Every coach draws up a game plan pregame with a formula to beat the opponent. Happens in every sport.
For the Penguins opponents, its simple, force them into penalties.
Lehigh Valley went 1-7 on the power play tonight, the Penguins went 0-1.
Now were referees Pierre MacDougall and Pierre Lambert the reasons the Penguins lost this game 3-0 tonight to Lehigh Valley? Hardly. The Penguins played from behind from the opening moments and weren’t able to convert any offense in front of Alex Lyon and, coupled with having to kill penalties seemingly every five minutes, lost the game.
Lazy legging lines again because the common theme on this blog is that I do not like games where I have to get up the next morning for my real job. So here they are…
Tristan Jarry started and was opposed by Alex Lyon and was backed up by Casey DeSmith.
Lineup Notes: Derrick Pouliot was sent down from Pittsburgh earlier in the day as the Penguins recalled Tom Sestito and Cameron Gaunce for insurance on their Western Canada trip. Patrick McGrath took warmups but was scratched. Thomas DiPauli was back in the lineup after being a precautionary scratch Sunday in Hartford. Christian Hilbrich was recalled from Wheeling Tuesday and was in the lineup on the fourth line.
First Period: Lehigh Valley jumped all over the Penguins and used that hot start to jump out to a 1-0 lead when Ryan Haggerty wasn’t able to clear the zone and Chris McCarthy scored his first of the season to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead.
Pens seemed to settle after that. They played the period better shorthanded where they found themselves twice, and didn’t allow the Phantoms a shot on goal. Shots after one were 11-8 Wilkes-Barre.
Second Period: No scoring this period. Kevin Porter was stopped for the second time in the game on a breakaway. Wilkes-Barre continued to find themselves in penalty trouble but were able to manage to get away unscathed. Wilkes-Barre finally got a power play but weren’t able to score.
Third Period: Penguins were still desperately searching for a goal and staying in lockstep with the Phantoms on the shot board but it was Colin McDonald shooting one past Jarry at 12:02 through a screen that doubled Lehigh Valley’s lead and seemingly was the death knell for the Penguins chances in the game.
For good measure, Mark Zengerle poked one in far post in a scramble in front of Jarry that made it 3-0. Colin McDonald put the shot on net and Zengerle corralled the rebound and pushed it in.
Three Stars: Colin McDonald (goal, assist, +1) 2) Chris McCarthy (goal, +1) 1) Alex Lyon (31 save shutout, his fourth)
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Penguins (.686 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.664) — Providence (.653) — Bridgeport (.647) — Hershey (.619) — Springfield (.466) — Hartford (.405)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off as they prepare for a big weekend of games against Quad City twice and Toledo on Sunday.
If there are video highlights, look for them in a later edit.
Let’s Go Pens!