Chirps from Center Ice

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

Pens Shutout Crunch 5-0

That is the way the best team in the league is supposed to handle inferior competition. A 5-0 WBS shutout of the hapless Crunch, now shutout in two consecutive games. Nice to have this monkey off of our back.

Brad Thiessen vs. JP Levasseur tonight. No lineup changes for the Pens as Geoff Walker was the scratch. John Curry was demoted to Wilkes-Barre later today and will rejoin the team tomorrow.

First period: Thiessen you could tell right off the bat was on his game, stopping 2-3 deflected pucks sent his way the first ten minutes. After coming dangerously close to scoring in the same shift multiple times, Nick Johnson finally did at 15:34. The period would end with the Pens on a power play after a Maxime Macenauer hook.

Second period: More Thiessen seeing the puck like a beach ball. More Thiessen bailing out Wagner and Potter’s spotty defensive play (both were +1) Trevor Smith took a tripping call off of a faceoff and Nick Johnson would score again on a power play goal. The second would end 2-0.

Third period: Ryan Craig appeared to take a puck in the man region very late in the second. He shook it off in the intermission to come out in the third and score a goal. Five minutes later, Chris Collins scored another stop-and-spin-on-a-dime-and-light-the-lamp goals to make it 4-0. At this point the rout was on. Later, after a scrum after a whistle, Patrick Maroon would sit on a rough and Nick Johnson would complete the hat trick. After that the Pens would just play out the string. Thiessen was still tested but denied all chances. Very very late Joe Vitale would take a puck off of the lower leg which crumbled him. He had to crawl off the ice.

I thought it was a complete game by the Pens. Everything seemed to click. Power play, penalty kill, even strength. All of it. Is it a case of playing a team in disarray? I guess we find out quick because the Bears are in Pittsburgh waiting for the Pens tomorrow.

Three stars were Ryan Craig, Brad Thiessen and Nick Johnson.Odd stat of the night: The entire team was +1 but for Brett Sterling, Jesse Boulerice, Eric Tangradi and Joe Vitale.

Around the Division: Atlantic leading Manchester defeated Adirondack 6-2. That was it.

Standings: Teams immediately behind Wilkes-Barre were dormant, so the Pens get a 7 point cushion on Norfolk and are the first AHL team to 50 points. Norfolk plays Charlotte tomorrow. They have 43 points and the Checkers have 40 points. The Bears sit in fourth with 39 points. They’d love to win tomorrow and an Admirals win as well. Binghamton sits in fifth with 34 points. Then Albany – 26, Syracuse 26 and Adirondack 16.

Pens bus to Pittsburgh tonight. Booster club is leaving tomorrow with yours truly. I will be the tall guy on the concourse with his iPhone in his hand. If you are in Pittsburgh and read the blog and plan on going to the game, find me on the concourse and say hello.

Let’s Go Pens!

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