If you don’t know who goaltender Matt Murray is yet, you will soon.
The rookie, making just his second professional regular season start, pitched a 21 save shutout against the Springfield Falcons and the Penguins did the rest and rolled to a 5-0 win.
The bottom line is this, anyone who was worried about losing goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to injury and worry about losing a bunch of games and not being relevant and get upset about it, need not be. Matt Murray is back there. He knows what he is doing. The Penguins will be fine.
Bobby Farnham looked good. He was his usual self, flying everywhere and agitating the other team. He had two quality scoring chances in the game, and nearly scored on both.
Bryan Rust was the team leader in goals coming into this game with three. He tacked on two more tonight.
Nick Drazenovic really put the game away for the Pens in the first period against his old team with two first period goals.
The defense looked solid, only allowing the Falcons four shots in the second and four shots in the third. Whatever got to Murray was stopped without much problem.
Special teams finally kicked it into gear with two power play goals. Yes, two! The Penguins could not convert on 1:14 of 5-on-3 time in the second period however.
I don’t really know what to make of this win against a team like Springfield who, like the Penguins, are struggling to find their legs to start the season. They have ex-Penguins in Ryan Craig and Brian Gibbons and blue-chippers like Jerry D’Amigo and guys like Corey Cowick and Sean Collins and Brett Ponich. Osacr Dansk is a great goaltending prospect. We’ll find out more as this weekend goes on with Hershey tomorrow and Binghamton Sunday, I guess.
It was the aforementioned Messieurs Dansk and Murray in goal tonight for their respective teams.
Lines liked like this:
Scott Wilson – Nick Drazenovic – Tom Kostopoulos
Anton Zlobin – Andrew Ebbett – Jayson Megna
Tom Kuhnhackl – J-S Dea – Bryan Rust
Dominik Uher – Zack Torquato – Bobby Farnham
Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Derrick Pouliot – Philip Samuelsson
Reid McNeill – Scott Harrington
Matt Murray – Eric Hartzell
Oh, the official word on Jeff Zatkoff is “week to week” per Hynes, as told to Jonathan Bombulie.
First Period: Great back and forth to begin between the two sides. Then Bryan Rust steps by the Falcons defense and cuts to the net and scores to put the Pens ahead 1-0. Farnham had the first of his two chances with a shorthanded breakaway but was stopped by Dansk.
Pens would double the lead on a Springfield failed clear when Nick Drazenovic buried his first of the game. He’d get his second of the period on the doorstep on a Penguins power play. Wilkes-Barre had been the last of two teams (Toronto) to not have a power play goal scored yet this season.
I feel that the game was lost for the Falcons in the final ninety seconds of the period, when Springfield tried everything it could to get one past Murray and on the board with a goal scored before the period ended. No dice.
Second Period: Pens fail to cash on a 1:14 of power play time up two men. Falcons didn’t really do anything memorable here.
Third Period: Derrick Pouliot had a great game for himself, his first on Wilkes-Barre ice, breaking up what would have been a shorthanded bid for Brian Gibbons. Pouliot must be not be a fan of the old Brian Gibbons Breakaway of the Game™.
Bryan Rust tacked on his second of the game with a wraparound stuff shot past Dansk to make it 4-0.
For good measure the Penguins added a second power play goal when Pouliot, in the corner, set up J-S Dea in the slot who just zipped one past the glove of Dea to make it 5-0.
At this point it was about preserving Murray’s shutout bid and the Penguins were successful in doing so.
Three Stars: 3) Nick Drazenovic (two goals, +1) 2) Bryan Rust (two goals, assist, +2) and 1) Matt Murray (21 save shutout)
Around the Division: Hershey coughs up three goals in 1:53 late in the third to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and lose 4-2. The Phantoms only had four shots on goal in the third period….Norfolk got shutout 4-0 in Providence. Binghamton was off.
Standings: Lehigh Valley 6 — Hershey 6 — Penguins 6 — Binghamton 5 — Norfolk 4
Conference: 1) ALB (9) 2) WOR (7) 3) LV (6) 4) HFD (7) 5) SYR (7) 6) PRO (7) 7 STJ (7) 8) MCH (6) 110 WBS (6)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were shutout 5-0 in Gwinnett, South Carolina. The Nailers play the South Carolina Stingrays tomorrow night in Charleston.
SendToNews Highlights: Are here.
Gameday setup for the 7 p.m. start in Hershey tomorrow hits the blog at 3 p.m. Saturday!
Let’s Go Pens!!!