Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Reinforcements On The Way

The Penguins announced this afternoon that defensemen Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin and Derrick Pouliot plus forward Scott Wilson have all be re-assigned to Wilkes-Barre / Scranton.

Chorney needed waivers but cleared. Pouliot, who hasn’t appeared in any Pittsburgh games since April 7, is healthy and serviceable.

Remember this April 12 game against Portland when the Penguins dressed five men on the blue line?

Danny Syvret – Clark Seymour
Nick D’Agostino – Alex Boak
Steven Shamanski

Those were the days.

Mix in Chorney, Dumoulin, Pouliot with Scott Harrington, Barry Goers and Reid McNeill and you have a rock solid defense. Veteran insurance / experience in Danny Syvret and Ryan Parent waiting in the wings. The options are limitless.

It’s an embarrassment of riches, really.

As long as everyone stays healthy and the Penguins stay on course, I like my damn chances.

I updated the postseason chart big board through Game 2. Have a look.

Penguin Power! — Pens WIN 4-0

SYR        vs.        WBS

0                                             4

The Penguins are one win away from the second round after a 4-0 whitewash of the Syracuse Crunch. Matt Murray picked up a shutout with a 27 save performance, the Penguins struck for three times on the power play and the Syracuse Crunch have scored just one goal in the series as it shifts back to Syracuse for what can be a decisive Game 3 for the Penguins if they continue doing what they have been doing.

Penguins made one lineup change from the night before, swapping J-S Dea in for Matia Marcantuoni at fourth line center. Everything else was status quo. Matt Murray opposed Kristers Gudlevskis.

First Period: Penguins got to the power play quickly on a Carter Ashton slash. Yanni Gourde broke in unabated and Murray made a huge pad stop. Back the other way. Jayson Megna cashed for a rebound goal off of a Conor Sheary shot off of the back board which Andrew Ebbett corralled and chipped over to Megna for the power play tally.

Penguins would take two penalties after that but would kill them fairly easily. The period was dominated by power plays to either side. To this point, passes were being made and connecting but the finish wasn’t there. The Penguins finally would win the special teams battle with…

… A Carter Rowney redirect of a Josh Archibald offering that made it 2-0 on a power play and again with…

… A goal credited to Tom Kostopoulos as time expired that went in off of Luke Witkowski and in as the clock hit zero for a 3-0 Penguin lead.

Second Period: Syracuse outshot the Penguins 11-6 in the period and at times had Wilkes-Barre running around a bit. Crunch had the benefit of two power plays in the period but the Penguins were able to kill them.

Third Period: Penguins sat on the lead a bit, had better looks offensively compared to the second. Jayson Megna and Bobby Farnham had some great chances with Farnham’s coming on a breakaway. Wilkes-Barre adds another goal on a Kasperi Kapanen shot that banked in off of Crunch defenseman Joey Mormina’s stick and in. Mormina was back as Kapanen was sprung, Kasperi made a move and the momentum of that coupled with the poke check by Mormina pulled Gudlevskis out of position enough for the puck to trickle over the line and in.

Three Stars: 3) Carter Rowney (goal, even) 2) Jayson Megna (goal, even) and 1) Matt Murray (27 save shutout)

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference: Manchester and Hershey tale 2-0 series leads against Portland and Worcester with 6-2 and 3-1 wins, respectively. Providence beats Hartford 2-1 in Game 2 which knots that series at 1-1.

Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 2-1 and need to win in Game 6 Tuesday in Toledo else their season is over.

Penguins may get the services of Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot and Scott Wilson in time for Game 3. Watch Twitter and/or Facebook for that.

I’ll have the update of the postseason chart big board sometime Sunday afternoon / evening. I’ll tweet a link when I do.

Let’s Go Pens!!!

RAPID RECAP: Pens WIN 4-0

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win a convincing Game 2 tonight by a score of 4-0. The Pens connected for three power play goals in the first period and rode a 27 save shutout by Matt Murray to a 2-0 series lead in the best of five with a chance to sweep Wednesday in Syracuse. 

That’s the thumbnail summary. Full recap of things in a bit.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game 2: Syracuse Crunch (WBS leads 1-0)

vs. 

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal — Game 2

AHL Game: D2

Who: Syracuse Crunch

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Series: WBS leads 1-0 (Best of Five)

Media Kit

Last Game: Last night in Wilkes-Barre, Kasperi Kapanen scored twice in a span of 1:40 as the Penguins took Game 1 by a score of 5-1. Kapanen was named the first star of the game.

What to watch for: For the Penguins, repetition. For the Crunch, killer instinct. The Penguins can not rest on their laurels and expect the Crunch to lie down and wither away just because they lost last night by four goals. Syracuse needs to come out and take control of the game from the jump if they want to have visions of taking this series back to Syracuse tied at a game a piece.

Referee(s): Terry Koharski / Keith Kaval

Linesmen: Shandor Alphonso / Francis Trempe

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @SyracuseCrunch

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /syracusecrunch

Instagram: wbspenguins / officialsyracusecrunch

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @TLTomVenesky // @syrhockey

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For SYR: Dan D’Uva @Dan_DUva

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @Allovimo

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Syracuse: ESPN Radio Central New York

Television: AHL Live

When is Game 3?: Wednesday night in Syracuse at 7.

Clap Along…Because I’m Kappy! — Pens WIN 5-1

SYR        vs.        WBS

1                                             5

Maybe I should shut up and just buy into the hype. Maybe it’s just one game in fourteen more that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have to win, but Kasperi Kapanen’s two goals out of the three scored by the Penguins in 1:40 in the second period is enough to propel the Penguins to a 5-1 win and a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 tomorrow night in Wilkes-Barre.

I say that, because after his dazzling debut against Lehigh Valley a few weeks ago, one where he scored on his first shot on his second shift, Kapanen hasn’t done many things memorable since. He was scratched last weekend due to injury but maybe that was a godsend to step back and regroup and take things in on video and learn. Tonight he was spectacular.

The rest of the Penguins team wasn’t to shabby. Matt Murray made 22 saves on 23 shots to pick up his first postseason win. The Penguins played a disciplined game and beat a good Syracuse side that has not lost 10 of their last 11 games.

The aforementioned Matt Murray vs. Kristers Gudlevskis. Here’s a look at the lines….

Conor Sheary – Andrew Ebbett – Tom Kostopoulos
Josh Archibald – Jayson Megna – Kasperi Kapanen
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham

Scott Harrington – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Nick D’Agostino
Ryan Parent – Danny Syvret

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Notes: Scott Harrington was re-assigned by Pittsburgh yesterday. Ryan Parent made his Penguins debut. Sean Escobedo took warmups but was scratched. Reid McNeill was back too.

First Period: I said in the Gameday setup that the first period was going to be crucial. You can’t if you are the Penguins give an opponent with a negative goal differential who lost 9 of their last 10 games any breathing room or life in Game 1 of a best of five series.

Well, halfway though, a feeling out process. Scoreless and each side had six shots. Crunch had a power play come and go.

Then the Penguins got what they were looking for. The goal to put them ahead.

Tom Kuhnhackl set up Dominik Uher from smack dab behind the net and Uher smashed it in to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Penguins I noticed, really ran at the Syracuse defensemen on the breakouts. Went right at them and caught them flat foot. Evidenced by a Conor Sheary two on one late. Sheary was waiting for a trailing Kostopoulous but took it himself and shot it right into the belly of Gudlevskis.

Second Period: Boom.

Kasperi Kapanen scored to make it 2-0 off of a Jayson Megna offensive face-off win. Kapanen corralled a puck around bodies and roofed it past Gudlevskis for a 2-0 Penguin lead.

Barry Goers cross ice to Carter Rowney perched on the far side low dot for a one timer and in for a 3-0 Penguins lead.

Penguins could smell the blood in the water. Rob Zettler used his time out to try and calm his Syracuse team down.

It didn’t work.

Barry Goers with a pass off the pads to the wrong man at the time, Kapanen, for a 4-0 Wilkes-Barre lead. Floodgates open. Rout on. That would end Gulevskis night and enter Adam Wilcox, all of two games prior of professional hockey experience.

It actually worked, because the Crunch finally settled, the Penguins fell into a lull that always happens at the euphoria of a multi-goal outburst at a given moment and the Crunch got on the board at fourteen minutes on the dot with a Matthew Peca crash of the net goal that slipped under the pads of Murray to make it 4-1.

Third Period: Syracuse controlled the opening eight minutes until a Slater Koekkoek hold that put the Penguins on a power play. The Crunch would kill it but Danny Syvret would score to make it a 5-1 game which basically iced it away. The Crunch would muck it up after every whistle, but the Penguins held on.

Three Stars: 3) Carter Rowney (goal, two assists, +3) 2) Dominik Uher (goal, assist, +2) and 1) Kasperi Kapenen (two goals, +1)

Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference: Hershey gets three goals on a 5:00 major power play late to ice the Worcester Sharks in Game 1 of that series by a score of 4-1. Game 2 goes tomorrow from Massachusetts. Hartford is up 1-0 in their series with Providence and Manchester is up 1-0 in theirs with Portland. Game 2’s all tomorrow there.

Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost 4-1 to the Toledo Walleye in Game 4 which ties that series at two games a piece. Eric Hartzell made 25 saves on 29 shots. Game 5 of that series is Saturday at 7:35.

By now you have heard that the Pittsburgh Penguins lost in overtime to the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 5, essentially ending their season. I would expect that Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin, Scott Wilson and Derrick Pouliot be reassigned to Coal Street most likely Sunday. Pouliot may take longer because he is recovering from injury. I wouldn’t rule out the Penguins just sending him home and him not coming here, to be honest. I’d be shocked if Chorney, Dumoulin and Wilson are re-assigned and in town for Saturday’s Game 2 vs. Syracuse. You have to give them time to get back to Pittsburgh with the rest of the team, decompress and go through the exit interview process. I would say that if Wilkes-Barre is going to get any help from Pittsburgh in the form of reinforcements, that it comes in time for Game 3 in Syracuse next Wednesday. Who knows.

Gameday for Game 2 vs. Syracuse hits the blog at 3 p.m. as the Pens look for the commanding 2-0 series lead.

Let’s Go Pens!

RAPID RECAP: Pens WIN 5-1

A three goal outburst in the second period for about 90 seconds was all the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins needed tonight as they take Game 1 of the best of five series by a score of 5-1. Kasperi Kapanen had two of the three goals in the outburst. 

While this one was never really in doubt, we have all been here before and I have blogged my share of collapses through the years. But not this time. Crunch scored one late in the second to make it 4-2 and maybe a game but Wilkes-Barre got one in the third from Danny Syvret to make it 5-1 and iced it away. 

Game 2 goes tomorrow night in Wilkes-Barre at 7:05

Full recap in a bit.

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game 1: Syracuse Crunch

vs. 

Eastern Conference Quarterfinal — Game 1

AHL Game: D1

Who: Syracuse Crunch

Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

When: 7:05 p.m.

Series: Tied 0-0 (Best of Five)

Media Kit

Season Series: Nov. 9: SYR 4 @ WBS 5 (OT) — Nov. 15: SYR 3 @ WBS 2 — Jan. 10: WBS 3 @ SYR 4 — Mar. 20: WBS 1 @ SYR 2 (OT)

Top four scorers for the Penguins vs. the Crunch: 1. Jayson Megna (4 GP, 4-0-4, even) – 2. Beau Bennett (1 GP, 0-4-4, +1) – 3. Brian Dumoulin (4 GP, 0-4-4, -1) – 4. Andrew Ebbett (2 GP, 1-2-3, +1)

Top four scorers for the Crunch vs. the Penguins: 1. Yanni Gourde (4 GP, 3-2-5, +4) – 2. Jonathan Marchessault (4 GP, 1-4-5, -1) – 3. Nikita Nesterov (2 GP, 0-3-3, +2) – 4. Tanner Richard (4 GP, 2-0-2, +4)

What to watch for: First Period. Could define game and may define series. If the Crunch come out of first ahead by multiple goals, may mean that the Penguins are in for more of a fight than they thought.

Referee(s): Kendrick Nicholson / Dave Lewis

Linesmen: Shandor Alphonso / Jud Ritter

Twitter: @wbspenguins / @WBSGameDay / @SyracuseCrunch

Facebook: /WilkesBarreScrantonPenguins // /syracusecrunch

Instagram: wbspenguins / officialsyracusecrunch

Beat Writers: @CVBombulie / @TLTomVenesky // @syrhockey

Broadcasters: For WBS: Mike O’Brien @MikeOBrienWBS / For SYR: Dan D’Uva @Dan_DUva

Fan Bloggers: @nafsnep / @Allovimo

Radio: For WBS: WILK NewsRadio / For Syracuse: ESPN Radio Central New York

Television: AHL Live

When is Game 2?: Saturday night, tomorrow, in Wilkes-Barre at 7:05

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