Chirps from Center Ice

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

What the Helenius Does it Take to Score? – Pens LOSE 3-0

SYR          vs.          NOR

3                                                0

Penguins go 1-2 on the weekend, bookended by a shutout on home ice Friday that the hands of the Norfolk Admirals 1-0 and today on home ice at the hands of the Syracuse Crunch 3-0.

You can see that the Penguins wanted to get ahead early on, as the shots after one were 12-3 in favor of the Penguins. Penguins got their only power play of the game when the Crunch were whistled for too many men, had chances but were unable to score.

Crunch goaltender Riku Helenius left rebounds all over the place all game really. If the Penguins would have been in better position to get to those rebounds, it would be a much different outcome, I feel.

Second period was more of the same, for the Penguins. A bend but not break mentality for the Crunch, who after two periods were being outshot 17-5. Pens had to kill the only Crunch penalty in that period, but the leagues best unit handled it easily.

In the third, you could see that the Pens were gassed. As a matter of fact, the headline for this recap would have been “Out of Gas” but I figure the play on Helenius’ name would add more humor to a pretty meek weekend.

Anyway, it takes three Penguins to decide which one of them would get the puck out of the defensive zone. Pierre-Cedric Labrie took a puck off of a d-man, fed Kyle Wilson who was all alone with Zatkoff and backhanded it in for a 1-0 Crunch lead.

The next shift, Brett Connolly pounces on a rebound of a Tyler Johnson shot to make it 2-0. John Hynes used his timeout. One of the questions I would have for Hynes if I talked to him postgame would have been if you had to go back and do it over, would you go back and use the timeout after the Wilson goal?

Not that it mattered, because a little bit later Ondrej Palat found Kyle Wilson in the slot and Wilson fired it home to make it 3-0 and that was your ballgame.

If the Penguins were up 3-0 after the first or second, a different outcome?

If the Crunch played last night, a different outcome?

I can’t say for sure. Especially when you can’t score goals. This team really misses Paul Thompson. I think that the players really feed off of his presence. As far as defense and goaltending go, the Penguins don’t seem to really have any problems in that department although if you watched today you would probably argue this point with me.

Divisionally, Binghamton won in a shootout up in Albany 3-2. Hershey beats Rochester in Western New York 4-1 and Norfolk wins in overtime at Bridgeport 3-2.

Standings go Binghamton 65, Syracuse 64, Penguins and Bears 55 and Norfolk 48.

So instead of five points back of the Crunch, it’s nine. And you have the Bears side-by-side now looking to advance and the Admirals getting their sea-legs, pun intended.

Penguins are seventh in the conference, with 55 points. They are seven points back of fifth place Portland.

Wheeling was off and I don’t know many that want to see SendToNews highlights.

Penguins are likely off Monday and will practice Tuesday. I have some things kicking around in my head for some topics this week. Check back here or with me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

Let’s Go Pens!

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