DEFENSE: A-. Very good effort last night. They limited the prime scoring chances better than in any game except maybe Detroit. Fleury did not have to be outstanding, as he has on most occasions this season. The one even strength goal by Yashin was a comical play by the supposed good defensive forward Ekman. He starts in his own left wing corner after losing the puck, goes all the way across the ice to his right side to catch Yashin near the PensÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ blue line, then inexplicably lets him go and floats back toward his left side. I have no clue what he was thinking. But aside from that, great effort defensively.
GOALTENDING: B-. As I said, Fleury didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to be spectacular, and he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. He wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really at fault on any of the goals, though I would have liked at least one big save in there. I was pleased with how he rebounded to shut the Isles out after that barrage. For the first time this year, they won a game when Fleury wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t ultra sharp. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a good sign.
POWER PLAY: A. Except for one chance they frittered away right before the Islander barrage, it was spectacular again. They even got a goal from a winger. Good movement and enough shots to be effective. Once again, the power play specialist Ouellet comes through to get them on the board. The guy just has a nose for the net on the PP.
PENALTY KILL: C. They were excellent all night, except during the nightmare sequence where things went totally awry. For the most part, they bottled the Isles up, and kept them outside. They missed on a few clearing attempts that they should have gotten down the ice. I have no idea why Therrien thinks Gonchar is a good penalty killer, though. They really need Orpik back, and Welch (if he returns to form) would be a huge upgrade also.
EFFORT: A. I again had no problem at all with the work level. This team works hard, and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how long it has been since I could say that about a Penguin team. Probably back to the Constantine days. To come back in the third on the second of a back to back set is very impressive. Therrien certainly has instilled a solid work ethic in these boys.
OVERALL: B+. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the grade I come up with for 60 minutes of very solid play combined with three minutes of brain-dead, horrific, Edzo style play. But they managed to sneak out with a win despite those three bad minutes. I like the attitude of this team. They could have folded up their tents after that barrage, but they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. Guys like Sid and Malkin will not let that happen.
Now some othersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
OFFICIATING: C. They called a much better game than the clowns the night before, and were much tighter on the obstruction. Gonchar took one penalty that was a hook but was also a blatant dive by the Islander. Whatever happened to the diving enforcement? Speaking of whichÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
WHINING: F. Runner-up for whiner of the night was Gonchar for arguing his call. Yo, Sarge, you put the stick on the guyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s waist and hip, and you will get called. HavenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you figured that out yet? But far and away, the whiner of the night was Ted Nolan for this gem:
I think for a world class player, for a guy of his caliber, he's diving every time someone touches him. No question in my mind, he should have been called for a slash before Yashin had a chance to hook him. I'm not saying Yashin's wasn't a penalty, I'm just saying there should have been a penalty before. If Yashin maybe acted like Crosby and dove, maybe he would have gotten that call.
Yo, Ted, the diving thing was put to rest long ago. Where ya been? Oh, that's right, coaching out in juniors where you belong. I guess the news never made it there. Yes, Sid should have had a slash, but if Yashin is to frigginÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ stupid to at least show he got hurt, then that is his fault, not SidÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Look, if they called even half the crap that is done to Crosby, the Pens would be on the PP all night long. Funny how you made no comment about the blatant dive your own guy took. I guess itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s okay when your team does it, eh? For his petulant little outburst, Ted Nolan was welcomed into JerezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ exclusive Ã¢â‚¬Å“Shut Up, Jack-WipeÃ¢â‚¬ï¿¾ club, whose only other members are Hitchcock, Quinn, and Burns. Congratulations, Ted, you got there far faster than any of the others.