Even Strength Offense: D

It continues to just stink. The generated very few chances once again, and almost nothing off the forecheck. They need to face the fact that the vaunted stretch pass just isn’t working against the mobile Islander defense. The isles just back the defensemen off and let the pens tip the long pass into the zone. They retrieve the puck and are moving out of the zone while the Pens are still trying to get in on the forecheck. And the Pens’ “coaching” staff is once again unable to adjust. The system and the Isles have rendered the Pens’ system basically impotent. They did manage two goals, but only garnered 20 even strength shots. Sid set up Duperstar on a line rush, and Geno found Doug Murray late for the other goal. But where was the sustained action in the New York end, especially after the Pens were up two? Nowhere to be found.

Even Strength Defense: F

Some of this is because of the lousy offense, but they continue to be humiliated in their own end. How many whacks did they have on the first goal? How wide open was Cizikas on the second one? How easy did tavares have it on the final one? And how many other times did they just hang Fleury out to dry? It’s just embarrassing how poorly they are playing and letting this quasi NHL team stay in this thing. Can you imagine how ugly it would be if they were playing a real NHL team?

Power Play: B

Maybe I’m being harsh with this grade, but the three power play goals they scored (on only four shots, I might add) are somewhat overshadowed by the hideous shorthanded goal they gave up while up by two. It came at the end of a power play in which they weren’t even trying to score, off a mistake by a veteran in Morrow that even a rookie or an idiot like Tyler Kennedy wouldn’t make. But as for the positive, Sid made a beautiful pass to set up Kunitz for the winner and Geno made a brilliant breakaway pass to Kunitz to tie it.

Penalty Kill: A

THis is one area where they’re playing pretty well in the series. They gave the Isles only 4 shots in 6 minutes of kill time, and have allowed only one PPG in the series. They are really keeping the Islanders at bay, though they are having difficulty clearing the puck at times.

Goaltending: B-

The only reason this is that low is that Fleury leaked that first goal early on. he has to be better than that when you know the Islanders will come out with a surge. But it’s hard to blame him on any of the other ones that eluded him. Cizikas, wide open in front. Okposo, shorthanded breakaway. Tavares, screen shot. It was just horrendous defense in front of him.

Overall: C+

This is, of course, the lowest grade I will give for a win. Because, despite all the negatives, they did win. However, they, and the idiot coaches, need to treat it as a loss, because that’s what they really deserved. They won because of some timely penalty calls and power play conversions. That’s about the sum of the positives. They are not gaining the zone offensively. They are not moving the puck efficiently out of their own end. They are getting outskated by the Islanders. The coaching staff still says they just need to get to their game, despite the fact that “their game” clearly isn’t working.

And now, the rest of the story…

Sid: C

Two nice passes, but not much else.

Geno: D

Beautiful breakaway pass to Kunitz, but as many giveaways as shots on goal (1).

Chris Kunitz: B

Two goals, but I’m really not noticing him at even strength.

Kris Letang: F

Whatever the islanders are doing, they have neutered Letang.

Simon Despres: F

How impressive is -2 in only 6 minutes of ice time? Well, this is what you get when you don’t play a rookie every time he makes a mistake in the regular season, then throw him to the wolves in the playoffs. He was simply brutal on the first two Islander goals and rarely hit the ice after that. I guess it’s Bortuzzo’s turn now.

Brenden Morrow: F

That had to be one of the most idiotic PP passes you will see, and how long has the guy been in this league?

Jarome Iginla: D

He scored a goal but took a brutal late penalty.

Brandon Sutter: F

Somebody wake him up and tell him the playoffs have started.

Jack Adams: F

This is just getting comical. The guy should have been axed after last year’s debacle. Now he’s getting schooled by the Genius Jack Capuano. The Pens are just so easy to play against. You know they are a one-trick pony and if you take away that trick, you have a good shot at taking a series from them. No stretch pass means no Penguin forecheck. No forecheck means they never get to their game. And not getting to their game continues to lead to playoff ousters. We’ll see if they can at least beat the islanders, but that would likely be the end of the road anyway.

The other thing we’re seeing is that the Pens are consistently excellent in the regular season because they outwork their opponents without much of a system in place. But in the playoffs, everyone works hard, so that advantage is gone. Now strategy comes into play, and Bylsma has none, except standing their with the dumb look on his face trying to figure out why his “system” isn’t working. He reminds me of Brian Sutter as a coach. Same thing—great regular season keyed by hard work, but zero playoff success because that hard work advantage is negated.

Striped Buffoonery

I’m not going to be critical of the refs. Were in not for the three (totally correct) penalty calls on the Isles, the Pens lose this game, and are likely blown out.

Crank You

He absolutely cleaned out Tavares in front when they were one-on-one..


Travis Hamonic, if for no other reason than Regis was gushing about him.

I’m on Twitter.

A guide to the game grades can be found here.