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Insider Only Penguins Player Reports vs Capitals: Boychuk’s speed, energy will earn more looks

nhl_g_penscelebrate_576Premium Post-Game Player Reports

Game 9 – Sunday, February 3,  2013

Penguins 6 @ Capitals 3

Centers

Sidney Crosby| 3 Assists, +1, 3 SOG, 2 Hit, 19:13 TOI, 12 FW – 14 FL, 46.2%

Crosby had another very strong overall game, was tremendous on finding players in space, picking up three primary assists and his escape ability in the offensive zone was excellent. Crosby is starting to creep up on the NHL points leaders with 8 points in his last four games and has 13 points on the season. | Grade: A- | Season Stats: 4 G – 9 A – 13 Pts – +6

Evgeni Malkin | 2 Assists, + 1 rating, 1 SOG,  2 BS, 18:03 TOI, 5 FW – 9 FL, 35.7%

Malkin picked up two assists and made a great read and setup on Chris Kunitz power play goal by isolating the Capitals to his side near the right half boards by taking advantage of a Capitals defender losing his stick, creating basically a 5-on-3 for the Penguins. | Grade: B | Season Stats: 2 G – 10 A – 12 Pts – 0

Brandon Sutter | 1 Assist,  +1, 2 SOG, 1 BS, 1 GV, 14:25 TOI, 6 FW – 9 FL, 40%.

He’s been much more involved and active in offensive zone the past two games, which is big for the Penguins as the third line of Sutter, Cooke and Kennedy are starting to make things happen. Sutter has points in back to back games  and made a great pass to Letang on his goal from the right corner showing great vision to find Letang open in space.  Grade: B- | Season Stats: 1 G – 2 A – 3 Pts – 1

Joe Vitale | 0 Points, even rating,  1 SOG, 1 Hit, 10:15 TOI, 8 FW – 3 FL, 72.7%

Did his job on the 4th line. Got in on the forecheck, didn’t turn the puck over and was excellent again in the faceoff circle. Vitale was 3 of 3 in offensive zone draws and he’s over 62% on the season on draws | Grade: B-| Season Stats: 0 G – 1 A – 1 Pts – -2

Wingers

James Neal | 1 Assist,  -1 rating, 1 BS, 3 Hits, 16:09 TOI

Neal picked up an assist in the win but he had no shots on goal and his d-zone coverage continues to be a concern this season. Neal is getting caught watching the puck and failing to to identify his man in open space which is what happened on Matt Green’s goal   Grade: C | Season Stats: 5 G – 1 A – 6 Pts – -4

Zach Boychuk | 0 Points, + 1 rating, 3 SOG,  1 BS, 2 PIM, 1 Hit, 12:58 TOI

Is Zach Boychuk going to be the answer for the Penguins on Malkin’s line? Most likely not, but he’s surely earning some points with head coach Dan Bylsma. In two games with Pittsburgh, Boychuk has made things happen with his speed and that was the case again this afternoon. He gets to pucks fast, had energy today and the only real knock on him was an inability to finish plays| Grade: B-| Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – +1

Chris Kunitz | 3 Goals, +1 rating,  3 SOG, 2 Hits, 17:27 TOI

Kunitz has broken out with a bang, collecting 4 goals and 2 assists and a +5 rating in his last two games. Today he was a major factor in the offensive zone, creating a screen on Paul Martin’s opening goal, than scoring three goals on three shots for his first hat trick since January 5, 2011 vs the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was scoring from all over, whether it would be off the rush or in the slot and around the net. He was constantly getting to the tough areas. Grade: A | Season Stats: 5 G – 5 A – 10 Pts – +6

Pascal Dupuis |0 Points, even rating, 3 BS, 2 Hits, 17:19 TOI

Had 3 Blocked shots on the penalty kill.  Grade: B | Season Stats: 2 G – 4 A – 6 Pts – +5

Matt Cooke | 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 rating,  1 SOG, 2 Hits,  13:33 TOI

Past two games we’re seeing Cooke get to his game in the offensive zone. Picked up his first goal in 16 regular  season games, dating back to last season with a net front presence, deflecting a Deryk Engelland shot past Braden Holtby than picked up an assist on Kris Letang’s second period goal with good wall play on the right boards.   | Grade: B- | Season Stats: 1 G – 1 A – 2 Pts – +1

Tyler Kennedy | 0 Points, +1 rating, 1 SOG, 2 Hits, 9:51 TOI

Pointless in his last seven games. | Grade: C- | Season Stats: 1 G – 0 A – 1 Pts – -3

Tanner Glass | 0 Points, even rating, 1 SOG, 2 BS, 2 hits, 10:55 TOI

Got to loose pucks and had 2 blocked shots and 2 hits in the game. Leads the Penguins with 26 hits on the year. | Grade: C+ | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – -2

Craig Adams | 0 Points, even rating, 2 SOG,  3 Hits, 1 GV, 13:51 TOI

Adams has been constant physical presence. Logged a team-high 4:01 of ice time shorthanded among forwards. Grade: C+ | Season Stats: 0 G – 1 A – 1 Pts – -2

Defensemen

Kris Letang | 1 Goal, 1 Assist, even rating, 4 SOG, 1 BS, 3 hits, 1 GV, 19:57 TOI

Letang has goals in back to back games and on his goal he read the play extremely well, getting to open space and than being patient beating Holtby with a wrist shot from 35 ft. Letang’s one mistake was over committing a bit on Green’s goal. The way he’s scored the past two games, though, is why he’s going to end up being one of the highest paid defensemen in the NHL on his next contract, whether it’s in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. GM’s around the league feel he’s already one of the best two-way defensemen in the game and that he hasn’t reached his potential offensively yet.| Grade: B | Season Stats:  3 G – 5 A – 8 Pts – +4

Robert Bortuzzo| 1 Assist, + 2 rating, 2 SOG, 4 BS, 2 PIM, 2 Hits, 11:28 TOI

Getting offense from the third pairing is exactly what the Penguins  have gotten from Bortuzzo. Bortuzzo had a goal and a +2 rating in the win and now has 1 goal, 1 assist and a +5 rating in his last two games. Bortuzzo’s ability to get shots on net is something he’s very good at and defensively he was sound, tied with a team-high of 4 blocked shots in just 11:28 of ice time.| Grade: B- | Season Stats: 1 G – 1 A – 2 Pts – +5

Simon Despres | 0 Points, even rating,  4 PIM, 1 hits, 12:07 TOI

It was a poor game from Despres who took two bad penalties, a high sticking penalty and a delay of game penalty in the third period that led to Mike Ribero’s power play goal to get the Capitals back in the game.| Grade: D+ | Season Stats: 1 G – 2 A – 3 Pts – +4

Paul Martin | 1 Goal, even rating, 1 SOG, 1 Hit, 1 TK, 2 GV,  27:41 TOI

Some scouts don’t see Martin being worth $5 million per season for the sole reason that he’s gives you little offensively. The Penguins don’t see it that way and feel any offense Martin gives them is a bonus. Martin opened the scoring for the Penguins, collecting his second goal of the year. Defensively Martin and Orpik got the primary matchup against the Ovechkin line and Ovechkin was held to no even strength points. However, it wasn’t a lockdown defensive game from Martin but he logged 27:41 of ice time and had 4 blocked shots. | Grade: B | Season Stats: 2 G – 2 A – 4 Pts – -2

Brooks Orpik | 0 Points, even rating, 1 BS, 2 GV, 28:11 TOI

Orpik logged a team-high 28:11 of ice time. Grade: B | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – +1

Deryk Engelland| 1 Assist, + 2 rating, 2 BS, 2 Hits, 19:12 TOI

Engelland was active in the offensive zone, getting the puck to the net on Matt Cooke’s goal, picking up a primary assist and he was effective at jumping up in the play off the rush. Engelland saw 19:12 of ice time, a season high| Grade: B| Season Stats: 0 G – 1 A – 1 Pts – +4

Goaltenders

Tomas Vokoun | 3-1-0, 21 Saves on 24 Shots, 17 Even Strength Saves, 4 Power Play Saves,|

Vokoun had a few uneasy moments, highlighted by a fluke goal given up on a shot by John Carlson that bounced off the glass and into an open net as Vokoun went to play the dump in. A strength in Vokoun’s game is stopping the puck on wrap arounds but he should have been smarter due to the way the puck was bouncing off the boards and glass in the first period but how many times does that puck actually go in on that type of play? Hard to blame Vokoun on that one.  Overall, it wasn’t a great performance from Vokoun but he was solid and made a number of key saves in the third period following the Ribero goal to preserve a two goal lead. | Grade: A- | Season Stats: 3-1-0, 2.08 GAA, .927 sv%

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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