Must remember, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all gravy nowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
OFFENSE: F. Ã¢â‚¬Å“PatheticÃ¢â‚¬ï¿¾ would be the best way to describe the offensive showing, especially in the first two periods. They generated nothing. No transition, no forecheck, no nothing. It was as if they were skating in quicksand. Talk about a team not ready for playoff intensity, this was it. It was an embarrassing display of ineptitude. They couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even begin to move the puck up the ice, as Ottawa was all over them. In fact, in the first period, it was an accomplishment any time they iced the puck, because at least it was out of their own end for a few seconds. On those rare occasions when they were able to move up the ice, they either bobbled the puck or gave it away. You could have put Mike Tyson in goal for Ottawa and the result would have been the same. The Pens did score on their one decent chance, which gives them some hope for the series that Emery is beatable. Every single forward was to blame for this debacle, but some who were particularly brutal will be identified later.
DEFENSE: F. There were no Penguins on the ice for either of the first period goals. All I saw in the defensive zone was five Ottawa players and a chicken with its head cut off. When your only defensemen that seemed to play half decent were Joe Melichar and Rob Scuderi, you know you are in huge trouble. Aside from the one play where he saved a goal, Eaton was once again awful. Whitney took a beating on the scoresheet and on the ice. But the forwards were every bit as much to blame. On the first couple goals, everyone was everywhere, yet nowhere. It was a total breakdown of discipline. When you do things in a negative way that you havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t done all year, it is called a choke. One game does not make a choking team, but if these gross errors in coverage are not corrected, then the label shall be firmly affixed. You had way too many guys who were not ready for the intensity and who tried to do everything all on their own. It was a total embarrassment.
POWER PLAY: C-. Yeah, they notched two power play goals after it was 6-1. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s impressive. But when the game was on the line until the midway point, the power play was absolutely awful. Gonchar was in playoff form, giving the puck away and refusing to take a hit. They couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get the puck in the zone, and when they did, they just threw it aimlessly around, generating nary a scoring chance on three first period power plays. The sad thing is, had they been able to convert one of them, they might have been in a game they had no business being in. But they frittered them away. Ottawa was just all over them. Once the game was over and the Sens relaxed a bit, the Pens managed to pot two power play goals, bringing the grade up slightly.
PENALTY KILL: B. Yes, they gave up two power play goals. But they get the high grade because they were able top kill off two long 5-on-3s. They did a tremendous job on those, allowing some good chances, but basically holding Ottawa at bay. Very impressive! Staal used his long reach on several occasions to block passes. The first kill was a team effort of all the usual PK guys. Eaton, Staal, and Armstrong deserve all the credit on the second one. They did allow the crippling third goal on the PK, so the grade dips because of that. As for the fourth goal, they simply got overwhelmed at the start of the period, once again coming out not ready to play.
GOALTENDING: B-. Fleury was under siege all night long, from the drop of the puck. The first goal was a bit suspect, as he tried to cover a puck he shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have and got out of position. He, like the rest of the team, was simply not ready for the speed of the game. But he was absolutely brilliant after that, before wilting a bit in the third. He was the only thing between them and about an 8-1 deficit after two. He just made big save after big save when his team collapsed in front of him. Right now, he is the least of their worries. You simply cannot allow any team, but especially an Ottawa, that many great chances and expect to win. But Fleury gave them that chance, had the offense been even a semblance of an NHL attack. Fleury should have gone out and whacked a few Penguins upside the head with his stick to show his appreciation for their Ã¢â‚¬Å“efforts.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿¾
OVERALL: F. What more needs be said? They stunk up the joint, and Ottawa played a great game. The game wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t nearly as close as the final score might have indicated.
DISCIPLINE: F. Wow. Just, wow. This is what happens when you lack discipline. You take stupid penalties (Ouellet and Talbot, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m looking straight at you). You run around in your own end. You do none of the things that got you here. You get spanked by a superior team.
STRIPED BUFFOON HUH? CALL OF THE GAME: It absolutely has to be the non-call of the dive by Gutless Diving Choking Dog Alfredsson late in the second. You could see this was a dive from outer space, but neither buffoon managed to see it. That is called making sure the veteran player and team is protected. By not making the proper call here, they totally changed the outcome of the game. The Sens got a power play goal on the Penguin penalty, and the game was over. Who knows what happens if either buffoon has the guts to make the right call there? Honorable mention goes to the non-call when an Ottawa player clearly charged on Whitney, hitting him while he was a foot off the ground, and the blatant slew foot on Whitney that slightly injured him. In both cases, there was a buffoon, likely Devorski, standing right there and conveniently ignoring it.
WAR GARAGE: F. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the war room, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the war garage. For them to disallow the Crosby goal early in the third was simply despicable. You wonder how conspiracy theories start? This is how. A bunch of liquored-up Canadians sitting in the war garage steal an obvious goal from the American team in favor of the lone remaining eastern Canadian team. How else can you explain this call? It defied all logic. They disallowed it under the guise that you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t guide the puck into the net. Okay, then how does any goal where they determine it to be a non-kicking motion count? ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not kicked, but you are still guiding it into the net. That would apply under rule 78.5, which states, Ã¢â‚¬Å“when the puck has been directed, batted, or thrown into the net by an attacking player other than with a stick.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿¾ If someone can explain to me how what Crosby did was different than directing, but not kicking, the puck in with your skate, I am all ears. It is quite obvious to me that they simply make things up as they go to ensure the outcome they want. Since the game was over at that point, if I was the coach, I would have pulled my team off the ice in protest.
MARK RECCHI: F. Who really cares that he had two assists once the outcome was decided? He was absolutely awful the first two periods. He gave the puck away virtually every time he had it on his stick or it was passed to him. His whole line was the chicken with its head cut off on the first goal. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your veteran leadership for you.
GOLLUM OF THE GAME: Gutless Diving Choking Dog Daniel Alfredsson. He was, quite simply put, out there trying to injure people last night. How did you like that little play where he kicked the skate out from under Crosby? Somebody needs to injure this little ass clown. Of course, that would enhance OttawaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s chances, so maybe thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bad idea. Worst captain in the league. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s some example to set, you little piece of crap.
MICHEL THERRIEN: F. When you get outcoached by Bryan Murray in the playoffs, well, what more can be said? He did not have this team ready to play last night, and had no answers to the Ottawa onslaught. Why Alfredsson was not taken out after his gutless play on Sid reflects poorly on every player and coach.
EVGENI MALKIN: F. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s back on the milk cartons this morning. I am beginning to have serious doubts about his ability to rise to the occasion. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only one game, but contrast his invisibility to JagrÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s play as a rookie in the playoffs.
SIDNEY CROSBY: B. In contrast, he scored two goals in his first playoff game. I must say, though, he was also invisible much of the night.