Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Killing Me Softly — Pens LOSE 4-2

ALB          vs.          HER

4                                                2

All you need to know about this game, a 4-2 Penguins loss, is the following:

The Penguins allowed the Albany Devils to score three times on the power play tonight and it cost them. That was where the game was won and lost this evening. It was pretty equal at even strength in a tight checking, defensive battle. The Devils were just the better team on special teams tonight.

Let’s take a quick look around the AHL East at the other action before we get to the rest of the recap, shall we?

— The Hershey Bears couldn’t beat Phantoms goaltender Anthony Stolarz, even with 32 shots at him, including half in the first period (for a 16-1 shot advantage) and it cost them as they lost 2-0.
— The Binghamton Senators can’t play defense, up 4-1 at one point to the Springfield Falcons and lost 6-5. The fact that the B-Sens can’t play any defense at all cost them tonight.

So the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were extremely lucky to lay an egg tonight but still not have it cost them that badly in the division, as no matter what happens tomorrow, the Pens will still lead the East Division by Christmas.

It was 2-0 Albany after forty minutes of insomnia busting hockey before Conor Sheary connected in the third period on a power play goal that beat starting Devils goaltender Scott Clemmensen low to draw Wilkes-Barre within one with a lot of time to play.

But an Adam Payerl slash at 14:42 would put the Devils on the power play yet again and Brandon Burlon wasted no time in scoring the third Albany power play of the night that made it 3-1.

Fifteen seconds later, a soft floater off of the stick of Derrick Pouliot from the blue line beat Clemmensen to draw the Penguins to one again.

But time was the enemy of the Penguins and with starting goaltender Matt Murray pulled, ex-Penguin Paul Thompson buried the empty netter from center ice to squelch any comeback hopes.

John Hynes is in a tough spot. The Penguins sleepwalked through most of this game, but with half of his usual staff in Pittsburgh, how do you send a message? Clark Seymour and Sahir Gill were the healthy scratches tonight. Nick Drazenovic returned from injury and centered a line with Tom Kuhnhackl and Jayson Megna.

Jeff Zatkoff was reassigned from Pittsburgh this morning by the way. Eric Hartzell hasn’t been officially sent back to the ECHL yet, as he wasn’t with the Nailers tonight as they hosted Greenville, in a game that Wheeling lost 1-0.

There was a bunch of stuff that went on Friday afternoon that I never got around to blogging about. In no set order,

On Thursday, it was announced that Bill Guerin will serve as one of the honorary captains of the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic in Utica. Guerin served as a player development coach here in Wilkes-Barre and now is an Assistant GM in Pittsburgh.

On Friday, it was announced that Tom Kostopoulos will serve as the honorary captain for the Eastern Conference All-Stars in Utica in late January. A dubious distinction for the veteran Kostopoulos, as the playing captains are selected by the AHL President, Dave Andrews.

Nice story here on Defenseman Derrick Pouliot.

In other East Division action, the Norfolk Admirals were defeated 5-2 by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The two teams rematch tomorrow.

Penguin still lead the East with 35 points. Hershey trails by four, Lehigh Valley by five, Binghamton by eight and Norfolk by thirteen.

Conference is Manchester leading with 40, Syracuse with 39, Wilkes-Barre with 35 then Springfield with 39, Hartford with 33, Providence with 32 and Albany and Hershey with 31 each.

SendToNews highlights are packaged here. Unless your name is Tracey or Amy, nothing to see from a Wilkes-Barre perspective.

Pens are in Binghamton tomorrow night. I’ll be there. With two teams coming off stinkers the night prior, should be interesting.

Let’s Go Pens!

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