The Penguins are one win away from the second round after a 4-0 whitewash of the Syracuse Crunch. Matt Murray picked up a shutout with a 27 save performance, the Penguins struck for three times on the power play and the Syracuse Crunch have scored just one goal in the series as it shifts back to Syracuse for what can be a decisive Game 3 for the Penguins if they continue doing what they have been doing.
Penguins made one lineup change from the night before, swapping J-S Dea in for Matia Marcantuoni at fourth line center. Everything else was status quo. Matt Murray opposed Kristers Gudlevskis.
First Period: Penguins got to the power play quickly on a Carter Ashton slash. Yanni Gourde broke in unabated and Murray made a huge pad stop. Back the other way. Jayson Megna cashed for a rebound goal off of a Conor Sheary shot off of the back board which Andrew Ebbett corralled and chipped over to Megna for the power play tally.
Penguins would take two penalties after that but would kill them fairly easily. The period was dominated by power plays to either side. To this point, passes were being made and connecting but the finish wasn’t there. The Penguins finally would win the special teams battle with…
… A Carter Rowney redirect of a Josh Archibald offering that made it 2-0 on a power play and again with…
… A goal credited to Tom Kostopoulos as time expired that went in off of Luke Witkowski and in as the clock hit zero for a 3-0 Penguin lead.
Second Period: Syracuse outshot the Penguins 11-6 in the period and at times had Wilkes-Barre running around a bit. Crunch had the benefit of two power plays in the period but the Penguins were able to kill them.
Third Period: Penguins sat on the lead a bit, had better looks offensively compared to the second. Jayson Megna and Bobby Farnham had some great chances with Farnham’s coming on a breakaway. Wilkes-Barre adds another goal on a Kasperi Kapanen shot that banked in off of Crunch defenseman Joey Mormina’s stick and in. Mormina was back as Kapanen was sprung, Kasperi made a move and the momentum of that coupled with the poke check by Mormina pulled Gudlevskis out of position enough for the puck to trickle over the line and in.
Three Stars: 3) Carter Rowney (goal, even) 2) Jayson Megna (goal, even) and 1) Matt Murray (27 save shutout)
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference: Manchester and Hershey tale 2-0 series leads against Portland and Worcester with 6-2 and 3-1 wins, respectively. Providence beats Hartford 2-1 in Game 2 which knots that series at 1-1.
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 2-1 and need to win in Game 6 Tuesday in Toledo else their season is over.
Penguins may get the services of Taylor Chorney, Brian Dumoulin, Derrick Pouliot and Scott Wilson in time for Game 3. Watch Twitter and/or Facebook for that.
I’ll have the update of the postseason chart big board sometime Sunday afternoon / evening. I’ll tweet a link when I do.
Let’s Go Pens!!!