Regular season accomplishments are fine and all, but when the playoffs start, all of the regular season accomplishments, records and what have you don’t mean a thing. Playoffs are their own animal.
For the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, they started the animal in the eye tonight, and it blinked.
A Carter Rowney overtime goal at 1:09 is enough to give the Penguins a 1-0 series lead and a 3-2 overtime win tonight.
The Penguins still need to win at least a game in Providence. Games 3 and 4 are there and if there is a Game 5 it is in Rhode Island as well.
Even if the Penguins would have lost this game tonight, they were only one or two adjustments away from completely turning the series around. Now that they have the series lead, they can really focus on putting the Bruins down for good when the series restarts for Game 2 Thursday.
It was Casey DeSmith vs. Jeremy Smith tonight in goal.
Kael Mouillierat – Dustin Jeffrey – Dominik Simon
Jake Guentzel – Carter Rowney – Tom Kostopoulos
Mattias Plachta – J-S Dea – Josh Archibald
Tom Sestito – Teddy Blueger – Daniel Sprong
Niclas Andersen – Steve Oleksy
Ryan Parent – Barry Goers
Tim Erixon – Will O’Neill
Casey DeSmith – Tristan Jarry
Lineup Notes: Patrick McGrath took warmups but was scratched. Tristan Jarry was reassigned by Pittsburgh in the morning and was the backup tonight and is pegged as the Game 2 starter.
First Period: Pens set the tone early getting the first four shots of the period. Providence quickly caught up on the shot board but DeSmith was up to the challenge. Much like Saturday the physicality and hitting was dialed up with the Pens dishing out the majority of the blows.
Carter Rowney won a face off to Will O’Neill. O’Neill put it towards goal and Jake Guentzel got a stick on it and it was 1-0 Pens.
It was the perfect reward for the Penguins who matched Providence’s speed. DeSmith played a solid 20 minutes with some tough saves.
Question was, could the intensity be sustained?
Second Period: The second period started out very well for the Penguins. :18 in, Dustin Jeffrey knocked one past Jeremy Smith to double the Penguins lead.
Casey DeSmith continued his sorcery in net denying Max Talbot twice in quick fashion.
But Providence is too stacked of a team to go one, no less two periods without scoring. The Pens were caught in a miscommunication and Seth Griffith knocked one in far post for an easy tap in and the Bruins were dangerously back within one.
The final five minutes were crucial here for the Penguins to either re-establish the two goal lead or take it to the break as it was and not get scored on again. They escaped up 2-1 heading into the…
Third Period: Penguins played well, but got bit on a shorthanded goal by Colby Cave that tied the game at two:
The Bruins were trying to slow the game down and it worked. They were looking for their spot and found it when Cave scored shorthanded. Again, the Pens played well, but could not muster another one past Smith and it was heading to…
Overtime: Carter Rowney.
Pens chipped a puck in deep. Tom Kostopoulos got to it, centered to Rowmey who knocked it in. I don’t think Providence touched the puck once in the overtime only just to knock it out of their zone.
Three Stars: 3) Casey DeSmith (31 saves on 33 shots) 2) Dustin Jeffrey (goal, even) 1) Carter Rowney (overtime game winning goal, assist, +1)
I do not think that there is any doubt that Clark Donatelli goes to Tristan Jarry for Game 2. Casey DeSmith did what he was supposed to do, stop pucks while the starting guy was on recall to Pittsburgh. He did a fine job of it and if Jarry were to fall ill or get recalled back to Pittsburgh at some point down the line I have the full faith in his abilities. But Pittsburgh wants Jarry to get the playoff experience and that is what they will get.
Expect Providence’s best Thursday. They did not play a great overall game and at times were frustrated by the Penguins physicality. Expect them to crank it up looking to even the series up heading back to Rhode Island Saturday for Game 3.
Gameday for Game 2 hits the blog Thursday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!