Late in the game, early in the third, Simon Despres sees Mike Carman ahead of him with nothing but air in front of him.
He passes. The puck hits the tape of Carman and the third line winger skates in with Phantoms on his back. Forehand to backhand and in. Penguins extend the lead to 3-1.
Big goal at the time, as the Penguins narrowly eke out a 3-2 win against a pesky Phantoms team.
I don’t know who gets the credit for that sequence. Despres, with the wherewithal to make a perfect pass or Carman, who had to receive the pass, skate in and score.
Anyway, the Penguins are now two points behind the Binghamton Senators, who lost 5-4 in Ottawa to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
I’m really burying the real lead here, because this morning, Jayson Megna, Brian Gibbons and Harry Zolnierczyk all were sent to Wilkes-Barre. Zolnierczyk needed to clear waivers and did at noon. Only Zolnierczyk played. Radio said that Gibbons / Megna received a well deserved break. Also, Spencer Machacek was out with a “lower body” injury. Commenter Brenda spotted that last night.
Jeff Deslauriers vs. Cal Heeter
First Period: Nick Drazenovic gets a goal by going five hole on Heeter and the Pens go up 1-0. Deslauriers was making big saves all night as he stopped the Phantoms power plays all night.
Second Period: Brandon Alderson leads a 2 on 1 charge up ice, keeps it, and scores to tie the game at 1 all.
Then the Penguins all of a sudden find themselves with a 5-on-3 for more than a minute but aren’t able to score. Then, they need to kill a penalty.
Turning point here. Phantoms power play looked great all night. Deslauriers and the PK unit stifled them though. Unable to score on a 5-on-3, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the Pens give up a goal.
They didn’t. Rather, they kill it and Zolnierczyk gets Heeter to drop down on one side of the post, wheels around the net to the other side and tucks it in for a 2-1 lead.
Third Period: Reid McNeill plays a puck while still in the penalty box, apparently there’s a rule against that, and is returned to the penalty box from which he came seconds before. Deslauriers with more acrobatic saves to shut down the Phantoms PP.
Then, Despres finds Carman. I set this up in my lead, so if you don’t read those, please do. If I’m too verbose and you forgot, look again. I don’t mind. Really. Go ahead.
Anyway, huge goal for the Penguins. Pesky Phantoms never backed down, getting a goal from Jason Akeson to cut it to 3-2. Phantoms get a power play late, but with a time out and Heeter pulled, never found the equalizer.
Three Stars: 3) Mike Carman (goal, even) 2) Nick Drazenovic (goal, assist, +2) and 1) Harry Zolnierczyk (goal, assist, +2)
Around the Division: Binghamton coughs up two leads and loses to Hamilton in Ottawa 5-4.…Hershey beats Portland 2-1, the home winning streak for the Bears is at 10…Norfolk loses to Hartford 3-1 and Syracuse forces overtime but lose to Springfield 6-5.
Standings: Binghamton 62 — Penguins 60 — Norfolk 58 — Hershey 56 — Syracuse 44
Conference: 1) SPR (67) 2) MCH (67) 3) BNG (62) 4) WBS (60) 5) STJ (59) 6) NOR (58) 7) ALB (57) 8) PRO (57)
Wheeling Update: Wheeling defeats Reading in Reading. 5-2. Reassigned Denver Manderson had an assist and scored a goal in the win. Manderson and Goers were sent back today by Wilkes-Barre.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here.
Pens travel to Hershey tomorrow for a 5 p.m. start with the Bears. The NHL is now on Olympic break so there are some guys, like we saw today with Megna and Gibbons, that can come back to their AHL clubs. Once all of the transactions complete, I’ll have a tidy blog post here for all to see.
Let’s Go Pens!!!