I’m no math major, but some numbers for you:
-> The Penguins are 1-12 all time in playoff games at Giant Center
-> The Penguins power play went 0-for-9 tonight.
-> The Bears power play went 3-for-4 tonight.
In minor league hockey, there are franchise defining moments. In some fly by night two-season-and-done teams its attendance, unsustainablility and / or an inept front office.
For the Penguins, for which none of the above applies and a team which has made the AHL playoffs for ten consecutive seasons, the time is now.
Up two games to none against a Bears team without Christian Hanson, Keith Aucoin, Braden Holtby or Dmitry Orlov and with NHLers Eric Tangradi, Simon Despres and the injured Brian Strait layed an absolute goose egg tonight and lost 4-1. The Penguins were never in it tonight at all and now, face elimination tomorrow on home ice, at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night.
If the Penguins do not win tomorrow for whatever reason, the season could then be best described with the following two words:
You have to win three games in the first round. The entire season and depending on if your are a pessimist or optimist, franchise defining moment, comes down to tomorrow night.
Brad Thiessen vs. Dany Sabourin. Matt Rust was in for Nick Petersen, attending to a family matter. Philip Samuelsson was in for Brian Strait. Radio said that if this was Game 5 he would be in.
First Period: Could best be described as a preseason game. Bears forechecked. Penguins looked lost. Penguins got two power plays they did not score on. Jason Williams hit a post on a four on two. While the teams were four on four, Alex Picard fanned on an open net, Bears come back in the other way and Cam Schilling scores to make it 1-0.
Second Period: Penguins get another power play and do nothing with it. Bears get a power play and Chris Bourque blasts a puck Thiessen mishandles that Boyd Kane blindly shoots into the Penguins net to make it 2-0. Off the faceoff Penguins get another power play and don’t score. Late, Jason Williams scores off of a perfect feed from Alex Grant to make it 2-1 going into the…
Third Period: Penguins had a carryover power play they would not score on. Brandon DeFazio would get bloodied on a high stick but no call would be made. DeFazio would go to the locker room then the bench but I didn’t hear his name called the rest of the night. Penguins would get another power play and not score (sense a trend?) then Eric Tangradi would take an unnecessary unsportsmanlike penalty and Ryan Potulny would rip a shot from the point that Boyd Kane would tip home to make it 3-1 Bears. Pens would get another power play and wait for it….would not score. The Pens would pull Thiessen late and Chris Bourque would score from center ice to seal it for the Bears making it 4-1 and forcing a deciding Game 5 tomorrow.
Three Stars: 3) Cameron Shilling (goal, even) 2) Dany Sabourin (22 saves on 23 shots) 1) Boyd Kane (two goals, +1)
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference: St. John’s and Norfolk are onto the next round. Both needed overtime to do so. Both won 4-3. Norfolk’s boxscore here. St. John’s boxscore here.
Winner of the game tomorrow gets the St. John’s IceCaps. The Norfolk Admirals will faceoff against the Connecticut Whale next week.
I’ve lived by the mantra of, “if you don’t believe, you don’t belong” in playoffs. Only problem that I absolutely fear, is that there are twenty men boarding a bus back to Wilkes-Barre that may not share that same idea.
Whatever happens, Gameday will be here for you at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon and I will have the live tweets for you.
To the end…
Let’s Go Pens!