Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth. — Mike Tyson
For the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, the plan was working in the first two periods.
But the Toronto Marlies largely kept their hands in their pockets.
A four goal barrage by the Marlies in a span of 15:28 in the third period sees the Toronto Marlies defeat the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins by a score of 4-2.
The Toronto Marlies are a complete team. Yeah, the Penguins have been hit severely by the injury bug, but so have the Marlies of recent. This was a heavyweight battle between the two best teams in the American Hockey League.
Toronto dominated a scoreless first period. Wilkes-Barre dominated the second period and scored two goals in a span of :47. Toronto took over in the third period and hooked in and ran away with things.
It was Matt Murray vs. Antoine Bibeau in goal.
I don’t run ads on my blog. I pay WordPress to keep it that way, so consider this a commercial break as you jump through if you didn’t link in direct because I am going again with the visual eye candy tonight in the post game recap with amateurish video highlights.
Josh Archibald – Kael Mouillierat – Dominik Simon
Sahir Gill – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Sestito – J-S Dea – Derek Army
Anton Zlobin – Jarrett Burton – Tyler Biggs
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Niclas Andersen – Harrison Ruopp
Reid McNeill – Steve Oleksy
Matt Murray – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: John McCarron, Patrick McGrath and Ryan Parent were the healthy scratches. Of note, Clark Seymour and Ty Loney were sent to Wheeling midweek. Matia Marcantuoni, Dominik Uher and Barry Goers were the injured scratches. Uher had season ending shoulder surgery this week and Goers and Marcantuoni are on the trip and close. Both are projected back by March, if not sooner.
First Period: Matt Murray had a few big saves early on and this was the preface to the way that the period would be told. Both teams held nothing back and were back and forth in the beginning of the period. Tom Kostopoulos and Sahir Gill worked this nice give and go after the Penguins captain picked off a Marlie in the neutral zone.
Matt Murray would be pressed into many saves in the period, Toronto is a team that can shoot the puck from everywhere. Here is one of the 19 saves he made in the period off a set Toronto face-off play.
Marlies started to set up offensive zone time. Penguins had a few two on one’s but couldn’t cash. Toronto went to the only power play in the first period but the top road penalty killing unit of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were successful.
Second Period: Penguins made the appropriate adjustments coming into the second period, and started to take control of the game.
– They only allowed the Marlies six shots in the period. Make no mistake, the saves that Matt Murray made in the period were all Grade A.
– They scored twice in :47. Anton Zlobin punched a Tom Kostopoulos initial shot through the pads of Bibeau and in for a 1-0 Penguins lead…
The Pens have the AHL’s best road power play.
Then Kael Mouillierat made it 2-0 on this rocket:
Mouillierat nearly had his second of the period, but Bibeau made a really nice save:
Second Period Notes: Anton Zlobin is 3-2-5 in his last 6 games for the Penguins…Kael Mouillierat notched his fourth multi-point game in his last nine games, his seventh multi-point game overall.
Third Period: It took just :34, but the Marlies finally drew blood.
This T.J. Brennan shot from the blue line with Zach Hyman screening in front of Murray.
Despite the Penguins going on a power play and Matt Murray seemingly still being dialed in with this save on Brett Findlay….
….the floodgates were officially opened.
Connor Brown on a power play:
Pens go on but can’t score on a power play, then get caught in a bad line change and William Nylander makes it 3-2:
Mike O’Brien summed the period to date up nicely. The Penguins were getting many opportunities but none of those opportunities were finding their way to Antoine Bibeau.
It was mentioned on the broadcast that the Marlies had a total of 76 third period goals.
Here was 77:
It ended as four, but you get the point.
That must be bad, cause it ain’t good.
So yeah, good luck Eastern Conference.
Three Stars: 3) Connor Brown (goal, -1) 2) William Nylander (goal, assist, +2) 1) Zach Hyman (three assists, +3)
Around the Division: There will be no games in hand lost or gained with the top four of Wilkes-Barre, Hershey, Portland or Providence. Each team only plays twice this weekend. Lehigh Valley beat Springfield 2-1 in Allentown tonight and Rochester beat Portland in overtime by the same 2-1 score. The Bears, Bruins, Wolf Pack and Sound Tigers were all off tonight.
Standings: Penguins (.667 percentage points) — Hershey (.635) — Portland (.600) — Providence (.580) — (Bridgeport (.578) — Hartford (.529) — Lehigh Valley (.490) — Springfield (.450)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers beat the Brampton Beast on the road by a score of 4-2. Riley Brace had two goals.
Pens are off Saturday before they take on the Rochester Americans Sunday at 5:05. Rochester will be playing its third game in three days. They are in Syracuse Saturday night.
Gameday setup for that contest will be up Sunday at 1.
Let’s Go Pens!