Pens Vs Bruins Game 1 Grades
Even Strength Offense: F
They came out flying, but they were flying rather aimlessly. The first couple shifts were good, as they locked the Bruins in their own end. Unfortunately, even on those shifts, they forgot the one thing that is somewhat important if you hope to score—shooting the puck. That was a theme throughout the night. They mustered only 52 attempts on net and only 19 shots on goal at even strength. That simply will not get it done. The other big problem is the shots were not particularly threatening because there were rarely screens and never rebound attempts. In other words, they did not play playoff-style hockey. The fancy crap that worked against terrible teams like the Islanders and Senators better disappear in a hurry, or weâ€™ll soon be talking about how overrated this bunch is.
Even Strength Defense: F
Breakdowns galore. First goal, Martin and Orpik get backed way in on transition, and Sid just goes for a leisurely skate rather than taking Krejci. Then Martin deflects it past Vokoun. Second goal, Eaton gets outmuscled along the boards, then Letang fails to take Krejci and instead tries to bat the puck out of the air. Third goal, brutal neutral zone giveaway by Niskanen. Then Niskanen and Letang both leave the front of the net and Iginla and Malkin fixate on the puck, leaving two Bruins wide open in front. Awful, awful, awful.
Power Play: D
They at least generated a few good chances. But in the end, they mustered only 9 shots in 8 minutes of time. There was once again no emphasis on doing the simple, playoff-style things. They overpassed. They failed to screen Lucka Rask, and none of those shot attempts were rebounds.. They played as though they were still playing Suckawa, with turnstiles like Gonchar and Karlsson on the back end. Hate to tell you this, guys, but Boston has real defensemen.
Penalty Kill: A
Thcis aspect of their game continues to shine. They completely stymied the Broons, allowing only 4 shots in almost 9 minutes of time. They were especially impressive during the 3 minutes of major time against Cooke.
Martin tipped the first one past him, but the other two were rebounds. The second one was bad because he didnâ€™t even know where the puck was. On the last one, it was two on zero in front of him, so there was really nothing he could do. In short, NO, it is NOT Fleury time yet.But I will change my mind if they lose the next game.
Well, at least the effort was there. But it was aimless, and totally un-playoff-style energy. They were unlucky in hitting three posts, but that was about the only hopeful aspect of what I saw. The gameplan and execution were horrendous. You donâ€™t beat Boston by making one pass after another. You donâ€™t win at this stage against any team trying to play run and gun hockey. You win by being solid in your own end and waiting for chances to come. They did neither. And if they donâ€™t adjust and quickly, they might as well make tee times at Brrokline next Saturday.
And now, the rest of the storyâ€¦
The immature side once again shone through. Good captains do not let their frustration get to them and then put it on display. Oh, and he was a sweet little -2.
He was hustling like Iâ€™ve not seen in a long time and even fought Bergeron. But since Chara is mainly out against Sid, heâ€™s going to have to bury chances.
Kris Letang: F
This is one of those games where everyone had to be asking, â€œwas this guy actually a Norris finalist?â€ He was awful.
Jarome Iginla: F
Only 2 shot attempts and a sweet little -2. Way to prove you made the right choice.
Pascal Dupuis: F
Did he even play?
Chris Kunitz: Z-
Maybe if just one of his whiffs and misfires had gone in, this might have been a different game
Jack Adams: A
He had a week to prepare them and THIS was the gameplan? It looked like he just spent a week telling them to hit, hit, hit, and everything else will take care of itself. They said all week they have to hit Chara, but did anyone actually do it?
Brad Watson called the game. Need I say more. The juxtaposition of the calls on Cooke and Marchand is pathetic beyond words. John Buccigross tweeted a photo showing McQuaid looking right at Cooke before Cooke hit him. Then he flops into the boards (oh, wait, Julien says Boston players donâ€™t dive), then stays down on the ice until heâ€™s sure thereâ€™s a penalty. Thatâ€™s 5 and a game. Then Marchand nails Neal into the boards from behind. neal clearly did NOT see Marchand coming. Yet that draws only 2 minutes. Oh, and twice the Pens get called on weak interference calls. None on Boston, despite that being part of their game plan.
North America: A
In order to relax after the game, we watched a recording of this wonderful show depicting weather and wildlife on our continent. The cinematography is amazing. It was much better than the hockey game.
Iâ€™m on Twitter.
A guide to the game grades can be found here.