A quick note: These truly are the new Penguins. All the goals last night were scored by guys not there a year ago.

And now, the rest of the story…

Geno: MIA

The Pens are now 13-2 when he feels unable to play. Just sayin’.

Brenden Morrow: A

I was down on him originally because it looked like his hands were shot. But that’s just him. He just goes to the right places on the ice and uses his smarts to get the puck past goalies. And he made himself a hero forever by going after Pernell Karl or Punk Kind or whatever that piece of trash’s name is.

Jarome Iginla: A

I didn’t realize how hard he shoots the puck. And he’s looked much better since he hasn’t been saddled with 71.

Brandon Sutter: A

Two more against the Habs.

Simon Despres: F

At the risk of sounding like Bylsma, he was awful. He seemed to be in a fog most of the night. That will relegate him to the press box until next year.

Douglas Murray: A

The drought is over!

Striped Buffoonery

So three guys get together and mug Matt Cooke, yet he comes out with the only penalty??? Good thing our courts don’t work that way. Once the Habs got behind, the buffoons just let them get away with anything they wanted until things got out of hand late. Montreal typical.

Crank You

He and Adams combined to nail Moen early on.

Free Candy

He nailed Lars Eller after Eller had gotten him.

Kunikazi

Punk Kid Pernell Karl got splattered.

Icehole

Boy, this is tough, eh? Punk Kid Pernell Karl was running around like a jackass in the third period. After he was in the scrap with Morrow, he started laughing at Morrow while his team was down three goals. Yep, that exudes class. Then when he got back on the ice, he intentionally took a misconduct so Morrow could rip him apart. That makes him a gutless Punk Kid who intentionally cuts other players with his skates. Nothing says useless trash like the initials PK.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.