Penguins player reports vs Rangers: Neal, Letang, Vokoun & Vitale earn high grades

Premium Post-Game Player Reports

Game 2 – Sunday, January 20, 2013

Penguins @ Rangers

Centers

Sidney Crosby| 1 assist, + 1 rating, 5 SOG, 2 Hits, 20 shifts, 18:05 TOI-5:41 PP- 0:43 SH – 11:41 EV, 6 FW – 15 FL, 28.6%

Sidney Crosby had a second straight so-so game, notching an assist in the win. Crosby’s first point of the season came off  a faceoff win as he beat Derek Stepan clean in the offensive zone, setting up Matt Niskanen’s first period tally. Overall, though, Crosby was poor in the faceoff circle, winning just 6 of 21 faceoffs. | Grade: C+ |

Evgeni Malkin | 3 Assists, +1 rating, 2 SOG, 1 BS, 1 Hit, 2 TK, 1 GV, 20 shifts, 16:50 TOI-5:46 PP – 0:07 SH – 10:57 EV, 2 FW – 8 FL, 20%

Malkin led the way offensively with 3 assists and his ability to find open players was tremendous. All three of his assists were primary assists and until his gaffe in the neutral zone on Rich Nash’s third period breakaway goal, Malkin was playing an excellent two-way game. He was playing his own end and back checking hard, had a takeway from Rick Nash early in the game that stood out and I liked Malkin’s emphasis on playing his own well.  | Grade: B+ |

Brandon Sutter | 0 points, even rating, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 2 PIM, 1 TK, 21 Shifts, 16:45 TOI-0:45 PP – 2:31 SH – 13:37 EV, – 10 FW – 6 FL, 62.5%.

Sutter took a bad faceoff violation penalty in the first period, leading to a Ryan Callahan goal during a 5-on-3 opportunity. Aside from that, Sutter’s overall game was quiet tonight which isn’t always a bad thing. Was effective in the faceoff circle winning 10 of 16 draws. | Grade: B- |

Joe Vitale | 1 Assist, even rating, 3 SOG, 1 BS,  3 Hits, 18 Shifts, 14:14 TOI-0:00 PP – 0:00 SH – 14:14 EV, 8 FW – 4 FL, 66.7%.

After being a healthy scratch vs Flyers, Vitale played like a player who won’t be coming out of the lineup Wednesday night vs Toronto. Vitale had a very strong game and setup Tyler Kennedy’s goal, beating a flat footed Stu Bickel with speed wide and getting to the net as Kennedy put home the rebound. Vitale was also strong in the faceoff circle, winning 66.7% of his draws. | Grade: B+|

Wingers

James Neal | 2 Goals, even rating, 7 SOG, 2 PIM, 2 hits, 2 TK, 1 GV, 21 shifts, 18:33 TOI-5:46 PP – 0:00 SH, 12:47 EV

For the second straight game, James Neal took home the No. 1 star and what a goal scorer he has developed into. Neal is without a doubt one of the top-5 most dangerous goal scorers in the game when the puck is on his stick. He’s shooting the puck with such confidence and he does such a good job at getting lost and finding the soft areas to get open. Neal also had a team-high 7 shots on goal and has 14 shots on the season | Grade: A- |

Eric Tangradi | 0 Points, +1 rating, 1 SOG, 3 hits, 15 shifts, 9:23 TOI-0:00 PP – 0:00 PK – 9:23 EV

Saw about two minutes less of ice time tonight and had some good moments in getting on the forecheck, took some whacks in front of the net, but not a lot to write home about for him.| Grade: C- |

Chris Kunitz | 1 Assist, +1 rating, 1 SOG, 2 Hits, 1 TK, 19 Shifts, 18:15 TOI-5:46 PP – 0:00 SH – 12:29 EV

Kunitz picked up an assist on Pascal Dupuis tic-tac-toe goal in the second period. | Grade: C+ |

Pascal Dupuis | 1 Goal, -1 rating, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 1 Hit, 20 shifts, 15:00 TOI-0:28 PP – 2:50 SH – 11:42 EV

Dupuis power play goal at 9:11 of the second period was his 19th career power play goal but just his first power play goal since November 20, 2006. | Grade: C+ |

Matt Cooke | 0 Points, +1 rating, 2 SOG, 2 PIM, 1 Hit, 1 TK, 19 shifts, 15:37 TOI-0:37 PP – 1:23 SH – 13:37 EV

Cooke took a bad penalty with 18 seconds left in the first period, had just one hit in the game and failed to rotate down quick enough on Callahan’s 1st period power play goal . | Grade C- |

Tyler Kennedy | 1 Goal, +1 rating, 1 SOG, 18 shifts, 13:13 TOI-0:14 PP – 0:00 SH – 12:47 EV

Kennedy netted a goal and he’s getting to the dirty areas, scoring on a rebound goal. | Grade: B- |

Tanner Glass | 0 Points, -1 rating, 5 PIM, 2 SOG, 1 BS, 4 hits, 16 shifts, 9:02 TOI-0:00 PP – 1:23 SH – 7:39 EV

Glass set the tone, squaring off with Arron Asham at the drop of the puck and he led the Penguins with 4 hits on the night. | Grade: B |

Craig Adams | 0 Points, -1 rating, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 3 hits, 20 shifts, 13:01 TOI-0:00 PP – 3:03 SH – 9:58 EV

Led all Penguins forwards with 3:03 of ice time shorthanded, had 2 blocked shots and 3 hits in the game. | Grade: B- |

Defensemen

Kris Letang | 1 Goal, 1 Assist, +1 rating, 4 SOG, 2 BS, 0 Hits, 1 TK, 2 GV, 25 shifts, 24:17 TOI-5:46 PP – 1:49 SH – 16-42 EV

Letang was just flying around the ice, bringing the puck up with speed on the breakout and was just all over the ice vs the Rangers. When he’s going good, so are the Penguins. | Grade: A- |

Simon Despres | 1 Assist, even rating, 2 PIM, 1 Hit, 1 GV, 20 Shifts, 10:41 TOI-0:00 PP – 0:07 SH – 10:34 EV

I thought Despres might have had his best game as a pro tonight. He was sound defensively and continues to look more and more confident with the puck. His bank pass to Joe Vitale leading to Kennedy’s goal was exceptional. | Grade: B |

Matt Niskanen | 1 Goal, +1 rating, 2 SOG, 1 BS, 23 Shifts, 19:01 TOI-0:37 PP – 1:47 SH – 16:35 EV

Scored a goal and logged 16:35 of ice time at even strength, seeing the Rangers second line for most of the night. Through two games, Niskanen has fit well with Letang so far. | Grade: B |

Paul Martin | 1 Assist, +1 rating, 1 SOG, 2 BS, 24 Shifts, 23:29 TOI-0:37 PP – 3:32 SH – 19:20 EV

Paul Martin had another positive game, defending well in getting the top matchup against Rick Nash. It wasn’t a perfect game from Martin as Nash used his size advantage at times but kept his game simple, used a good stick in not letting players get around him and pitched in offensively again with an assist. Martin has been credited with the Penguins first goal vs Philadelphia as it never touched Tyler Kennedy’s stick. He has a goal and 2 assists on the season. | Grade: B+ |

Brooks Orpik | 0 Points, +2 rating, 1 BS, 3 Hits, 25 Shifts, 23:57 TOI-0:00 PP – 4:04 SH – 19:53 EV

Orpik was credited with just 2 hits but delivered two crushing hits in the game. One on Brian Boyle at center ice in the first period and Chris Kreider in the third period as Orpik was a big part in the Penguins roughing the Rangers up. Orpiked logged a team-high 4:04 of ice shorthanded and he was on the ice for the Rangers 5-on-3 goal. On the goal, Orpik got caught leaning too far to the left post on Brad Richards shot from the left side, leaving Ryan Callahan all alone in front for the rebound goal as Matt Cooke didn’t rotate down low quick enough. | Grade: B |

Deryk Engelland| 0 Points, even rating, 0 SOG,  1 BS,  19 Shifts, 12:01 TOI-0:00 PP – 0:07 SH – 11:54 EV

Engelland didn’t have a great game in his own end, failing to defend the front of the net on Taylor Pyatt’s goal | Grade: C- |

Goaltenders

Tomas Vokoun | 1-0-0, 31 Saves on 34 Shots, .912 save percentage, Saves by period | 1st: 12 – 2nd: 9 – 3rd: 10

The Penguins got a very strong performance from Vokoun who stood tall on shots, had good rebound control and when the Penguins needed a rebound to be covered up to stop play, Vokoun gave it for them. His ability to slow down pucks on wrap arounds was also big and something the Penguins defensemen will love from him | Grade: B + |

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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