You didn’t think it would be easy, did you?
For the Penguins, it nearly was. They were up 3-1 at one point but lost tonight in overtime 4-3. Stephane Da Costa’s goal at 11:07 of the first overtime completed the comeback for the B-Sens and evened the series at a game a piece as this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series switches to Wilkes-Barre for Game 3 Wednesday and Game 4 Friday.
The Penguins can’t be happy that they let the B-Sens claw their way back into this series after the B-Sens were down 3-1 in the game. Don’t get it twisted, the Senators nearly lost this game. The Penguins for large stretches dominated the game with puck possession and aggressive forechecking and sticks in lanes.
Peter Mannino vs. Andrew Hammond
Lineup Changes: Mike Carman and Spencer Machacek for Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Nick Drazenovic for the Penguins and Corey Cowick and Darren Kramer for Matt Puempel and Ryan Dzingel. Puempel got hit hard into the boards by Zach Sill in Game 1, but should be ready for Game 3 Wednesday.
First Period: Brian Dumoulin shoots a puck at the net that Chuck Kobasew gets a piece of for an early 1-0 Penguin lead. Later, Adam Payerl takes a frustration tripping penalty and the B-Sens head to the power play.
Chris Wideman tied the game on the power play just like that. Hey, wait. Payerl takes an early penalty and the B-Sens score on a power play. Where did I see that before? Oh, that’s right. Last night.
Mike Carman from behind the net finds Tom Kostopoulos on the doorstep and the Penguins captain doesn’t miss to put the Penguins ahead 2-1.
Wilkes-Barre largely dominated the period and the scoreboard showed it.
Second Period: Mike Carman, who had himself a hell of a game, scores when the puck gets deflected to him off of a referees skate to put the Pens ahead 3-1. It caught everyone by surprise, as Hammond and company had their heads turned in another direction when the goal was scored.
Here comes Binghamton.
Zach Sill slashing at 15:13. At 16:34, Da Costa gets his first of the night when Mark Stone fires the puck off of the post, which caroms to Da Costa far side who slams it home to make it 3-2.
Third Period: Penguins take a lead heading into the third period. Good things, right? They only lost one game this year leading after two periods. I can’t remember who though….
Bad turnover by the Penguins to Mark Stone who scores to tie the game at three a piece.
Back it up for a second. Mistakes. A Sill penalty. Power play to Binghamton and a goal. A turnover at the start of the third period. Tie game. You cannot make a mistake against the Binghamton Senators. I just have to keep repeating it because it is being played out right before our eyes.
Overtime: Penguins looked strong to start. A gaffe led to a breakaway for Binghamton but it was broken up at the last second. Hammond made a few spectacular saves for the home team then Da Costa ended it to even the series at a game a piece.
Three Stars: 3) Mike Carman (goal, assist, +2) 2) Mark Stone (goal, three assists, +2) 1) Stephane Da Costa (two goals, +2)
Thought about this on the drive back from Binghamton. The Pens made some key mistakes in Games 1 and Games 2 which cost them. Moreso in Game 2 than Game 1. Adjust on those, with home ice now for Games 3 and 4, and put this Binghamton team away once and for all on your home ice.
Call it wishful thinking or what ever you like. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have a lineup with over 1,000 games of NHL experience in the lineup. The Binghamton Senators have less than 300. This is a walk in the park for the Penguins more than it is for an unexperienced group of Senators. Do the B-Sens have what it takes to win the series? Absolutely they do. Do the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins? You betcha. When it boils down to situations like this, I like experience more than I do youth.
Alright, I am talking like I am down 0-2 in the series now. I would have given you $1,000 if you would have guaranteed me a split this weekend against Binghamton. A split is what we have and I will take it gladly and run to the Mohegan Sun Arena Wednesday for Game 3.
Elsewhere in the East: A lot of other teams got even tonight. The Albany Devils evened their series with a 4-2 win over the St. John’s IceCaps….the Norfolk Admirals scored three unanswered and stunned the Manchester Monarchs 3-2….the Springfield Falcons put the Providence Bruins on the brink of elimination with a 3-2 win.
The Nailers await their next opponent in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
SendToNews Highlights: Scrapping that for the B-Sens Rewind….
No idea what content will run between now and Wednesday. I’ll try to come up with something.
Let’s Go Pens!!!