Spot the Penguins three goals a game and plan the parade, baby. Here are three things you know going into to a Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins game on any given night:
1) Either Jeff Zatkoff or Brad Thiessen have a legitimate chance at a shutout.
2) The defense is going to shut the other teams top line down.
3) The penalty kill is going to be rock solid.
Notice above that I mentioned defense and goaltending as my main points. I did not mention offense. There isn’t any. The Pens are relying on the defense and goaltending to get them through and hoping for a good bounce here and a good bounce there to muster enough offense to hopefully win a game for them.
Going back to the start of 2013, that’s 24 games if my late Wednesday night math is correct, the Penguins are 8-0 in games where they score three or more goals.
Driving home, I thought that it had to be scouting that prevents the Penguins from having success against the teams in the East Division. It isn’t that. It’s a total lack of offense. Maybe a bad break here and there mixed in, but the bottom line at the end of the day is that you need offense and goals to win games and right now the Penguins don’t have that. The power play is poop, 26th in the league at 13.7%. The offense is ranked 28th in the 30 team league at 2.35 goals a game and dead last in the Eastern Conference.
The Pens lost tonight 2-1 by the way. Tom Kostopoulos scored a rebound goal on a power play in the second period. Jeff Zatkoff took the loss, stopping 31 of 33.
Norfolk tied the game late in the second on a power play goal from Brandon McMillan shot that Zatkoff was heavily screened on. Then at just past the midway point of the third period, Dan Sexton and Ryan Parent work a puck off a Penguins defenseman and throw it at the net from a ridiculous angle. Josh Brittain gets a stick on it on the way by to put the Ads up front 2-1. With the anemic offense that is the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, that’s all they would require to skate away with the two points.
Penguins lose out on a golden opportunity to put distance between them and Hershey in the division and teams around them in the conference. The Penguins have now played 55 games and have 61 points. Providence, ahead of them in the conference has 53 games played with 66 points. Binghamton at the four seed has 53 games played and 67 points. Hershey has 54 games played and 58 points. Worcester and Albany at the nine and ten seeds have 52 and 51 games played and 56 and 54 points respectively.
No one else in the division skated. Wheeling lost 5-1 in Elmira.
SendToNews highlights aren’t up yet, here they are. I’ll have to link up in the morning.
Hershey is in Friday for a game which is more important now because of points and divisional / conference jockeying. Oh, and the Bears are upset over the last two games played against Wilkes-Barre and how we celebrated each overtime win. It’s dollar beer night, too. Should be a wild ride.
If I think of anything for the blog, I’ll have my idea first on Twitter then if I remember Facebook. If not, Gameday for Hershey will be up Friday at 3.
Score Some Goals Go Pens!