Game Grades: Game 25 @ Boston
The Penguins were riding high again on a three-game winning streak before dropping a winnable game in Montreal Saturday night. The road hasnâ€™t been overly kind to the Penguins, especially when compared to the welcoming confines of the Consol Energy Center. Would TD Gardens, and the hosting Boston Bruins, be more accommodating?
EVEN-STRENGTH OFFENSE: B
They got all three of the goals, but two of the goals were from James Neal, who scored the only two goals in the game Saturday; and the other goal was scored with 0.3 seconds by Sidney Crosby. The bottom two lines didnâ€™t generate much, so it really did fall on the top lines to pull the Pens back within a tie twice in the game.
EVEN-STRENGTH DEFENSE: C-
I went back and forth on this grade for a while. On one hand, they held the Bruins to 22 shots in regulation and didnâ€™t give Boston many quality chances. However, the first goal was poor coverage defensively, and the final two goals were the result of the Bruins maintaining possession in the Pens zone and the defense unable get the puck out.
POWER PLAY: C
They only had one chance, and though they didnâ€™t cash in on that early chance, they managed five shots and generated momentum. If they had gotten another chance or two, they may have been able to take advantage of it.
PENALTY KILL: E
They only had one opportunity in the game, and they let the Bruins score. It was right after the Bruins scored the opening goal of the game. The Pens could have battled back much more easily only down by a goal. Instead, it was uphill for a good portion of the game. And the Bruins made it look easy, which is not typical for the Pensâ€™ kill.
Boston scored two goals in the first on only five shots. Then, after James Neal willed the Pens back to a tie at 2, Boston got another one. Granted, the first goal was essentially a break away, and the third was deflected off of Crosbyâ€™s stick, but
FINAL GRADE: C
The Penguins had the better of the play for most of the game, but thatâ€™s been something of trend. The Pens outshoot their opponent, carry much of the play and the game is somehow close on the scoreboard. The Bruins tried to replicate what they did in the Conference Finals, but the Penguins found a way to get three behind Rask and grab a point. Much better than the alternative, though.
AND FOR THE RESTâ€¦
JAMES NEAL: A
Is there any doubt that he is finally healthy? He has been playing inspired hockey, and got the Pens back to a 2-2 tie. His shot is unparalleled compared to anyone else right now, and heâ€™s filling the net with regularity. Huge night for him again tonight â€“ two goals and the assist from throwing the puck at the net for the final-second game-tying goal.
EVGENI MALKIN: A
He finally is playing the way he needs to when the opposing team tries to match up against Crosby. That 2nd line was the best on either side of the ice all night, mostly in part to Malkinâ€™s effort tonight. Nealâ€™s first tally came as a result of another around the world sort of play.
BROOKS ORPIK: D
He had a rough night tonight. The opening goal of the game came as he was attempting to keep the puck in the Boston zone. The puck rolled on him and went the other way, where he didnâ€™t identify Loui Eriksson sneaking in behind him. And just like that, Boston is up one after a half of a period of dominance by the Pens. In a rare bad game, Brooks finished -2 on the night and was off his game.
LOUI ERIKSSON: A
Speaking of Loui Eriksson, he had a three point night, scored a nice breakaway goal and was the best forward for the Bruins tonight in terms of creating offense.
BRAD MARCHAND: D
As in â€œDisgraceful.â€ Wow, he flopped several times when someone tied up with him, and he threw a questionable hit on James Neal away from the puck in the 3rd that really should have been a penalty. He ranks right up there on my â€œPlayers that give hockey a bad nameâ€ list.
Brooks loves crushing Daniel Paille, does he not?