The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins floundered through three divisional games last weekend and couldn’t wait for the weekend of woe to end, one where they only scored three goals total.
But the schedule wears on. Teams keep rolling in now that we are a quarter of the way into the season.
The Syracuse Crunch were exactly what the doctor ordered.
The Crunch have been crushed by injuries, call-ups and just a general lack of cohesiveness and direction of late. Ask any Crunch fan. If there ever was a perfect opponent to cure whatever it was that was ailing the Penguins as a team, it was a rudderless Crunch team.
The Penguins dominated tonight and rolled to an easy 6-2 win.
Matt Murray opposed Kristers Gudlevskis.
With this being a work night for me, I am again taking the veteran option on the line rushes:
Tristan Jarry backed up Murray. Josh Archibald skated the extra body in warmups.
Tom Kostopoulos was back into the lineup, after missing Sunday’s game in Hershey with a lower body injury. Sullivan told the media yesterday that the Penguins captain was not day to day but not week to week either. He played tonight.
First Period: Penguins jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Bryan Rust stole a puck at the Crunch blueline, danced around a few Syracuse defenders and dished to Tom Kuhnhackl who wrested one home for a 1-0 Penguins lead. :40 later, Tom Kostopoulos steals a puck and scores to double the Penguins lead. Crunch were on their heels and called a time out.
Conor Sheary with the nastiest goal of the season. Two angles here, essentially the same, my amateurish video and a GIF from the AHL. Mine first…
Sheary walked through four Crunch defenders and went bar down on Gudlevskis. Absolute filth.
Second Period: Jeff Tambellini scored on the front end of a Kostopoulos double minor for high sticking and the Crunch were on the board. This was the best period Syracuse played because the Penguins were not able to cash on their own double minor. Crunch seemed to inch closer and the feeling in the building was that the next goal would be big.
Third Period: Started out with end to end action with plenty of chances both ways. Finally, Kevin Porter, playing in his 500th professional game, walked a puck from behind the Crunch net, found a lane and shot the puck at Gudlevskis who made the save but spilled a rebound right to Dominik Simon who, in close quarters, roofed the puck over the Crunch netminders shoulder for a 4-1 Penguin lead.
So the Penguins exceed the goal scoring total from three games in one weekend in one game on a Wednesday in Wilkes-Barre. Hockey is a funny sport.
Dominik Simon scored on a breakaway when the puck hit the post behind Gudlevskis and bounced off of him and in for a 5-1 Penguin lead.
Dominik Uher added his first of the season when he sprung free of the Crunch defenders and went upstairs on Gudlevskis to make it 6-1. Uher was really working on trying to score all game and finally it clicked for him.
Three Stars: 3) Tom Kostopoulos (goal, +2) 2) Matt Murray (30 saves on 32 shots) and 1) Dominik Simon (two goals, +2)
Nice bounce back game for everyone, notably Derrick Pouliot, who was +4.
Around the Division: Lehigh Valley fights back from a 0-2 deficit in Allentown and wins in overtime 3-2 over the Bears….Portland blasted Springfield 5-1.
Standings: Penguins (.773 percentage points) — HErshey (.625) — Bridgeport (.620) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Portland (.500) — Hartford (.458) — Springfield (.457) — Providence (.457)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off, they are in Indianapolis tomorrow for a game against the Indy Fuel. I will have coverage of that here on the blog.
Here is the post game infographic….
And the post game highlights…
Pens are on the road Friday against Lehigh Valley then back home Saturday against Albany.
Let’s Go Pens!!