Chirps from Center Ice

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

Last Shot Wins — Pens LOSE 5-4

   button_adk200       @       WBS

  4                                          5

When it rains, it pours.

The Penguins have been struggling to score goals in this winless slump. They have scored just five goals in the last games.

So they go to Providence today, and score four. Two on the power play, three in the second period.

They largely dominated puck possession today vs. Providence and allowed the P-Bruins just four shots on goal in the third period of a 4-4 game.

So it’s only fitting that in a, “kick ya when you’re down” world that the Penguins would turn the puck over in the neutral zone, and Penguin assassin Alexander Khokhlachev scores with 1:29 to push the Bruins ahead of the Penguins late in the game and win 5-4.

Jeff Zatkoff vs. Jeremy Smith

Lines were…

Conor Sheary – Nick Drazenovic – Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson – Carter Rowney – Jayson Megna
Bobby Farnham – Matia Marcantuoni – Josh Archibald
Pierre Leblond – Dominik Uher- Tom Kuhnhackl

Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Derrick Pouliot
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Jeff Zatkoff – Matt Murray

Lines were jumbled from last night. Drazenovic was up centering the first line, Rowney was up centering the second line with Wilson and Megna, down from the first line. Farnham was bumped from the fourth line to the third with Matia Marcantuoni and Josh Archibald. Pierre Leblond was on a fourth line with Dominik Uher and Tom Kuhnhackl.

The defensive pairings remained the same.

Bryan Rust was a surprise scratch and the explanation given was a lower body injury. Rust was injured in the third period in Worcester. He’s yet to be evaluated and with the Penguins off till Tuesday they won’t know anything until at least then.

Jean-Sebastien Dea took warmups but was a scratch. Alex Boak was the 7th defenseman who was scratched.

First Period: Pierre Leblond was dismissed from the game with this hit he laid on Seth Griffith. Leblond was thrown out of the game and assessed a 10 minute match penalty for boarding. By rule, Leblond is suspended pending league review. Griffith left the game with an upper body injury and P-Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told Mark Divver of The Providence Journal after the game that the Bruins will submit tape to the league to review.

The AHL can do two things. 1) Nothing and say that the punishment fit the crime or, 2) Leblond is suspended x amount of games.

We will see what happens. The AHL usually announces punishment on Tuesday.

In the full five minute power play that the Bruins had as a result of the Leblond penalty, they only managed a single shot on net.

Another thing that the box got wrong was this goal scored by Tom Kostopoulos that was credited to Scott Wilson. Wilson took the shot that Kostopoulous appeared to have tipped. This was on a power play that the Penguins scored on right after the kill on the Leblond major.

Second Period: Six goals scored this period. They went,

– Ben Youds pinching and scoring on a blind pass to make it 2-1 Providence on a power play at 3:42.
Tom Kuhnhackl at 9:37 on a power play through a pile of bodies in front off of a Brian Dumoulin shot.
Carter Rowney spin-o-rama shot at 10:59 even strength that put the Penguins ahead 3-2.
– Ben Youds booming slap shot at 12:09 on a power play for the Bruins.
Scott Wilson from a ridiculous goal line angle at 13:22 to make it 4-3 Penguins.
– Matt Lindblad tip of a Steve Eminger shot from the half wall that made it 4-4.

Third Period: Penguins had two power plays in this period and failed to score on them. Closest they got was a Nick Drazenovic knee drop one timer that hit the post. The Penguins only allowed the Bruins a single shot on goal in the first ten minutes.

Late, Nick Drazenovic was mugged by two Bruins in the neutral zone, was dispossessed and then Khokhlachev scored to make it 5-4 Bruins to essentially seal it with 1:29 left.

Three Stars: 3) Scott Wilson (two goals*, assist, +1) 2) Alex Khokhlachev (game winning goal, -1) 1) Ben Youds (two goals, +2)

Around the Division: Hershey beats Lehigh Valley at home 5-2 to extend their lead over the Penguins to three points. Hershey still has a game in hand on the Pens and the Phantoms have three. The Phantoms have a game on the Bears. Binghamton beat Springfield 6-3.

Standings: Hershey 47 — Penguins 44 — Lehigh Valley 43 — Binghamton 38 — Norfolk 34

Conference: 1) MCH (57) 2) SPR (56) 3) HER (47) 4) SYR (53) 5) HFD (49) 6) POR (47) 7) WOR (45) 8) ALB (44) 9) WBS (44)

Wheeling Update: The Nailers were stunned in the final seconds by the Brampton Beast and lost 2-1.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Penguins are off till Tuesday, then play host to the St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday before taking to the road again for a Friday and Saturday matchup in Norfolk.

My Week 15 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog tomorrow at a special time, 12 p.m., with Chicago and Rockford playing in a 2 p.m. Martin Luther King Day kids game Monday afternoon.

Let’s Go Pens!

* – maybe

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