Be honest, the pessimistic side of you wasn’t expecting tonight’s result.
After getting shellacked in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday night by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 6-2, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins and Head Coach John Hynes go right back to G Matt Murray Tuesday night and the Penguins shutout the Springfield Falcons for the third time this season and win 4-0.
The Falcons, in three games played against the Penguins this season, have yet to score a single goal against Wilkes-Barre. The Falcons have been shutout four times this season and three of them have come against the Penguins.
Murray, to his credit, was masterful in net for the Penguins. Several stops in close and stops on rebounds and in a pile of bodies. There was a sequence early in the second period where it looked like the Falcons had scored a few times on the power play but Murray and the Penguins penalty killing unit kept them off the scoreboard.
Scott Wilson and Bryan Rust had a three point night, Andrew Ebbett had two power play goals on a late 5-on-3 the Penguins had. Wilkes-Barre went 3 for 5 on the power play and 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. I guess when you have two players that put up three point nights, go 60% on the power play and have a goaltender that has a teams number, you win by the scoreline that the Penguins won by.
Same lineup as Saturday but for Pierre Leblond and Dominik Uher out for Adam Payerl and Matia Marcantuoni. We were expecting word on Leblond’s suspension for the instigator in the final five minutes of Saturday’s game but a suspension never came down from the AHL offices in Springfield. Hynes told Tom after the game that it was rescinded, so no suspension is coming. Also, there was some confusion this morning with the news that Harrison Ruopp was recalled by the Penguins. In the initial press release from Coal Street this morning it stated that Alex Boak and Eric Hartzell were re-assigned there. That was an error and a dated press release. Harrison Ruopp’s recall was the only transaction made by the Penguins today. I apologize for any confusion I may have caused with my tweets (since deleted) this morning.
First Period: Falcons came out flying. They blitzkrieged the Penguins and led in shots 6-1 thirteen minutes in. Springfield was doing everything right until Kerby Rychel hooked Nick Drazenovic putting the Penguins on the power play. Tom Kostopoulos set a nice pick on a Falcons defenseman, allowing Scott Wilson an easy path to the net of ex-Penguin Scott Munroe. Wilson went top shelf on Munroe and put the Penguins up 1-0.
Penguins weathered the early Springfield storm, earn a power play and cash on it. I love it when a plan comes together.
Second Period: Barry Goers is boxed for a puck over glass delay of game and the Falcons do everything but score on the ensuing power play. Murray battled. Then the Penguins swung the momentum in their favor with great offensive pressure.
Turning point of the game was the failed Springfield power play on the Goers infraction. Falcons did everything they could to score but couldn’t.
Third Period: Bryan Rust and Nick D’Agostino come up ice on an odd man rush. Rust centers D’Agostino who shoots, Munroe makes the save but leaves a juicy rebound to Rust who scores to make it 2-0 Penguins. Seemingly that was all the momentum and scoring the Penguins needed. The Falcons got a power play but it was the Penguins taking advantage of shorthanded opportunities. Sean Collins had a breakaway that was denied by Murray. They couldn’t put anything past him.
The Falcons took a series of high sticking penalties late, and Andrew Ebbett made them pay. The game, seemingly already decided was cemented in the Penguins favor with two power play goals by Ebbett on the far circle.
Three Stars: 3) Scott Wilson (goal, two assists, even) 2) Andrew Ebbett (two goals, +1) and Matt Murray (28 save shutout)
Since returning from Pittsburgh, Ebbett has 4-3-7 in four games, Wilson has 7-4-11 in eight games and Rust has 2-6-8 in six games.
Also, with his second power play goal tonight, Andrew Ebbett has 300 AHL points.
Matt Murray is tied with Portland’s Mike McKenna for shutouts with 5. That leads the AHL. He has stopped all 77 shots faced by Springfield in three games.
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Hershey 56 — Penguins 54 — Lehigh Valley 47 — Norfolk 41 — Binghamton 40
Conference: 1) SYR (61) 2) MCH (60) 3) HER (56) 4) HFD (57) 5) SPR (56) 6) WBS (54) 7) POR (53) 8) ALB (53)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off. They take on the Reading Royals tomorrow night at 7.
SendToNews Highlights: YouTube instead…
Penguins are off until Saturday when they play the Hershey Bears in Chocolatetown. The Bears get one of their three games in hand back Friday night in Binghamton. Lehigh Valley hosts Worcester Wednesday and is off Friday as well. The Penguins have played the most amount of games (47) than anyone else in the top 8, so there are games in hand. I will probably have a Friday night blog after all the games of importance go final as a setup to the weekend for the Pens then. Unless I can think of anything or there is newsworthy things worth blogging about, look for the next update then.
Let’s Go Pens!