Chirps from Center Ice

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

Can I Return This? – Pens LOSE 2-0

Pens lose this game 2-0 tonight in Hershey.

Thoughts:

1) The Penguins sorely miss Beau Bennett. It is apparent that the rookie runs the Penguins special teams unit. The Penguins were 0-for-6 tonight on the power play. Tom Grace said on radio pregame that he is day to day.

2) Braden Holtby is a very good goaltender. He has no business in the AHL. Due to the NHL lockout, he is here. He has six shutouts of the Penguins in his career. If fan bloggers like yours truly had all-star votes, he and Springfield’s Curtis McElhinney would be two of the three sent to Providence to represent the Eastern Conference next month.

3) Garrett Mitchell loves playing against the Penguins. He scored a goal in the first period after an uncharacteristic Brian Strait turnover early in the first period. He has three goals in the season series so far which is tops amongst head-to-head goal scorers.

4) I said at the beginning of the year that if the NHL lockout goes all season that either Hershey or Wilkes-Barre will not make playoffs. It certainly looks, with how bleak the NHL labor strife is at this time and how inert the Penguins have looked the last 10 games, that Wilkes-Barre will have a short Spring.

Penguins could not generate any offense despite only allowing the Bears 20 shots on goal. Yes, defense wins championships. But before you get to playoffs which allow you to win a championship, you have to win games. Offense wins games. The Penguins aren’t generating any offense right now which is a huge concern.

I said earlier today on Twitter that the results of the next four games the Penguins play will paint the picture of what the Penguins will look like overall for the remainder of the season. They played Hershey tonight, rematch against them tomorrow, have Norfolk and Syracuse Saturday and Monday. Win all four, back in the division hunt. Lose all four, the basement is calling. Play .500 hockey, you are right where we started, while the division lead gets larger and the margin of error gets smaller. That would be indefensible for even I to defend.

That’s about it. These two teams rematch again tomorrow night in Wilkes-Barre.

Three Stars were Ryan Potulny (assist, +2), Garrett Mitchell, game winning goal, +1 and Braden Holtby (33 save shutout) in that order.

Syracuse beat Binghamton 5-3. Norfolk was off.

Crunch lead the East Division with 40 points. B-Sens are in second with 35 points. Bears are in third with 32 points. Penguins are fourth with 30, Norfolk is in fifth with 27 points.

Conference is Syracuse, Springfield, Portland, Binghamton, Providence, Hershey, Manchester, Worcester in that order. Penguins sit tenth. Currently out of a playoff spot.

The Wheeling Nailers were off tonight.

Scott Stuccio hasn’t uploaded the SendToNews highlights yet, but he will and when he does I will link in. SendToNews.com is where you can see the highlights. Edit: Here they are.

Gameday for the rematch will be here tomorrow at 3 p.m.

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