The worst thing about losing last night to the Binghamton Senators last night was not only did it snap a history making 11-game winning streak for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins but that the Penguins played okay against an overly bad Binghamton team that played extremely well against the AHL’s best team.
If you would have asked me on Thursday of this week which team this weekend posed the biggest threat to the Penguins winning streak, it would have been Albany. Here is why:
– The Devils were on an 8 game point streak coming into tonight.
– The Devils were second in the AHL in both penalty killing and power play.
– It’s a much, much improved Devils team that has veteran netminder Yann Danis anchoring the nets with speedy forwards.
So an extremely good, “measuring stick” game for both teams and one that the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins get a passing grade after a 5-3 win tonight.
Tristan Jarry vs. Yann Danis.
The only lineup change was on the fourth line with Tom Sestito returning from injury and taking the place of Tyler Biggs.
First Period: The Devils had some early odd man looks but Jarry closed the door. None finer than this save on Corey Tropp with the Devils bearing down on a 2-on-1:
The Devils were really bottling up the Penguins in the neutral zone, so much so that the Penguins just could not establish anything that resembled an offensive zone chance. But the Pens adjusted and received two straight power plays that they could not convert on. The looks were there but nothing got past Danis.
Second Period: The Penguins used their most productive period to take a 3-1 lead. Josh Archibald started a two one one, dished to J-S Dea who finished this play to put the Penguins on the board first:
Off the ensuing face-off, Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond fought Tom Sestito in a spirited bout between the two heavyweights.
Penguins would kill the first Albany power play but not the second as Mike Sislo scored a power play goal for Albany with Blake Pietila providing the screen in front. The face-off dot has been none too kind to the Penguins these past few days.
Scott Wilson scored on a power play for Wilkes-Barre as this puck kicked right to him and he knew exactly what to do:
Penguins tacked on their third goal of the period when Carter Rowney singled to right field…
Nice hand / eye coordination by Rowney there.
Wilkes-Barre has outscored their opponents 32-7 in the second period.
Third Period: The Penguins woes on the face-off circle continued as Reid Boucher scored off of one to bring the Devils to within one. Then the Devils would get back on even footing when Tim Erixon turned a puck over to Boucher who was off to the races with ex-Penguin Paul Thompson. Jarry made the stop on the Boucher offering but could not stop the Thompson rebound and the Penguins were reeling a bit.
Penguins couldn’t get anything by Danis. They tried and tried but he continued to close the door. It was going to take a freaky gaol to beat him. It happened.
Through the blur there, that is Conor Sheary with the shot. The Devils showed a different angle that showed Joe Faust in front trying to knock down the puck with his glove. Instead, it caromed off of it and changed the angle on Danis and went in the net.
Time started to become the enemy of the Devils, with Danis pulled Tom Kostopoulos dished to Oskar Sundqvist who scored on the empty net to seal it for the Penguins.
I guess the moral of the last two days is that the Penguins play really well against great teams and against bad ones like Binghamton, they struggle. Once they get over that hump, and I have every reason to believe that they will, they may be unstoppable and the win streak set just last week may be in jeopardy again.
Hey, who do the Penguins play next? That’s right! Binghamton! In Binghamton on Thanksgiving Eve! We won’t have to wait long to see if the Penguins can get over that hump.
Three Stars: 3) Reid Boucher (goal, assist. -1) 2) Conor Sheary (goal, assist, +1) and 1) Scott Wilson (goal, assist, +1)
Derrick Pouliot chipped in two assists. Tristan Jarry improves to 5-0. It will be interesting to see who jumps out of that tunnel Wednesday evening in Binghamton.
Here’s video highlights courtesy of the Devils:
Around the Division: Hershey wins 4-2 to sweep Portland this weekend….Bridgeport beats Utica 4-2. If the AHL didn’t rank teams by percentage this year, the Sound Tigers would be leading the Atlantic Division and not the Penguins…Hartford beats Lehigh Valley 3-1. The Wolf Pack have all of a sudden won two in a row….Providence beats Springfield 4-1. The win snaps a seven game losing streak for the P-Bruins.
Standings: Penguins (.867 points percentage) — Bridgeport (.750) — Hershey (.618) — Hartford (.500) — Springfield (.500) — Portland (.467) — Lehigh Valley (.441) — Providence (.375)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers tried to sweep the Florida Everblades but were unsuccessful tonight, losing 5-2. Anton Zlobin left the first period win an apparent injury. The Nailers take two of three wins back with them back to West Virginia when they host the Reading Royals Wednesday night.
My Week 7 AHL Power Rankings will hit the blog Monday at 4.
Let’s Go Pens!