Penguins win 2-1 in a shootout in thrilling fashion. A game that had pretty much everything:
1) A close to sell-out crowd.
2) A team desperate to get back on track and win again.
3) An Albany team that beat the league best Syracuse Crunch last night.
4) An untested goaltender in Max Clermont making his AHL debut for the Devils.
5) Action back and forth all night by two tight checking hockey clubs.
Adam Payerl got the better of Clermont in the shootout in the sixth round. Jeff Zatkoff stops Steve Zalewski to secure the win for the Penguins.
I couldn’t put my finger on what the bigger storyline was in the game. Whether it was Clermont, an untested goaltender coming in with a 3+ GAA with Elmira this season who didn’t know any better or the Penguins lack of puck luck.
Trevor Smith scored a power play goal in the slot in the first period which by all accounts was pretty even. I don’t know if Albany matched the same intensity that was seen by the Penguins last night or if the Pens were 100% invested in the game like they were not the first ten minutes of the game last night vs. Hershey.
Clermont established himself early on. All pucks hit him and stuck to him it seemed. He game up little rebounds. He looked relaxed.
In the second, Darcy Zajac slips away from the defense overloaded on the left side, and scores a goal to bring things even. Penguins had the better of the chances but Clermont was more than up to the challenge.
Overtime solved nothing. Devils had the better of the chances. There was a sequence where the Penguins thought they had scored but referee Ryan Fraser reviews it on replay and determines that the puck does not go in.
Shootout time. Mike Sislo in round one, Jayson Megna in round four, Tom Kostopoulos and Joe Whitney in round five and Adam Payerl in round six with Zatkoff stopping Steve Zalewski.
It was Albany’s tenth shootout loss, tops in the AHL.
Three stars were 3) Trevor Smith (goal, even) 2) Jeff Zatkoff (26 saves on 27 shots) and 1) Adam Payerl (shootout game winner)
Another night where I thought that the opposing goaltender deserved a star of the game. Clermont was spectacular when he needed to be, which was often.
Around the Division: Binghamton was in Toronto and won 4-2. Norfolk traveled to Hershey in an important game for both teams and coughed up a 2-1 lead with 2:33 left in regulation and lost 3-2. Rochester edged Syracuse in overtime 2-1.
Standings: Syracuse 75 — Binghamton 71 — Penguins 63 — Hershey 62 — Norfolk 54
Conference: 1) SYR (75) 2) SPR (73) 3) PRO (69) 4) BNG (71) 5) POR (67) 6) WBS (63) 7) HER (62) 8) CT (59)
Bears host the Crunch tomorrow and can leap frog the Penguins if they win. It is their game in hand against the Pens.
Wheeling Update: Nailers win 3-0 at home, shutting out the Trenton Titans. Chris Barton was 1-1-2, Paul Crowder was 1-2-3. Keven Veilleux had an assist.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here. Cut up are both regulation goals and the shootout goals.
Pens hit the road for seven straight games, hitting a ton of New England stops along the way.
Third Quarter Grades are due! 19 games left! The playoff push is on! Stick with me on Twitter for when to expect the grades. Probably some time early on in the week.
Let’s Go Pens!