Game Grades: Game 10 vs. New York Islanders
The Penguins, after three days off, got back on the ice to host the New York Islanders. The Isles came in with a 3-3-3 record, with all but one of their games being a one-goal game, going 2-3-3 in those contests. The Pens were trying rebound from a tough loss in their previous game. Hereâ€™s what the teams did on the ice tonight.
EVEN-STRENGTH OFFENSE: A
They were good tonight at even strength for the majority of the game. All three goals came 5-on-5 (even though one was at the tail end of a power play). They got a lot of shots on Evgeni Nabokov and kept him on his heels.
EVEN-STRENGTH DEFENSE: D
If the game were 50 minutes, they would have gotten an A for sure. But on the last two goals, they were completely out of it. Jeff Zatkoff was left out to dry for the most part. Pierre-Marc Bouchard left alone in front and nobody in front of the net aside from Chris Kunitz on the final goal â€“ those are unacceptable breakdowns in waning moments of a close game.
POWER PLAY: E
So another game where the Pens had considerably more chances and could not convert a single power play. Thatâ€™s two straight games, both losses. No coincidence. And as I said last game, one could argue that they looked good and got good chances, and I think thatâ€™s true. But all that pressure and all those chances have to become goals at some point, especially when you are working hard to draw those calls.
PENALTY KILL: E
They only had to kill one penalty and they were unsuccessful. Itâ€™s a very small sample size, but no kills is no kills.
Jeff Zatkoff had two very solid periods. Then he gave up three goals on four shots in the 3rd. He made a lot of nice saves, but at the NHL level, you have to make that extra save here and there to get wins. The goals were all relatively legitimate, but 0-2 thus far isnâ€™t going to impress anyone.
FINAL GRADE: E
It may seem like a harsh grade, considering they outshot and outchanced the Isles the majority of the game. But they had three one-goal leads throughout the game and didnâ€™t find a way to build on the lead and keep the Isles down. The Isles looked defeated on the bench and were not the better team for most of the night. But the Pens allowed the Isles a small window and it cost them the game.
AND FOR THE RESTâ€¦
KRIS LETANG: C
You can tell that he hasnâ€™t played in a while. His timing was a bit off, he wasnâ€™t as physical as he typically is and wasnâ€™t as sharp with the puck. Iâ€™m sure heâ€™ll get stronger and more in tune as things progress. Heâ€™s just not there yet.
DEREK ENGELLAND: A
Iâ€™m going to give the guy some props for doing well tonight and chipping in a real nice goal.
CHRIS KUNITZ: A
He was shot out of a cannon tonight and created a lot of chances. He sprung the rush on Crosbyâ€™s goal, was great on the forecheck and was even the lone Penguin in front of the net on the final goal trying to tie Josh Baileyâ€™s stick up. Itâ€™s a shame a big effort like that was wasted.
JOHN TAVARES: D
He wasnâ€™t noticeable at all tonight, and the Isles won in spite of it. The Isles are extremely top-heavy with their offense, so the fact that the won without Tavares making much of a difference showed how hard they worked.
FRANS NIELSEN: A
He scored three points in the game and was a thorn in the Pensâ€™ side a number of times tonight.
Once again, Tanner Glass was the most physical guy on the ice in black. Heâ€™s earned his temporary spot on the 3rd line for sure.
Follow me on Twitter @ZDaws75