No, you read that score right.
Pens score 5 goals and don’t win.
Yes, I did say in my preview of series that these two teams featured in this Eastern Conference Semifinal are the top two defensive clubs in the AHL.
13 goals on 56 total shots by the teams.
A sharper Providence team, having played a full five game series vs. a dull Penguins team? Perhaps.
I totally wrote off the Providence Bruins as a team that feasted on cupcake teams in their cupcake division.
I was totally wrong.
The Providence Bruins defeat the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals by a score of 8-5 to take a 1-0 series lead in this best of seven. Remember that guy Chris Bourque? He of those Hershey Bears teams that obliterated everything in their path a few years ago? He plays for the Bruins now. He absolutely killed the Penguins tonight. A goal, three assists and a +2 and in true Chris Bourque fashion, the goal coming late which buried the Penguins.
The once healthy Penguins may be dealing with injuries going forward. Read on.
Jeff Zatkoff vs. Niklas Svedberg. Dominik Uher was scratched. Streve MacIntyre took warmups but did not play. Bobby Farnham was back in the lineup.
First Period: Great open by the Penguins, who have not played a competitive game in eight days. The Pens had the first power play of the series and showed a great open minute but a fractured second. They kept the offensive pressure up and got another power play. Derek Nesbitt nearly scored on his patented “shoot from one knee one timer from the low circle” move but did not. Then a penalty shot was awarded when it was ruled that a P-Bruin covered the puck in the goal crease, but the puck was not actually on the ice. Chad Kolarik took the penalty shot and scored. Immediately thereafter, the Pens were on the penalty kill and the Providence power play took the ice. The P-Bruins power play is lethal. It is tops in the Calder Cup Playoffs. They nearly scored twice. They continued to press the Penguins the final eight minutes and with just over a minute left, Derek Nesbitt turns a puck over to Ryan Spooner who scored from about five feet in from the blue line on a shot that looked to handcuff Zatkoff. Tie game.
Shots on goal were 17-6 Penguins this period. Penguins had the quantity of shots but the Bruins has the better quality of shots.
Second Period: Nighmarish period for the Penguins. Starts with an injury to Dylan Reese as he appeared to be hit in the head. Reese was shaken, but skated off on his own power but did not return. Then Jayson Megna doesn’t touch a puck on an icing, the P-Bruins score when Jordan Caron bangs home a rebound. To this point, since the penalty shot by Chad Kolarik in the first, it was all Providence. Paul Thompson then puts it on net and Brian Gibbons stuffs it home on the far side to even the score at two,
Then it got bad.
The Bruins would end up scoring four goals in 5:15. Kyle MacKinnon was the recipient of a pass on a three on two and scored to make it 3-2. Then Reid McNeill walks a puck out in front of Zatkoff’s net, is swarmed and the P-Bruins score on a bat rebound goal. McNeill had a forgettable game to this point. Brian Gibbons takes an interference call. Carter Camper scored to make it 5-2. At this point, 5 goals on 16 shots for the Bruins.
Paul Thompson scored with :04 left on a power play on a backhander to stop a little of the bleeding.
Then it got really bad.
Garnet Exelby collides with Chad Kolarik knee on knee and Kolarik went down in a heap and was helped off the ice putting no pressure on his right knee.
Third Period: Thankfully, Kolarik returned for the third period. Reese did not.
Craig Cunningham is good at hockey. So is Carter Camper. The two seemed to read each others minds when Cunningham wheeled around the slot, dished to Camper who dished back to Cunningham who scored to make it 6-3.
The Bruins pristinely move the puck with such speed its nearly impossible to stop. Tonight, turns out for the Pens, it was.
Bruins would score no more. Things got chippy. Penguins find themselves on a power play for 4:00. Philip Samuelsson shoots a puck from the point that Chris Collins deflects in to make it 6-4. Then, the Pens score on a funny bounce off the wall on a wide open net when Paul Thompson chases down a puck and shoots it into a wide open net. The Pens were rolling at this point. Svedberg does not see a shot his way and it deflects wide. Then, Penguin killer Chris Bourque scores on a slap shot that beat Zatkoff short side. Then, a meaningless penalty on Paul Thompson for roughing would put the P-Bruins on a power play late. That puck movement and tape to tape passes I talked about earlier would prove deadly again as Jamie Tardif would score on the backdoor to put the game permanently out of reach.
Three Stars: 3) Paul Thompson (two goals, assist, -1) 2) Carter Camper (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Chris Bourque (goal, three assists, +2)
The Bruins were 26-9-0-3 at home in the regular season. The last game that saw this many goals in the playoffs involved the Penguins per the AHL PR tweet feed, a 7-6 OT game vs. the Hershey Bears almost six years to the day, on May 11, 2007.
Despite all this, it wasn’t the worst loss of the night. Grad Rapids drop kicked the Toronto Marlies 7-0 tonight.
Anyway, Game 2 is tomorrow in Providence. No way this offensive ridiculousness continues. Expect a bounce back by the Penguins tomorrow in a big way to bring it back spilt 1-1. Gameday for this here on the blog at 3 p.m.
Let’s Go Pens!