Pens Vs Sens Game 1 Grades
Even Strength Offense: C-
Maybe this team IS good enough to just play rope-a-dope and then score without getting lots of chances. it sure worked again last night. They only managed 23 ES shots on goal. They did have some good shifts where they got the forecheck going, but not a whole lot. The major plus is that they kept the horrid turnovers to a minimum, meaning less quality chances in their own end. I would say the one goal was the result of a great forecheck, but it was more a giveaway by Cowen. The Geno converted off a great pass from Kunitz.
Even Strength Defense: B
It got better as the game went along. The third period was especially strong after a second period where Ottawa carried the play. The only Ottawa goal (shockingly) came with Stinkelland skating around in his own end looking like a lost kid. That allowed Greening ti get about 5000 pokes at a loose puck behind Vokoun. As the game went along, there were fewer quality chances in front and more shots from the outside. Vokoun wasn’t controlling the rebounds very well, but the defense was alert and not allowing second chances.
Power Play: A+
Wow! it was simply amazing. I like how they kind of swapped out between Neal and Kunitz. That gives them two different looks. They were moving the puck at will and generating lots of good chances. Even though the top unit didn’t get the first goal, they had worked the puck very well. Then the second unit comes on and puts one in. And the second PP goal was just the type I love to see. get the puck to the net and go to work. That’s what Letang did, and then that’s what Iginla and Kunitz did. Ugly goals can be beautiful.
Penalty Kill: A+
Only 7 shots allowed in 8 ½ minutes of kill time. The Sens did have a couple good looks here and there, but they never really seemed to be a major threat. Then, to boot, Dupuis scored the backbreaking shorthanded goal in the third period. Just a nice play by Murray to get the puck out along the boards, catching Achilles Heel Karlsson deep. Duper just took off like a rocket and zinged a perfect shot past Anderson.
Vokoun was scaring me last night. he gave up the Fleur-esque goal early, and he was spitting out lots of juicy rebounds. He seemed to be flailing a bit, especially early. But somehow he kept it together and allowed only the one goal. I thought he was kind of fortunate at times. His defense did a good job in front for the most part, and the bouncing pucks early on somehow didn’t go in. The thing was, he never seemed to get rattled and ended up battling through it. Veteran savvy, I guess.
You still get the feeling there is more from this team. But last night was a very complete, albeit not dominant, game. The special team were the difference, as they played to a tie at even strength. The difference between this one and the Islander series is that the Pens pretty much always seemed to be in control once they got the lead. I wouldn’t say they were dominant by any means, but they also didn’t allow Ottawa to dictate the terms to them like New York did.
And now, the rest of the story…
No points, and was on the ice for the only goal against. And he wasn’t very noticeable most of the night.
Great game by Geno. He came to play and was tremendous early on.
James Neal: F
Three stupid penalties, although the middle one was a joke of a call.
Kris Letang: A
A very under-control game by him.
Deryk Stinkelland: F
Only 13 minutes of ice time, but still managed to be on for the only goal against. Put Eaton in. Speed isn’t as much of a factor in this series.
I don’t know which buffoon called it, but that penalty on Neal at the blue line was one of the stupidest calls I have seen. I have never, ever seen it called before, so to pull it out of your hip pocket in a playoff game is simply ridiculous. Guys make that move dozens of times every game. Dump the puck in, then use a swim move to try to get past the D. To suddenly call that a penalty in a playoff game just because poor wittle Eric Wah-Wah Karlsson couldn’t stay upright is just beyond the pale.
He nailed Matt Kassian.
Oh, my, he just blew up Eric Gryba. Hey, Gryba, this ain’t Lars Eller you’re going against.
I’m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.