The Penguins will probably clinch a spot in the playoffs this week. They could have today with a win. They didn’t. They lose 5-3 to the Portland Pirates.
When they do, with the style of play that they have been exhibiting of recent, it doesn’t look like they will be in it for long.
Call ups. Injuries. Riding Tristan Jarry like a rented mule. No viable backup they trust. The beat goes on.
Hopefully the problem gets fixed and soon or else the Penguin will be looking at a very early exit out of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Dominik Simon – Dustin Jeffrey – Kael Mouillerat
Jake Guentzel – Jarrett Burton – Tom Kostopoulos
Mattias Plachta – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Adam Krause
Tim Erixon – Steve Oleksy
Will O’Neill – Barry Goers
Reid McNeill – Niclas Andersen
Tristan Jarry – Brian Foster
Lineup Notes: Jarrett Burton was in for Carter Rowney. Rowney is day to day with an upper body injury. He took warmups and was 50/50 to play and couldn’t. Head Coach Clark Donatelli shook up the lines a bit otherwise.
First Period: Had the feeling that if the Pens were going to reverse fortune from last night, they would need to strike first. That they did.
Tom Kostopoulos drove to the net and Brittain made the initial save. Jake Guentzel swiped home a rebound for his first goal as a professional.
Later, Dustin Jeffrey busted down the near side, threw a pick at the net that deflected off of a Pirate skate and into the net for a 2-0 Penguin lead.
That was Jeffrey’s 100th AHL goal.
Dylan Olsen cut the Penguins lead to one on a nice shot on the power play that made it 2-1 late in the first.
The Pens were the better team as played a better period. Shots after one were 9-5 Pens.
Second Period: Pens could score on a power play early on then could stop Portland from scoring on their second power play of the game when Connor Brickley finished off a tic tac toe play that tied it at two.
Pens would jump ahead when J-S Dea knocked one home on a nice rush by the Pens that made it 3-2.
Pirates weren’t going away. Brett Olson scored when he finished off a cross ice pass on a shot that bled through Jarry that re-tied the game at three a piece.
The game hit a dangerous lull. Neither team was standing out. Then Logan Shaw got in behind everyone and scored to make it 4-3 for the Pirates.
Was that the death knell in the game for the Pens?
Third Period: Yes. The Pens could not score on a power play to open the period and Portland extended it to 5-3 when Shane Harper finished yet another cross ice pass. The Pens defense was getting worked.
Wilkes-Barre had the majority of shots in the period but never could get anything past Brittain to make a game of it.
Three Stars: 3) Logan Shaw (goal, +1) 2) J-S Dea (goal, assist, +2) 1) Connor Brickley (goal, two assists, +1)
Around the Division: The Hershey Bears sew up a Calder Cup Playoff berth with a 2-1 overtime loss up in Providence. Springfield beat Bridgeport 3-1. Hartford and Lehigh Valley were idle.
Standings: Hershey (.643 percentage points) — Penguins (.621) — Providence (.607) — Portland (.593) — Bridgeport (.593) — Hartford (.550) — Lehigh Valley (.493) — Springfield (.414)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers lost to the Toledo Walleye 2-1 in overtime. Anton Zlobin had the only goal for the Nailers in the loss.
Coal Street infographic…
I’ll have an update to my charts tonight and the Week 26 AHL Power Rankings Monday at 4.
Let’s Go Pens!