Dustin Jeffrey’s goal and two assists was what the Penguins needed to hold off a pesky Springfield Falcons team 4-3 on a Tuesday night home game in Wilkes-Barre.
It’s the type of game that probably eludes the Penguins two months ago with the lack of a dynamic playmaker like Jeffrey. Springfield has nothing left to play for but they came in and put up a heck of a fight against a Penguins team that has been elite pretty much all season.
Tristan Jarry, making his eighth straight start, opposed Marek Langhamer
Dominik Simon – Dustin Jeffrey – Adam Krause
Mattias Plachta – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Josh Archibald – Kael Mouillierat – J-S Dea
Tom Sestito – Oskar Sundqvist – Jarrett Burton
Tim Erixon – Steve Oleksy
Will O’Neill – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
Tristan Jarry – Franky Palazzese
Lineup notes: Teddy Blueger and Jake Guentzel were given the night off as Oskar Sundqvist and Jarrett Burton replaced them in the lineup. Reid McNeill was back and took the place of Harrison Ruopp.
First Period: Took the Pens about 90 seconds to get going, Steve Oleksy found Dustin Jeffrey skating down the slot and Jeffrey scored five hole on his old team to put the Pens up 1-0.
Springfield got one back when Dominik Monardo parked himself in the driveway of Jarry’s crease and waited when Greg Carey put a shot in from along the far wall. Jarry made the initial save with the pad but Monardo swept it in to even the game at one.
Minutes later, Jeffrey and Dominik Simon worked a little give and go when and Simon tapped it in to restore the Penguin lead.
Speedy period. Both teams were quick.
Second Period: :58 in, Greg Cunningham put a shot on Jarry that seemed harmless but it got by the Penguins goaltender that tied the game.
The Pens answered when the Falcons scored in the first and they did again in the second. This time, Nic Andersen had his shot blocked but still had enough on it to get it by Langhamer which made it 3-2 Pens.
Both teams had chances via power play to capitalize but neither was able to. The Pens on back to back power plays and the Falcons with 1:01 of two man advantage.
A big scrum ensued at the end of the second period. Justin Hache and Steve Oleksy fought. Josh Archibald jumped into a pile of bodies.
Third Period: The Penguins finally capitalized on the man advantage when Tom Sestito deflected a Will O’Neill shot from the point that went in to make it 4-2 Penguins.
Falcons were spilling turnovers all over the place as the Penguins forechecked extremely hard. But, with less than a minute to play with Langhamer pulled got back to within one with a goal by Greg Carey that made it 4-3 with 54.4 seconds to play.
But with time dwindling and with Langhamer pulled, Springfield was unable to find the equalizer.
Three Stars: 3) Will O’Neill (two assists, even) 2) Dominik Simon (goal, assist, even) and 1) Dustin Jeffrey (goal, two assists, even)
The news of the day was that Pittsburgh signed defenseman Ethan Prow to a two-year deal that kicks in for 2016-17. He is headed to Wilkes-Barre on an Amateur Tryout Contract. Jonathan had some words on him here and Jesse Marshall from Pensblog broke it down here. Marshall is excited about the signing, given the fact that the majority of assets that Pittsburgh had were all traded away at some point or already in the system. Depending on when he gets here and how he practices, I’d expect Prow to see game action fairly soon.
Around the Division: Bridgeport beat Portland in a morning kids day game by a score of 5-2….the only other game in the division was Hartford visiting Albany a game that the Wolf Pack lost 3-0. Box here. Everyone else was off.
The Magic Number to clinch is 4 on account of the Hartford loss and the fact that the Pens own a tiebreaker over them. Conceivably, Wilkes-Barre can lock up its fourteenth consecutive trip to the playoffs this weekend.
Standings: Hershey (.649 percentage points) — Penguins (.640) — Providence (.612) — Bridgeport (.596) — Portland (.575) — Hartford (.551) — Lehigh Valley (.478) — Springfield (.403)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.
Coal Street infographic:
Pens are off Friday, next game Saturday at home against Bridgeport.
Let’s Go Pens!