Game Grades: Game 9 vs. Colorado
The Penguins came into the game tonight with a perfect record on home ice. The Colorado Avalanche hadn’t lost on the road. Something was going to give – here’s how it played out.
EVEN-STRENGTH OFFENSE: C-
So the good aspect of their game was that they pretty much had the bulk of the scoring chances throughout the game. The bad is that none of that pressure and offense led to a goal. They were snake-bitten all night. Colorado seemed to block every other shot attempt by the Pens. They had looks at the net but couldn’t convert.
EVEN-STRENGTH DEFENSE: B+
Giving up 14 shots to the opposition in a win is an A+ effort. Giving up a goal typically warrants an A even. And truly, the only goal allowed in the game came directly after a Penguins’ power play. But they kept Colorado for generating any real offense.
POWER PLAY: E
One could make an argument that power play “looked good” – they had puck possession for most of the power play time, they generated chances and moved the puck effectively. But they were 0-for-7 on the night. They had four chances in the 1st period and a chance in the 3rd. Regardless of how well Jean-Sebastien Giguere played, you have to cash in on at least one of those chances.
PENALTY KILL: A-
They killed all three power plays they faced, but Colorado had a few big scoring chances and came close to scoring. They also had a few failed clearing attempts that result in some of those big chances. But they were strong overall and kept the Avs off the board.
One goal on 14 shots isn’t amazing, but Fleury made several excellent saves when called upon and kept the team in the game late on the few times the Avs actually tried to attack.
FINAL GRADE: C+
After the second power play, you just started to get that feeling that this would be one of those games that no matter how well the Pens played, it would not be their night. They swarmed the net, kept Colorado hemmed in their own zone for most of the game and drew numerous calls. And yet they couldn’t get anything behind JS Giguere. It was just one of those games.
AND FOR THE REST…
NATHAN MACKINNON: INCOMPLETE
Coming into the game, one of the sub-plots of the game was the first meeting between MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby. MacKinnon looked up to Crosby; Crosby was his favorite player. Unfortunately, MacKinnon was only give 10:54 of ice time, so there wasn’t many opportunities to see them head-to-head.
ROBERT BORTUZZO: D
He had a great first shift, but his game was pretty rough the remainder of the evening. It was the first game this year where he looked off his game, and his lack of ice time was indicative of that.
SIDNEY CROSBY/EVGENI MALKIN: B+
They combined for 15 of Pittsburgh’s shots on goal. Their effort was there tonight – they just couldn’t solve JS Giguere tonight, which leads me to…
JS GIGUERE: A
Really, he won this game for the Avs. If they were to play the way they did tonight and Giguere didn’t have the game he had, it could have been a blowout. The Avs’ defense did have 22 blocked shots, but Giguere made huge saves again and again tonight.
PAUL STEIGERWALD: F
“The Pens might be tired – be careful.” Gabriel Landeskog comes out of the box and scores. Steiggy – the emperor of jinxes.
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