Pens At Islanders Game 4 Grades
Even Strength Offense: C+
It was better than the previous two games, but still nowhere near good enough. They are still totally unable to establish any forecheck at all. None. They are just too old, tired and slow to track down the mobile Islander defensemen. They did get one goal off the forecheck when Cooke demolished and Islander and set up Sutter, but the rest were on transition. And that ainâ€™t a good way to win a series.
Even Strength Defense: F
Itâ€™s the playoffs and the defensive comedyfest is in full swing now.
First goal: Letang makes several lazy clearing attempts then screen Fleury on the Strait shot.
Fourth goal: Geno fails to get the puck out, skates around aimless. Eaton gets schooled behind the net by Cizikas.
Fifth goal: Geno with another brutal turnover at the blue line, then gets lost trying to figure out what to do.
They did a much better job of limiting the Islander chances. The problem is, with this type of goaltending, if you donâ€™t limit them to zero, you wonâ€™t win.
Power Play: F
In four minutes of time, they only managed two shots on goal. The first power play did dominate, but they just couldnâ€™t put the puck on net. The second one was absolutely awful and killed any momentum created by the Sutter goal.
Penalty Kill: C
Give them enough chances and they will eventually score. The whole play started when Adams didnâ€™t get the puck deep, leading to an Islander rush.
If I never see Choke-Andre Fleury in a Penguin uniform again, I would be perfectly fine with it. What a disgraceful performance by a highly overrated goalie.The two putrid goals he let in last night cost them at least a chance of overtime. But itâ€™s the playoffs, and those are the types of goals we have come to expect. He is leakier than the hose our dog chewed. He is leakier than a faucet without a gasket. And he just absolutely killed his team last night. Neither the third nor sixth goals would have gone in on some random peewee you found on the street and plopped in the net. And then the poor guy buries his head in his hands and cries on the bench. Poor little baby. I guess he weeps because he knows heâ€™s started his last game ever for the Pens, and he realizes heâ€™ll never have it so easy again. Bye, Marc, thanks for the memories. Now get the hell out of the net. I hope you take better care of your baby than you do the team in front of you.
This team is simply incapable of playing a slow, disciplined game. Remember back when we got all upset about this Mike Milbury comment:
â€œThe big guys, Malkin and Crosby. Theyâ€™re like crack addicts. They canâ€™t get enough of this offensive stuff. They want to go coast to coast and score goals, but it leads to some trouble.â€
Well, you watch this series and you know heâ€™s right. They have no concept of how to play in their own end. Or easily clear the zone. All they want to do is get up the ice and score goals. Geno cost them two doing that last night. Teams just KNOW they can lure this undisciplined bunch into a wide open game, then prey on their stupidity. And then they get to the last line of defense and it isnâ€™t even there some of the time. Yep, â€œour gameâ€ is quite the formula for success.
And now, the rest of the storyâ€¦
One second assist and a lovely 4 for 18 on faceoffs. Yeah, I know itâ€™s the mask, but facts are facts.
Great pass to Neal and a beautiful shot on the 2-on-1, but they were negated by the two brutal turnovers that led to Islander goals.
James Neal: C
A goal, but barely noticeable otherwise.
Kris Letang: C
He made several outstanding defensive plays, but also gave the Islanders a goal with the lazy clear. Oh, and did you know he cross-checked a linesman? Stick tap to Pensblog for this.
Brenden Morrow: F
Itâ€™s easy to see now why Dallas dumped his sorry ass. They knew if they made the playoffs he wouldnâ€™t be able to keep up.
Jarome Iginla: F
Has anyone else noticed that heâ€™s really terrible defensively? Or is it just playing with Geno that makes him look that way.
Tanner Glass: F
Another empty sweater.
Mr. March: F
Yes, indeedy. There is no better coach in the NHL if you want to win games in March. Oh, for the days when the Cup was awarded in March. Sadly, itâ€™s not. And as soon as the calendar turns to April, or in this case, May, Mr. Marchâ€™s mojo is gone. This is the fourth playoff in a row where he just canâ€™t figure out why his vaunted system, â€œour game,â€ â€œPittsburgh Penguin Ice Hockey,â€ or whatever the hell you want to call it, jsut isnâ€™t working. Itâ€™s such a genius system, it cannot possibly fail. Why, heâ€™s figured out what no coach in 100 years has been able to. It just HAS to work. Because Dan Bylsma is a stinkinâ€™ genius. Why he won a Cup after only 30 games. It doesnâ€™t get any smarter than that. But this is the fourth playoff choke in a row. I mean, seriously. If this team does somehow manage to beat the Islanders, does anyone seriously think theyâ€™d be competitive against any other Eastern team save maybe Toronto? This is one hot steaming mess that Mr. March has created.
Kenny Albert: A
Thank you for the reverse jinx. â€œThe Penguins havenâ€™t scored in the third period in this series.â€ Five seconds later, Dupuis scores.
Penguinsâ€™ Playoff T-shirts: F
They have a big â€œ4â€ on them. That should be a â€œ1,â€ for one and done, as in either this series or how all their rushes go.
Role Reversals: A
You would swear the Islanders are the veteran, poised team and the Penguins are the playoff newbies.
Devorski and Oâ€™Blindoran were their usual awful selves. Cooke got a penalty for going through an Islander while chasing the puck. Then there was one play where Sid was totally interfered with and Kunitz got nailed from behind. No call on either. But I canâ€™t say it was biased. The Pens got away with plenty too. The officiating is the least of their worries. They arenâ€™t getting power plays because they arenâ€™t playing in the Islandersâ€™ end.
Iâ€™m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.