With half of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins normal roster either injured or on call-up to Pittsburgh, the Penguins needed a big game from a role player tonight.
They got that in the form of Anton Zlobin tonight, on recall from Wheeling this morning. Zlobin’s performance was supplemented by none other than Carter Rowney and the Penguins beat the Springfield Falcons in overtime in a late nail biter on a power play goal by a score of 4-3.
The game plan tonight was ride a strong performance by Matt Murray in goal and get scoring from somewhere, anywhere, and hope for the best. 42 saves on 45 shots by Murray tonight and the third line of Zlobin, Rowney and Tom Kostopoulos were a combined +6 tonight.
It was Matt Murray vs. Niklas Treutle.
Friday morning, the Penguins called up two and signed one. Up from Wheeling were Anton Zlobin, Patrick McGrath and Derek Army. Army was signed to a professional tryout agreement.
Ty Loney – Kael Mouillierat – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
Anton Zlobin – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
John McCarron – Matia Marcantuoni – Patrick McGrath
Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Ryan Parent – Niclas Andersen
Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: Ryan Parent was making his Wilkes-Barre season debut. He last appeared in two games for the Pens in playoffs last season. Harrison Ruopp and Clark Seymour were the healthy scratches as was Brian Foster. Tyler Biggs, Barry Goers and Dominik Uher (week to week) along with Sahir Gill and Dominik Simon (day to day) were the injury scratches.
First Period: Penguins needed a quick start to set the tone and the pace and got it, twenty seconds in, when Steve Oleksy scored his first of the season with Tom Kostopouls providing interference in front:
I thought at the time that Tom Kostopoulos scored that goal, but the house scored it and kept it Oleksy’s.
The next part of the game plan was take advantage when the opponent gives you a power play opportunity. With half of the firepower in Pittsburgh, Clark Donatelli has been improvising recently with Tom Sestito parked in front of the crease on the power play.
Nifty redirection by Sestito there.
Springfield would outshoot the Penguins 12-8 in the period thanks in large part to being on the power play three consecutive times to close out the period but the Penguins penalty killing led by Matt Murray kept them off the scoresheet.
Patrick McGrath and Stefan Fournier fought to close out the period in what Mike O’Brien called on radio, “one of the best fights we have seen all year.”
Second Period: Matia Marcantuoni was injured in the first period and did not come out for the second so the Penguins skated a forward short and may need to dress seven defensemen tomorrow against Bridgeport.
Niklas Treutle settled into the game nicely and denied Tom Sestito on a mini breakaway. Sestito tried to go five hole but was stopped. Tretule then stopped Anton Zlobin on a mini break also. It was clear that the Falcons netminder was settling into the game.
Springfield continued to press and finally got a goal when Steve Delisle threw a puck at Murray from the far wall and past him to cut the lead to one. The Falcons continued to press and Murray was needed to make some more big time saves. Reid McNeill blocked a shot in an unprotected area of the leg and went of the ice into the locker room with assistance.
Here is video if it in slow motion:
Third Period: But a shot off of a leg / ankle wasn’t going to faze McNeill, as he would return to the ice and assisted on this goal by Zlobin which made it 3-1 Penguins just :28 into the period…
It was Zlobin’s first goal in the AHL since March 14, 2014 when he scored against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
But the Falcons continued to press with loads of time left in the period and eventually tied it.
— Greg Carey cashed in on rebound left by Matt Murray on a Philip Samuelsson shot that made it 3-2 on a power play.
— Carey then struck when the Penguins won a defensive zone face-off, tried to clear but Carey put a shot on net that may have deflected off of Steve Oleksy and in that tied the game:
Pens got a power play but couldn’t cash on it. Mike O’Brien succinctly noted that the last place Falcons were playing with nothing to lose and the depleted, first place Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were playing and looking tense.
Corey Potter dumped a puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. Will O’Neill hit the post on the ensuing late power play but the teams headed to overtime tied 3-3.
Overtime: Pens won a faceoff, got it in the offensive zone and moved the puck around and, well…see for yourself…
So ends the four game losing streak that the Penguins were on coming in. So ends the four game losing streak that Matt Murray was on.
Three Stars: 3) Anton Zlobin (goal, assist, +2) 2) Tim Erixon (assist) 1) Greg Carey two goals, +2)
No idea on those selections. Carter Rowney was 1-2-3. Matt Murray made 42 saves, a career high for him.
Around the Division: Hershey continues its tear with a 6-2 thrashing of the Binghmaton Senators on the Southern Tier. After a scoreless first, the Bears scored six times on eight shots to win….Bridgeport battles through a Danick Martel hat trick to overcome the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by a score of 6-3…The Hartford Wolf Pack continue their tear, beating All-Star goaltender Mike McKenna and his Portland Pirates by a score of 5-0 and Albany overcomes a loaded Providence team 4-3 in a shootout.
Standings: Penguins (.689 percentage points) — Hershey (.628) — Portland (.602) — Providence (.556) — Bridgeport (.554) — Hartford (.543) — Lehigh Valley (.500) — Springfield (.444)
Wheeling Update: Good on the Wheeling Nailers, who have been pillaged on the low end of all of these call-ups, on beating the Reading Royals 3-2 tonight on the road. Casey DeSmith stopped 24 of 26.
Pens bus back home for a Saturday night game against Bridgeport. Gameday setup for this will hit the blog Saturdsay at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!