+ DB for changing tactics after the 1st. I was getting so sick of the passive forecheck that he always seems to employ when playing the Floppers. You can't give those guys time and space. And we finally supported our D on the boards when trying to get out of the zone.
+ Crosby. Pretty much unstoppable right now.
- Neal. Does Hartnell invade his dreams at night?
-Engelland. I don't know if he's injured, but he has been garbage for awhile now. Would have liked to see Despres instead of him.
Not a single one here commenting on Brooks-Martin's defense even strength. Really? Massive plus to them. The PK in the first period was an abomination and they had a share, but the most important thing was that it was PASSIVE PK, giving all the room in the world not only in front of the cage, but just as much so to the forwards and blueliners. Even strength however, Brooks and Martin showed why they have been relied on as heavily as they have. +++
+++Crosby/Kunitz/Dupuis. Fabulous game except for Crosby being dominated on key faceoffs in the defensive zone. He more than made up for it of course.
+ Malkin/Beau. Looked really good out there.
+ Sutter, Cookie, Kennedy. Strong game. Extra props to Kennedy, not just for the goal, but also for some 'effort plays' and desperation. He looked like a man fighting for his roster space tonight.
++ Kris Letang. Big game from 58 at both sides of the rink.
+ Vokoun. Stood strong when needed in the third, after being carried as a passenger in the second.
+ Bylsma. Whatever he said during the first intermission. Won't fault him for Neal being an idiot tonight, but I will fault him on our PK being a wet dream for Philly, again.
- Fleury. Bad game.
- Neal. Stupid penalties and several lazy/soft plays on the wall where he refused to take hits to keep it deep. Not good enough.
- Glass. Looks worthless out there.
- Jeffrey. IMO just doesn't have what it takes desperation, skating or toughness wise to play 4C. If he is to be 4th liner, I would much prefer him playing Vitale's wing instead of Glass to make the 4th line a bit more of a weapon - Jeffrey Geno/Sid Vitale would be a decent weapon on occasion.
= Mark Eaton. He didn't hurt us tonight, but his outlet passes and mobility will be issues for us. Going forward I will be sick if Despres' sits to have Eaton play.
= Adams. One of the worst culpritts in having our 1st period PK be as passive and "Giroux watching" as it was. Saw the same when Flyers had a PP in the third. Good effort 5 on 5 though.
= Niskanen and Engelland. Niskanen suffers the tough Flyers forwards more than any other Pens defender. Engelland was solid enough defensively, but I would have really liked if he was setting the tone a little with some physicality. That should be part of his job description, and I hardly saw any of that.
Signature win, hopefully. Now get Despres in there also and get the PK sorted. This was really important - good on the lads.
tonight was a rough one. I wonder if he realized he is just better off playing disengaged than taking stupid penalties. Not that its a good excuse...
The good news is that he can still score a goal in such a bad game
I'm not even talking about the penalties for Neal. I'm talking about his compete level. It's ****. Geno spent more time in the offensive zone this game than he has all season, and it's pretty clear that it was for two reasons:
1. Apparently, his head was concussed on straight, because his compete level the last two games has been unreal.
2. Beau-ner. I'm not kidding about that. That kid took more brutal hits to make plays and just made more nifty little plays than I've seen from any one of Geno's linemates all year. As I said in the GDT, what Dangles did tonight is what you wish Neal would be doing out there. That one play where he had a choice-- take a hit from Schenn in the offensive zone to make a play or get out of the way-- was embarrassing. Neal just got out of the way . . . the result was the 3 on 2 against where a half dead Bennett somehow got back to get a stick on Sideshow Bob's shot.
He didn't step over the puck to avoid the hit, he stepped over it to take it on the other side away from the defenceman. Didn't work as the winger came down to help but it wasn't a bad idea... obviously didn't work though.
Bennett is great. His scoring will come. Love seeing him in the corners and coming back on D. He needs to be able to control passes though. What's with the puck bouncing right off his stick all the time? He's tough with the puck, but seems to have such a hard time getting it.
Not that I know doodlysquat about playing hockey....but my guess would be the passes at the NHL level are faster &/or crisper than what he's seen down on the farm and he's just a bit overloaded right now adjusting to the bigs. If he's got good hands the feel for those passes will come. If he doesn't then...
+ Always a great day when Filthy goes down. Especially delightful when they blow a three puck lead in their own barn.
Gutty win by the Pens there. Would have got the monkey off their backs if it weren't for Fleury's follies. Seriously, do you start that guy against the Flyers in the playoffs?
Will the Flyers even be in the playoffs is the question. After that first period debacle at least they got the win but without defensive grit added to the blueline, this team is going to have serious problems come playoffs.