Tonight’s game in Florida was a night of many firsts. It was their first road game, Jeff Zatkoff’s first career NHL game.

Unfortunately, it was also their first loss of the season.
Let’s take a quick look at how it all went down.

EVEN-STRENGTH OFFENSE: C+
They still scored three tonight and had two players, Malkin and Dupuis, get their first goals of the year. They also got 39 shots on net and got a number of pretty good looks at the net. However, they had a hard time maintaining steady pressure at times due to committing turnovers and Florida’s increased attack time as the game progressed.

EVEN-STRENGTH DEFENSE: D
The defense wasn’t sharp all night. Florida generated quality chances throughout the game and they didn’t insolate Zatkoff. The slot was open more tonight than in the prior games. They had numerous chances to clear the puck all night and turned the puck over. It was a sloppy effort in their end for most of the game.

POWER PLAY: E
0-for-3 tonight, which included an extended 4-on-3. They got a few good looks at the net, but had just as many turnovers as chances. The stabilizing presence of James Neal as the trigger man on that top unit is noticeably missed. Too many high-risk passes or passes by players in scoring positions. This may be the part of their game that needs the most attention at this point.

PENALTY KILL: E
The PK only killed two of four power plays tonight. And one of those was a two-second end of a 4-on-4 that resulted from Kunitz taking a high stick immediately on what should have been Pittsburgh’s first power play of the game. Granted, the first of Florida’s two power play goals was on a 5-on-3, but the only full kill they got saw a goal scored exactly one second after the penalty time was over. So it easily could have been only one kill of four.

GOALTENDING: D
Jeff Zatkoff was filled with confidence going into this one. Let’s hope that he still has any left after this game. The first two he gave up were perfect shots that most goalies wouldn’t have much of a chance on. The others are the kind that he might like to have back. Two power play goals

FINAL GRADE: D
This had the possibility of being a trap game for the Pens. And while I don’t think they necessarily looked past the Panthers, the Panthers were the hungrier team tonight. They got to more loose pucks, their special teams were considerably better than Pittsburgh’s and their big players were better tonight. No one wins 82 a season, but this is not the way you want to lose one.

AND FOR THE REST…

SIDNEY CROSBY: D
If it hadn’t been from his work on Dupuis’ goal, I don’t know that I would have given him this grade. He wasn’t much of a factor in this one, turned the puck over for Florida’s first goal and then took a penalty at the end of the game in defense of Dupuis. Would have rather him been out there to try to generate something to take into tomorrow night.

EVGENI MALKIN: C
It was a tale of two Geno’s tonight. Earlier in the game, Malkin looked smooth and the puck was following him. He scored a nice goal to tie the score at one in the first and his line had a number of great chances in the 2nd and the start of the 3rd. However, as the game wound down, he began forcing things and lost that dominance from earlier in the game.

PITTSBURGH’S 4TH LINE: A
In spite of the loss, this line continued to go out and have good shifts. They had a lot of puck possession and chipped in yet another goal.

TOMAS FLEISCHMANN: A
This guy makes a living being a thorn in our side…don’t care for this guy much.

SCUD MISSILE:
Krys Barch got destroyed by that hip of mass destruction.

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