A 2-0 Penguins win against a Providence team that made a decent Lehigh Valley team look silly the night before, winning 5-1. Matt Murray picked up his AHL leading seventh shutout of the season, tying Brad Thiessen in that department in a season. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins bottled up the speedy Providence forwards, taking away scoring chances and opportunities in passes that could lead to scoring chances.
You can call this a statement win for the Penguins, who looked bad late against Lehigh Valley last Saturday. Providence is a well coached and deep team in all positions team. To answer back with a week off with a 2-0 shutout is a testament to how well the Penguins are coached and how well Murray has been playing of late.
Murray vs. Jeremy Smith
Conor Sheary – Andrew Ebbett – Bryan Rust
Scott Wilson – Jayson Megna – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Pierre Leblond – Matia Marcantuoni – Bobby Farnham
Taylor Chorney – Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill – Scott Harrington
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers
Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff
First Period: Felt like a boxing match. Both teams landed punches, no one landed a knockout blow. Providence had late sustained pressure in the Penguins zone late but no one scored. If yo were scoring it like a boxing match, it would have gone 10-9 Bruins.
Second Period: Bryan Rust left the game with an apparent leg injury, needing help off the ice and down the runway while play was ongoing. Then Nick D’Agostino was crushed into the boards by a blatant Jared Knight board, but there was no call from referee Ryan Hersey. After some consultation with his linesmen, Hersey threw Knight out of the game and put the Penguins on a 5:00 major power play.
Late in the power play, Tom Kostopoulous was tripped with no call. That action must have been enough to distract Smith as Scott Wilson zipped a shot past him for a 1-0 Penguin lead.
Third Period: Andrew Ebbett was denied on a sure goal by Smith that kept it just a one goal deficit for the Bruins. This period had a lot of what the first period had but for the fact that the Penguins were up by a goal and there wasn’t anymore hockey to be played at the end of the period. Providence made their push, but the Penguins held firm.
One thing that I did notice, and this was excellent coaching by P-Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy was a timeout that he used with 1:19 left. The net Jeremy Smith was guarding was dislodged from its moorings and needed repair. Alexander Khokhlachev and his line mates were on the bench at the time, so Cassidy uses his timeout and gets them on for the final 1:19 looking for the equalizer.
Instead what they find is Conor Sheary scoring from center ice on an empty net. Ballgame.
Three Stars: 3) Jeremy Smith (17 saves on 18 shots) 2) Scott Wilson (goal, even) and 1) Matt Murray (22 save shutout)
Around the Division: Hershey and Bridgeport had a line brawl where the goalies fought but the Bears come out on top by a score of 4-3. — Binghamton loses 5-3 to Syracuse — Worcester sweeps Norfolk 4-3 and Hartford beats Lehigh Valley 5-4 in overtime.
Standings: Hershey 69 — Penguins 64 — Lehigh Valley 55 — Binghamton 50 — Norfolk 48
Conference: 1) MCH (71) 2) SYR (70) 3) HER (69) 4) HFD (67) 5) WBS (64) 6) SPR (64) 7) WOR (62) 8) PRO (61)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost 5-0 to the Toledo Walleye in Ohio.
SendToNews Highlights: Let’s YouTube instead…
Pens back at it tomorrow at 3 p.m. in Hartford vs. the Wolf Pack for another game which should be very interesting. Gameday for that hits the blog Sunday morning at 11 am.m.
Let’s Go Pens!