Chirps from Center Ice

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

Domination — Pens WIN 7-0

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The Penguins as a team rolled to a 7-0 win Sunday afternoon vs. the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Southern Connecticut. The two teams are two teams that are going in opposite directions.  The Penguins haven’t are 8-0-1-1 and the Sound Tigers have lost now nine straight. Two trains passing in the night, if there ever was one.

The only real issue after the end of the first period wasn’t whether the Penguins, up 2-0 at the time, were going to win the game but whether Matt Murray was going to earn his third straight shutout, and eighth overall.

He did.

Just some of his statistics for you to gnaw on…

— Three straight shutouts.
— A streak of 185:22.
— Last five starts: 127 saves on 128 shots, 5-0-0, 0.20 GAA and a .992 SV% with four shutouts.
— Murray takes over the Penguins franchise lead in shutouts for a season, passing Brad Thiessen in that category.

Murray is one shutout shy of tying himself with Wade Dubielewicz (2003-04) and Gordie Bell (1942-43) for all time shutouts made by a rookie goaltender.

A remarkable, remarkable run for the first year goaltender.

He will tell you that it is a team effort and will downplay any attention paid in his direction.

But the stats, and the company he is in so far, bears the attention.

The Penguins just dominated the Sound Tigers today. Bridgeport only had 18 shots on goal today playing the third game in three games. The Penguins were the rested and better of the two teams and this was on full display today.

Matt Murray vs. David Leggio

Lines were:

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

Brian Dumoulin – Taylor Chorney
Reid McNeill – Scott Harrington
Nick D’Agostino – Barry Goers

Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff

Alex Boak skated the warmups as the extra defenseman but was scratched. Adam Payerl was swapped out for Tom Kostopoulos.

First Period: Sound Tigers opened with some pressure. Brett Gallant had a nice hit on Matia Marcantuoni. As he was coming off the ice with his team pressuring in front of Matt Murray, he was confronted by Bobby Farnham. They tumbled right to the ice and it wasn’t much of a fight at all. Very smart play by Farnham to stop play and start something.

Then the Penguins went on a power play and, despite what the caption says, Tom Kuhnhackl finished this…


Pierre Leblond nearly scored from the high slot as the Penguins continued to pressure. Bridgeport then had a chance n a power play but couldn’t sneak anything past Murray.

While the teams were four-on-four, Jayson Megna did this…


That’s Josh Archibald that finished off that play. His first AHL goal since November 21 against Albany.

Penguins continued to pressure the Sound Tigers and outshot them 16-5.

Second Period: Was actually running a bit behind coming up the steps as the second period started as Jayson Megna did this…


It was off of a gaffe of a turnover by Cory Conacher.

Brian Dumoulin hasn’t had a power play goal at all this season, but finally got one off of this play…


There really wasn’t much to this period, the Penguins really dominated the Sound Tigers in all facets in this period. The Penguins had five shots in the period but scored two goals off of them, while the Sound Tigers only had seven.

Third Period: Sorry about the lack of video for the fifth goal, which was a Scott Wilson shot from the long side of the left circle that made it 5-0.

The Sound Tigers wouldn’t stop taking penalties. The Penguins made them pay. This was on repeat twice more in the period.

First, Andrew Ebbett…


And then Josh Archibald…


It was Archibald’s second of the game and again, first goals since November. I would say that the stint in Wheeling paid dividends for Archibald, who was the footnote to Murray and the Penguins dominating day.

The only issue was would Murray hang on for the shutout, and he did.

Three Stars: 3) Matt Murray (18 save shutout) 2) Jayson Megna (goal, assist, +3) and 1) Brian Dumoulin (goal, two assists, +1)

Around the Division: Binghamton lost in overtime to the Albany Devils, 4-3 in overtime. Hershey keeps winning too, beating Lehigh Valley 2-0. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer with his sixth shutout of the season as well.

Standings: Hershey 77 — Penguins 70 — Lehigh Valley 57 — Binghamton 52 — Norfolk 50

Conference: 1) HER (77) 2) MCH (75) 3) SYR (74) 4) WBS (70) 5) SPR (70) 6) HFD (68) 7) WOR (66) 8) PRO (66)

As long as the Penguins keep winning, there really is no sense in keeping up with what other teams in the Conference are doing win / loses wise. So let’s juts move past this…

Wheeling Update: The Nailers played today but due to bad ice at WesBanco Arena, the game was delayed until tomorrow with the Greenville Road Warriors.

SendToNews Highlights: Are here.

Depending on the trade deadline, Monday at 3 p.m., I may run a summary post of what it all means for the Penguins and the teams in the East Division. The Week 21 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog at some point, I just haven’t decided when yet. Also, the Third Quarter Grades are going to be later on this week also, so be on the look out for those.

Latest on Twitter as always.

Let’s Go Pens!

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