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Countdown to Opening Night
Penguins vs. CheckersOctober 7th, 2017
13 days to go.
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
I walked out of my house this morning and didn’t realize that I had walked out of the house without a hat for tonight’s game. I forgot it. So tonight, I watched tonight’s 4-0 Penguins defeat at the hands of the Providence Bruins without one.
Suffice to day, when I walk out of the house tomorrow to come to Game 2, I will have a hat with me, on my head.
The Providence Bruins took it to the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins early in the first period.
The Penguins had the jump to open the period. Superstar rookie sensation Alexander Khokhlachev scores on a busted play by the Penguins to put the Bruins on the board just 1:33 in. Just a weird sequence where the Bruins pounced on a Pens player on the wall and dish to Khokhlachev, who scored.
Then the Penguins took a penalty and here is where the game spiraled out of control for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
Craig Cunningham knee drop one-timer on the far post on a nice tic-tac-toe pass play. 2-0 Providence at 7:03 on the power play.
Pens quickly respond off the face-off with a line of Jayson Megna Adam Payerl and Harry Zolnierczyk and almost make it 2-1. They don’t. Back the other way, a man unmarked in front of starting goaltender Peter Mannino and it was 3-0 Providence. That unmarked man was Andrew Cherniwchan. Goal comes :45 after the Cunningham power play goal, at 7:48.
Before the Pens knew what hit them, Alexander Khokhlachev finishes off a 2-on-1 and it’s 4-0 Providence at 8:03.
Yep, if you followed that correctly, that was three Providence goals in the span of sixty seconds.
It’s the second playoff game in a row that the P-Bruins have scored four first period goals and the third game in a row that three goals are scored in the first period. Credit.
Penguins buttoned down from there. They started to hit and out skate the Providence Bruins.
But, the forgotten man in all of this was none other than Niklas Svedberg, who was outstanding tonight for the Bruins in goal. He smothered up all pucks sent his way tonight and was seeing the puck large. Several Wilkes-Barre one time attempts were stopped by Svedberg.
Penguins had a late 5-on-3 but didn’t score in the second period. The Penguins did all they could to get back into the game in this period but couldn’t get anything past Svedberg.
In the third period, the Providence Bruins bucked down and locked down the Penguins. They didn’t allow a single Wilkes-Barre shot for the first sixteen minutes. If you are a team that needs five goals in twenty minutes, not registering a shot on goal in the periods first sixteen minutes isn’t going to help your cause.
The Penguins were at one point down to four defenseman. Reid McNeill broke a skate and Brendan Mikkelson took a shot up high that drew blood but both returned.
Three Stars: 3) Matt Lindblad (two assists, +2) 2) Alexander Khokhlachev (two goals, assist, +2) and 1) Niklas Svedberg 20 save shutout.
This game reminded me a lot of Game 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Syracuse Crunch last year, a game that the Penguins won. In fact, the ONLY game that the Penguins won. The Pens had just completed a historic comeback against this same Providence Bruins club after being down 0-3. Nothing was going to stop them in Game 1. The Providence Bruins are in the same boat. They needed a pair of 6-3 victories against the Springfield Falcons to survive and advance after being down 3-1 in the best of five.
I don’t know. The Pens played one bad minute that cost them big and couldn’t get any pucks past Svedberg or muster anything resembling a great chance.
Lineup Notes: Anton Zlobin took warmups but was scratched. Conor Sheary played again. Andrew Ebbett did not, out with what the Pens are calling an “upper body” injury. Nick Drazenovic went in Ebbett’s place. Jayson Megna played, didn’t really notice him. Blueline was intact.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference: Game 3 of St. John’s and Norfolk gets going again tomorrow at Scope. The series is tied 1-1.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers are on the brink of elimination after being defeated by the Greenville Road Warriors tonight by a score of 4-1. Greenville goes up 3-2 in the best of seven series. Game 6 is Monday in Wheeling.
SendToNews Highlights: I don’t think that Coal Street is making a YouTube highlight package for this one and rightfully so. SendToNews highlights are here.
Game 2 is tomorrow. Gameday for this will be up at 3:00 p.m.
Let’s Go Pens!!
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