If you have been following the team carefully, you will already know that the third line of Kuhnhackl – Rowney and Uher has been the best line for the Penguins for quite some time. They came through again tonight.
A 5-2 win for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, a 40 save performance for Matt Murray, a 5-1 St. John’s win over the Hershey Bears and the Penguins still have a boat load to play for.
The aforementioned Matt Murray vs. David Leggio.
Scott Wilson – Andrew Ebbett – Tom Kostopoulos
Conor Sheary – Jayson Megna – Kasperi Kapanen
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Uher
Bobby Farnham – Matia Marcantuoni – Bryan Rust
Scott Harrington – Brian Dumoulin
Danny Syvret – Alex Boak
Nick D’Agostino – Clark Seymour
Matt Murray – Jeff Zatkoff
It was Conor Sheary’s first game back since March 20, he had missed 8 games prior. Bryan Rust was dropped to the fourth line to make room for Sheary. Pierre Leblond was shuffled out in all of this madness. Adam Payerl was the other healthy scratch along with Steven Shamanski, who took warmups.
First Period: I don’t know if it was the fact that the Penguins were off last night, riding a high that they clinched on Wednesday or what, because they were flattened by the Pirates from the jump. Outshot 15-6, Matt Murray really did a fine job of keeping the Penguins in it. Eric Selleck got a step on Scott Harrington and scored on Murray to make it 1-0 Pirates. It was the first goal scored by the Pirates on the Penguins in the season series. The Penguins shut out the Pirates in the two prior meetings. The assault continued, but Murray was to task with some puck luck also.
Second Period: That third line came alive…
Then Carter Rowney…
First goal was a Rowney shot that went wide that Leggio didn’t corral and Kuhnhackl corralled in. The second goal Rowney tip of a Kuhnhackl blast.
Third Period: The Penguins scored three goals on just six shots in this period. Bobby Farnham got the party started with this nice goal off a Conor Sheary setup:
Alex Bolduc scored to make it 3-2. Murray was screened by a defenseman.
But again, Matt Murray came up huge, stopping 15 of 16 shots this period, and the Penguins pulled away.
Jayson Megna on a rebound of a Nick D’Agostino shot from the blue line…
Then Dominik Uher finished off this pass from Matia Marcantuoni to make it 5-2…
Time would run out for the Pirates and the Penguins would take it.
Three Stars: 3) Carter Rowney (goal, assist, +1) 2) Tom Kuhnhackl (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Matt Murray (40 saves on 42 shots)
Around the Division: As mentioned earlier, Hershey gets smoked by St. John’s 5-1…. Norfolk beats Lehigh Valley 3-2 and Binghamton beats Utica 3-2.
Standings: Hershey 96 — Penguins 91 — Lehigh Valley 72 — Binghamton 72 — Norfolk 62
Here is where it is getting weird. I conceded, weeks ago, the division to the Hershey Bears. Every time I do this, Wilkes-Barre inches closer to hope. Every time that happens, it slips. Anyway, if the Penguins win tomorrow, it’s a three point deficit with both teams having three games to play. Bears have two with Lehigh Valley and one with Binghamton left. After tomorrow, assuming the Penguins win Sunday, it’s Albany, Noroflk and Lehigh Valley. Anything can happen. Bears magic number for the Division is 4.
Conference: 1) MCH (103) 2) HER (96) 3) SYR (91) 4) WBS (91) 5) PRO (89) 6) HFD (89) 7) WOR (86) 8) POR (83)
Manchester sewed up the top spot in the East. Best that the Bears (or Penguins, with tons of help) can finish is the second seed. That means, you’ll want to avoid being seven eight. Syracuse is LOL right now and may not even win the division, but I’d favor who ever finishes sixth over Syracuse at three if it shakes out that way regardless.
Wheeling Update: Good on the Wheeling Nailers, decimated almost day by day by call-up from two affiliates, for punching their ticket to the Kelly Cup Playoffs with a 5-3 win in Elmira. Five different Nailers scored.
SendtoNews Highlights: Aren’t up yet and I don’t know if Portland puts them up quite frankly so my amateurish videos will need to do.
Rematch tomorrow at 3 vs. these same Pirates. Gameday for this will be up on the blog at 11.
Let’s Go Pens!!!