There was an innocuous sequence in the third period in tonight’s game that stood out and stuck with me.
With less than 10 minutes to play in the third period with the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins cruising, the linesmen ruled icing on a questionable call which caught a tired Penguins group on the ice against a Phantoms team looking for anything to build momentum. It was probably the best sequence for the home team to this point.
Off the ensuing face-off, rookie goaltender Tristan Jarry makes a glove save forcing a whistle and allowing the Penguins to make the needed change.
It is that kind of goaltending that you see out of veteran goaltenders, not a rookie playing in his ninth professional game thrust into the starting goaltender role on the best team in the AHL.
Jarry and the Penguins blanked the Lehigh Valley Phantoms again tonight, 3-0 the score. Jarry hasn’t allowed a goal in 144:02, the Penguins haven’t allowed the Phantoms to score a goal on their home ice in 150:33 going back to April 19, 2015 of last season and it is the first time in Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins franchise history that the Penguins have recorded three consecutive shutouts in as many games.
Jarry opposed Jason LaBarbera, making his first start since November 8.
Scott Wilson – Kael Mouillierat – Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl – Carter Rowney – Dominik Simon
Dominik Uher – Oskar Sundqvist – Tom Kostopoulos
Ty Loney – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Derrick Pouliot – Clark Seymour
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
Tristan Jarry – Brian Foster
The Uher line was untouched. Rust up from the fourth line to the top line. Kuhnhackl from the fourth line to the second with Rowney centering. Dea continued to center the fourth line with Loney up from Wheeling and Archibald back from being a healthy scratch. The defensive pairings were not touched.
Sahir Gill and Harrison Ruopp were the healthy scratches. The vague injury updates were Matia Marcantuoni listed as day to day, Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy both week to week and Tyler Biggs out “indefinitely” with a lower body injury. All that means is that they haven’t evaluated whether he is day to day or week to week yet. I just wish they would say what they injuries are and stop this goofy hiding behind the curtain nonsense. Anyway.
First Period: The best part of the recent call-ups to Pittsburgh was that existing great role players were going to be given a chance to step into an even bigger role. The plan worked to perfection in the first period. In a word, a dominating period by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins. They won every battle and ran circles around a Phantoms team that either didn’t realize that they were playing in a game or looked totally and completely disinterested in engaging in the contest. Shots were 11-3 Penguins after one and Wilkes-Barre was ahead after one after this goal by Clark Seymour, the Penguins defenseman’s first goal in the AHL:
Second Period: More of the same for the Penguins. Nothing really going for the Phantoms offensively. The Penguins couldn’t get anything going either with a power play, but then the Penguins tried a dump in, Jason LaBarbera came out to play it, turned over to J-S Dea forechecking hard and this happened…
Lehigh Valley hit two posts in the sequences that followed. The Penguins continued their dominance, winning battles and getting passes and shots through. LaBarbera wasn’t good to this point, but he was the sole reason that the game was not 6-0.
Third Period: Penguins came out blazing to open the third period, beneficiaries of a carryover power play but did not score and were collectively 0-for-3 on the man advantage for the night. They later took a penalty, and had about three shorthanded chances and didn’t allow the Phantoms a single shot on Jarry on their power play.
Bryan Rust made it 3-0 when he finished off this nice tic tac toe for his first goal of the season…
Terrible first period by the Phantoms who fell behind 1-0, were outshot 11-3 in the first then matched the Penguins shot for shot the rest of the way for a cumulative total of 25-17.
Three Stars: 3) J-S Dea (goal, +2) 2) Clark Seymour (game winning goal, +1) and 1) Tristan Jarry (17 save shutout)
Around the Division: Portland beat Springfield 5-2. Everyone else in the division was off.
Standings: Penguins (.800 percentage points) — Hershey (.654) — Bridgeport (.607) — Portland (.521) — Providence (.500) — Lehigh Valley (.482) — Springfield (.462) — Hartford (.444)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were idle tonight. They were surpassed in the North Division lead by the Toledo Walleye this morning who beat the Indy Fuel at home in a kids game 5-1. The Nailers travel to Moline, IL to take on the Quad City Mallards for a doubleheader beginning Friday while the Walleye can extend the North Division lead even more Thursday in Brampton when they take on the Beast.
Here is your post game infographic…
The Phantoms may put together a highlight package or they may not. If I see it and can edit, it’ll go here.
One more thing before I go, both Seth and Tom confirmed on Twitter that Tom Sestito will get a new PTO.
Let’s Go Pens!