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Countdown to Opening Night
Penguins vs. CheckersOctober 7th, 2017
14 days to go.
A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
So far in this series, there has been one turning point. That was when Liam O’Brien charged Dominik Simon in Game 1 earning O’Brien a game suspension and concussing Simon to a point to where he has yet to play in a game since.
The Penguins offense has not been the same. Shutout in a close Game 2 Friday then blown away Saturday night in Game 3 by a score of 5-2.
There could be another turning point. The luster of Casey DeSmith got smudged up a bit in this game and he was pulled in favor of Tristan Jarry in the third period after the Bears had just scored their fifth goal. I tweeted this at the time…
It remains to be seen who comes out of the tunnel first for the Penguin in Game 4, but you’d be hard pressed if you are Clark Donatelli to turn back to Casey DeSmith when you are trailing in a series down by a game when the opposition has all the momentum with the next game in their house where you haven’t performed well in the postseason. Jarry got this ship to the playoffs, DeSmith got the Penguins this far but Jarry is rested and ready to go. You have to go with Tristan Jarry as your Game 4 starter.
The only lineup changes for the Penguins tonight were Tyler Biggs for Sahir Gill and Niclas Anderson for Ryan Parent.
First Period: Penguins got out of the gate hot, but didn’t score. Pens controlled much of the penalty filled period, but it was the Bears going on the board first when the Penguins couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone. Dustin Gazley scored on the backhand and it was 1-0 Bears.
Seth with a different perspective on my, “turning point of the series” angle so far.
Second Period: Turning point of this game was a power play that the Penguins had where the puck never cleared the zone and Wilkes-Barre spent the whole 2:00 in with Garrett Mitchell skating without a stick. Bears killed it all.
Then the Pens took a penalty. A face-off win back to the wrong man, Chris Bourque, and it was 2-0 Bears.
1:36 later, Jakub Varna scored to make it 3-0 Bears. Easy tap in for a goal. Wilkes-Barre got careless after the Bourque goal and it cost them big.
Said this at the time…
Some intermission points and analysis. If you have the answer, leave it in the comments.
Third Period: Chris Bourque fired a changeup at DeSmith on a rush and it went in for a 4-0 Bears lead. Then Nic Andersen finally broke the curse of another team not being able to score in the same game in this series and the Pens were on the board…
But the air that was slowly filling in the Penguins balloon was quickly charged out by Liam O’Brien who scored that made it 5-1. Soft goal to allow by DeSmith and that was all for him. Enter Tristan Jarry who didn’t allow another Bears goal. Jake Guentzel scored this goal on a five-on-three power play that made it 5-2 but the Penguins didn’t get closer…
Had friend of mine tweet me on Twitter and comment that perhaps Justin Peters’ NHL experience is starting to wear through. Hard to disagree with him. But for the last half of this game, the Penguins have played like the better team in the series but just have been snuffed out by Peters in big moments.
Remainder of the game devolved into a fight fest. If you want to see who got into what, look at the boxscore. I was too in awe at the time of the news of this…
Three Stars: 3) Jake Guentzel (goal, assist, -1) 2) Chandler Stephenson (three assists, +2) and 1) Chris Bourque (two goals, +1)
So the Penguins are down 2-1 in the best of seven series with Game 4 going Monday. It’s an understatement in saying that the Penguins need to win that game to get it to a Game 6 Friday back in Wilkes-Barre. One team was due for a game like this in a series where the teams are so evenly matched and are bitter rivals in the process. The first team that got caught on the bad end was the Penguins. Whether it happens to the Bears remains to be seen, if it even gets to that point. With each game meaning more, it probably won’t, so who knows.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were pushed to the brink of elimination in Game 5 of the Kelly Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 3-1 loss in Reading to the Royals. Clark Seymour scored the only goal for the Nailers in the loss as the series shifts back to West Virginia for Game 6 on Monday.
If the Pens run a video package I’ll edit those highlights in.
I’ll have an update to my charts sometime Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day to any moms that read the blog, including my own, from her basement.
Let’s Go Pens!
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