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Insider Only Penguins player reports vs Leafs: Letang – Niskanen pairing struggled

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Game 3 – Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Leafs @ Penguins

Centers

Sidney Crosby| 1 Goal, 1 Assist, + 1 rating, 2 PIM, 1 BS, 3 GV, 5 SOG, 26 shifts, 24:07 TOI-6:16 PP- 2:06 SH – 15:45 EV, 17 FW – 11 FL, 60.7%

Crosby had his best game of the season, notching a goal and assist in the loss. On his second period goal at 7:17, Crosby blocked a shot at the point then darted up the ice and Pascal Dupuis hit him in stride and with a quick snap shot from 24 ft out Crosby beat Reimer to tie the game at 2-2 for his first of the season. In the faceoff circle, Crosby was 60.7%, including 7 for 10 in the defensive zone. The one negative for Crosby last night is he led the Penguins with 3 giveaways | Grade: B- |

Evgeni Malkin | 1 Goal,  -3 rating, 10 PIM, 4 SOG, 2 GV, 23 shifts, 20:14 TOI-6:49 PP – 0:00 SH – 13:25 EV, 2 FW – 6 FL, 26%

Malkin opened the scoring for Pittsburgh with a power play goal in the first period but Malkin had a horrid defensive game. For the second straight game he had a bad giveaway leading to a goal and Malkin got caught running around and out of position in his own end on Mikhail Grabovski’s third period goal.  | Grade: D |

Brandon Sutter | 0 points, even rating, 2 SOG, 1 Hit,  22 Shifts, 15:20 TOI-1:53 PP – 5:09 SH – 8:18 EV, – 9 FW – 10 FL, 47.4%.

It was a quiet game for Sutter who was not particularly strong in the faceoff circle in his overall numbers but was 8 of 14 in defensive zone draws. | Grade: C

Joe Vitale | 0 Points -1 rating, 1 SOG, 3 Hits, 14 Shifts, 10:34 TOI-0:00 PP – 0:16 SH – 10:18 EV, 5 FW – 4 FL, 55.6%.

Got in on the forecheck and Vitale was tied for second on the team with 3 hits in the game and drew a penalty leading to Evgeni Malkin’s power play goal. | Grade: C+|

Wingers

James Neal | 0 Points, -3 rating, 5 SOG, 3 BS, 21 shifts, 17:52 TOI-5:58 PP – 0:00 SH, 11:54 EV

Line his linemate Evgeni Malkin, Neal had a very poor defensive game in his own end, and was at fault on Grabovski’s goal as Neal went out of position to the left side then got caught watching the puck and never identified Grabovski coming down the slot. Neal also didn’t manage the puck well in the neutral zone.| Grade: D  |

Eric Tangradi | 0 Points, -1 rating, 1 SOG, 6 Shifts, 4:27 TOI

Tangradi missed a golden opportunity to bury a puck in front of the net at the 7:00 minute mark of the first period when Matt Niskanen wrapped a puck around the boards and Crosby from the right side put it hard on the net and Tangradi got to the net effectively and just missed putting it past Reimer. If that goes in, it would have been a different outcome for Tangradi who later would turn the puck over just inside the Maple Leafs blueline leading to Clark MacArthur’s goal. We all know the ending of this. Tangradi would barely play afterwards, getting just 4:27 of ice time and he’s now been demoted to the 4th line. | Grade: D |

Chris Kunitz | 0 Points, even rating, 4 PIM, 6 Hits, 21 Shifts, 16:45 TOI-5:51 PP – 0:00 SH – 10:54 EV

Kunitz had a team-high 6 hits and he played an aggressive game on the forecheck and came at the Leafs. He got called for two boarding penalties and the second one on him should not have been called. However, I’d rather seeing him crossing the line a bit than registering no hits like Matt Cooke did.| Grade: C |

Pascal Dupuis | 1 Assist, +1 rating, 1 SOG, 2 PIM, 2 Hits, 25 shifts, 17:24 TOI-1:28 PP – 3:21 SH – 12:35 EV

Dupuis made a heads up play, getting the puck to Sidney Crosby for his goal at the 7:17 mark. Dupuis has points in consecutive games.| Grade: C+ |

Matt Cooke | 0 Points, even rating, 0 SOG, 2 PIM, 0 Hits , 1 GV, 21 shifts, 14:12 TOI-0:00 PP – 4:11 SH – 10:01 EV

When Matt Cooke has a stat line of no hits, no shots, 1 giveaway, and 2 PIM, he didn’t get to his game . | Grade C- |

Tyler Kennedy | 0 Points, -1 rating, 1 SOG, 1 BS, 1 Hit, 16 shifts, 11:47 TOI-0:55 PP – 0:00 SH – 10:52 EV

Wasn’t as noticeable as he was during the first two games of the season. | Grade: C |

Tanner Glass | 0 Points, -1 rating, 1 SOG, 1 BS, 3 hits, 20 shifts, 11:10 TOI-0:00 PP – 2:49 SH – 8:21 EV

Glass was second among forwards with three hits. | Grade: C |

Craig Adams | 0 Points, -1 rating, 2 hits, 1 TK, 15 shifts, 09:27 TOI-0:00 PP – 5:21 SH – 4:06 EV

Continues to get heavy minutes on the penalty kill but wasn’t able to pick up van Riemsdyk good enough on the backcheck when van Riemsdyk put the Leafs up 2-1 in the second period. | Grade: C- |

Defensemen

Kris Letang | 1 Assist, -2 rating, 1 SOG, 2 PIM, 1 BS, 29 shifts, 27:31 TOI-6:15 PP – 3:37 SH – 17:39 EV

Walks the blueline on the power play so well and did so on Malkin’s power play marker, getting  a secondary assist. Defensively, though, Letang didn’t have a strong game. Got beat wide by Kulemin on James van Riemsdyk’s first goal of the game at 6:48 of the second period.| Grade: C- |

Simon Despres | 0 Points, minus-1 rating, 1 SOG, 1 Hit, 16 Shifts, 8:46 TOI-0:00 PP – 0:20 SH – 8:26 EV

Despres only saw 8:46 of ice time and on the Tangradi turnover at the blueline leading to MacArthur’s goal, Despres went for a poke check and got caught initially but did rebound to get in okay defensive position but the Leafs did a great job of driving to the net.| Grade: C |

Matt Niskanen | 0 Points, -2 rating, 2 SOG, 1 BS, 1 Hit, 27 Shifts, 19:48 TOI-1:48 PP – 2:28 SH – 15:34 EV

Niskanen was on the ice for two goals and had a long night in a second pairing role with Letang. He was not squaring up on incoming forwards and got burnt by being too reliant on his poke check. It got him into trouble. | Grade: D |

Paul Martin | 0 Points, even rating, 1 SOG, 1 BS, 2 TK, 1 GV, 29 Shifts, 24:49 TOI-1:29 PP – 5:58 SH – 17:22 EV

Martin had a team-high 2 takeaways and was not on the ice for any goals. A third straight solid game for him. | Grade: B |

Brooks Orpik | 0 Points, even rating, 4 BS, 1 Hit, 29 Shifts, 23:48 TOI-0:00 PP – 8:05 SH – 15:43 EV

Orpik had a team-high 4 blocked shots and 8:05 of ice time shorthanded. He’s been a workhorse early on and ranks 3rd in the NHL in shorthanded ice time per game at 5:50.| Grade: B |

Deryk Engelland| 0 Points, -1 rating, 2 SOG,  7 PIM, 15 Shifts, 7:46 TOI-0:00 PP – 1:12 SH – 6:34 EV

Engelland was good on bringing the puck up, did his job in dropping the gloves with Colton Orr but got outmuscled in front by Kulemin on MacArthur’s goal, although Kulemin might have gotten away with one as he got his stick in between Engelland’s legs and drove him into Fleury.  | Grade: C- |

Goaltenders

Marc Andre Fleury | 1-1-0, 19 Saves on 24 Shots, .792 save percentage, EV Strength Saves 12-16, PP Saves 7-8 |

On the stat sheet for Fleury, the numbers don’t look good giving up 5 goals on 24 shots and posting a .792 save percentage. Fleury though was left out to dry on a number of occasions. | Grade: C |

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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