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Insider Only Penguins player reports vs Islanders: Despres, Jeffrey bright spots; Neal earns first “F”

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Game 6 – Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Islanders @ Penguins


Sidney Crosby| 1 Assist, even rating, 4 SOG, 1 GV, 21:00 TOI, 14 FW – 12 FL, 53.8%

Crosby picked up a late assist but for the most part struggled in the Penguins 4-1 loss as his passes were off the mark for most of the night. The official scores sheet had Crosby listed with just 1 giveaway and that’s being awfully generous. Crosby, overall was 53.8% in the faceoff circle but was just 36% (4 of 15) in offensive zone  draws.| Grade: C- | Season Stats: 3 G – 3 A – 6 Pts – +1

Evgeni Malkin | 0 Goals, even rating, 3 SOG, 1 hit, 1 GV, 21:17 TOI, 8FW – 5 FL, 61.5%

Seeing multiple different line mates, Malkin never got into a rhythm vs the Islanders and had no power play shots in 6:40 of ice time on the power play. Malkin has just 1 goal on the season. Malkin was a bright spot on faceoffs, winning 2 of 3 draws in the defensive zone | Grade: C- | Season Stats: 1 G – 5 A – 6 Pts – -3

Brandon Sutter | 0 points, even rating, 3 SOG, 2 BS, 1 GV, 17:25 TOI, 6 FW – 5 FL, 54.5%.

His play through six games has been consistent in most areas but he’s yet to make much of an impact. Was on the ice for two goals against and the Penguins need more from him and should be expecting more from him. On the Tavares power play goal, Sutter failed to provide adequate pressure up top. | Grade: D+ | Season Stats: 0 G – 1 A – 1 Pts – 0

Joe Vitale | 0 Points -1 rating, 1 BS 1 hit, 1 TK, 11:41 TOI, 11 FW – 7 FL, 54.5%

Was strong in the faceoff circle again and leads the Penguins on the season in faceoff percentage at 59.2%. Vitale was excellent in d-zone draws, winning 5 of 6 draws. | Grade: C+| Season Stats: 0 G – 1 A – 1 Pts – -2 


James Neal |0 Points,  even rating, 2 PIM, 18:29 TOI

Had 0 shots on goal and no power play shots in 6:01 of power play time. Neal’s night is highlighted by an awful hooking penalty in the second period with the Penguins trailing 2-0 and when the team had just gained some momentum back with  30-40 second stretch of offensive zone time. Moments later John Tavares would put the Islanders up 3-0. With these grades based on expectations for each player on a game by game basis, Neal earns this years first F  Grade: F | Season Stats: 4 G – 0 A – 4 Pts – -4

Dustin Jeffrey | 0 Points, even rating,  2 SOG, 1 GV,  13:20 TOI

Going over the tape from last night’s game, Dustin Jeffrey was the Penguins best forward. When he was on the ice, the Penguins produced their most scoring chances and Jeffrey went to the tough areas to create offensive chances. In mostly a small sampling with Malkin and Neal, he showed the ability to get them the puck and create his own play, something Eric Tangradi just can’t give that line. Jeffrey was also the Penguins best player on the power play working with the second unit at the right half wall. He needs to build off this performance.| Grade: B | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – +0

Chris Kunitz | 1 Assist, even rating, 1 SOG, 3 Hits, 1 GV, 20:34 TOI

Kunitz was buzzing early in the game and picked up a late assist with good wall play and getting to the net on Dupuis goal but that was mop up time and he needs to pick up his game offensively. Grade: C- | Season Stats: 1 G – 3 A – 4 Pts – +1

Pascal Dupuis | 1 Goal even rating, 2 SOG, 2 PIM, 2 Hits, 1 TK, 1 GV 17:41 TOI

Picked up a mop up time goal, but overall Dupuis has consistently played well in all six games. He missed a few prime scoring chances when the game was still in hand but has been excellent on the forecheck. The energy has been there for him unlike some other veterans on this team. Grade: C+ | Season Stats: 2 G – 1 A – 3 Pts – +2

Matt Cooke | 0 Points, even rating, 1 SOG, 2 PIM, 3 Hits , 13:20 TOI

Matt Cooke is no longer a disruptive player and a pest, and when he’s not chipping in offensively, that’s an issue for this hockey club.| Grade D- | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – +0

Tyler Kennedy | 0 Points, -1 rating, 4 SOG, 2 PIM, 1 Hit, 13:41 TOI

Tied for team lead with 4 shots on goal. Kennedy bounced all around the lineup, seeing early time on the second line with Evgeni Malkin, took shifts with Joe Vitale and Tanner Glass on the 4th line and got regular shifts with Cooke and Sutter. Kennedy is pointless in his last four games, and Bylsma has to get him back on the third line and keep him there. If the third line of Cooke, Sutter, and Kennedy doesn’t become an effective line, this team is in trouble. | Grade: C | Season Stats: 1 G – 0 A – 1 Pts – -4

Tanner Glass | 0 Points, even rating, 3 SOG, 2 hits, 12:39 TOI

With Matt Cooke being a disappointment, Glass needs to give the Penguins more toughness that they have lost with Arron Asham gone. He needs to evolve into a pest out there.  | Grade: C- | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – -2

Craig Adams | 0 Points, -1 rating, 2 SOG, 2 hits, 8:12 TOI

 Grade: C- | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – -3


Kris Letang | 0 points, even rating, 1 SOG, 3 BS, 1 hit, 2 GV, 23:46 TOI

Letang struggled again with his entries on the power play and being the power play quarterback, 1 power play shot in 6:48 of power play time is unacceptable. Letang is getting a lot of shots blocked over the last couple games.| Grade: D- | Season Stats: 1 G – 3 A – 4 Pts – +0

Ben Lovejoy | 0 Points, -1 rating, 4 SOG, 3 BS, 1 GV, 13:45 TOI

The stat line looks good for good for Lovejoy, with 4 shots on goal and 3 blocked shots. However, he might be trying to think too much offense. On Engelland’s gaffe {Grabner’s goal} at the point on a puck off the boards, Lovejoy has to read the situation a bit better and be aware that a player of Grabner’s elite speed is out there and he should have been backing off the blueline and into the neutral zone when the puck went off to boards to Engelland. | Grade: C- | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – -2

Simon Despres | o points, even rating, 3 SOG, 4 hits, 1 GV, 19:12 TOI

Despres returned to the lineup with a bang and excelled with heavier minutes 19:12. In his previous three games, Despres played just 10:26, 10:41 and 8:26. The word on Despres in juniors and at the AHL has always been that the more involved he is, the better he plays. I really liked his demeanor from the start last night. He was playing aggressive, had a team-high 4 hits, had a very good stick in keeping pucks in the zone and was very strong on the breakout, making hard, crisp passes. For those who want Despres moved for a top winger, Despres put his best play on tape to date.| Grade: B+ | Season Stats: 0 G – 1 A – 1 Pts – -1

Paul Martin | 0 Points, even rating, 1 SOG, 2 PIM, 2 BS, 1 TK, 21:59 TOI

Martin’s run of playing shutdown hockey came to an end last night. The tape on Martin is you have to come at him hard on the forecheck and Casey Cizikas did exactly that pressuring Martin on the forecheck who was unable to get the puck out and Cizikas made it 1-0. Martin was on the ice for three goals against and was very stationary on Tavares power play goal. | Grade: D | Season Stats: 1 G – 2 A – 3 Pts – -1

Brooks Orpik | 0 Points, -1, 1 SOG, 2 BS, 2 hits, 1 TK, 1 GV, 19:39 TOI

After an outstanding game against the Senators, Orpik was on the ice for three goals against and didn’t have his best night. Grade: D | 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – +1

Deryk Engelland| 0 Points, Even rating, 1 SOG, 2 BS, 3 hits, 1 TK, 13:20

Engelland’s night will be remembered for his gaffe at the blueline on Grabner’s breakaway goal | Grade: D | Season Stats: 0 G – 0 A – 0 Pts – -1


Marc Andre Fleury | 2-2-0, 13 Saves on 17 Shots, .765 save percentage |

Was pulled after the second period, giving up four goals on 17 shots. His woeful 2.95 GAA and .890 sv% hasn’t been an accurate barometer on his season but Fleury lacked that big save against the Islanders, namely the Grabner breakaway goal | Grade: D+ | Season Stats: 2-2-0, 2.95 GAA, .890 sv%

Tomas Vokoun| 1-1-0, 7 saves on 7 shots

Replaced Marc Andre Fleury in the third period and stopped all seven shots. | Grade: N/A |

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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