Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Coming Up Aces — Pens WIN 3-0

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A lot of things to get to so let’s not waste time.

The Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot to the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs is two after a Hershey regulation loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers which drops the Bears out of a playoff spot by open point.

The Magic Number for home ice for the first round of the playoffs (essentially a finish of no worse than second) is 6.

The Magic Number for the Atlantic Division Championship is 7. I don’t know what the magic number for the Eastern Conference Championship is, but since the North Division is a numbers fire, it’s probably 7.

Casey DeSmith picked up his first regulation shutout of his career with a 26 save shutout of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tonight.

Frank Corrado and Troy Josephs scored their first goals for the Penguins. For Josephs, it is his first professional goal. Derrick Pouliot scored a third period goal that put it away for the Penguins, who beat the Phantoms 3-0 to go seven clear of the Phantoms and second place in the division.

Points, second on fifth in case you are wondering, cannot be tighter.

Penguins have a shutout streak of 155:38 over Lehigh Valley going back to Jarry’s shutout of the Phantoms and DeSmith’s tonight. The penalty kill is 14/14 during this time as well.

That should about cover it. As for the game, the Penguins and Phantoms went after each other hot and heavy in the first period with every stoppage leading to pushing and shoving. I thought that referees Evgenii Romasko and Micheal Mullen were outstanding tonight in controlling a powder keg situation. There is a time to call penalties and a time to let things sort themselves out. Running a guy for looking at a guy wrong in a game that has huge implications for both isn’t the best way to officiate in my opinion. These two did a great job of controlling a situation which looked out of hand, but was in fact, under control.

Frank Corrado scored his first for Wilkes-Barre on a shot by Dominik Simon which went over Lehigh Valley Phantoms starting goaltender Alex Lyon and sat in the crease. Corrado swooped in and poked it across to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead….

Penguins would extend the lead to 2-0 after a long offensive shift hemming the Phantoms deep in their own zone. David Warsofsky put one on net that Troy Josephs deflected in for his first professional goal…

DeSmith made a skate save on Greg Carey to preserve the two goal lead and his shutout bid….

Chris Conner had two chances on breakaway to bring the Phantoms back within one. On his first attempt he shot it into the chest of DeSmith and on his second he put the shot wide.

Derrick Pouliot would connect on a rocket that has Lyon screened which made it 3-0…

DeSmith never had to make a tough save after that and Lehigh Valley put up the white flag replacing Lyon with Martin Ouellette.

Lineup wise, Josh Archibald was recalled to Pittsburgh earlier in the day when word came out that Chris Kunitz is down with a lower body injury. Garrett Wilson had the night off and will play tomorrow. Ethan Prow was in for Jeff Taylor on the blueline. Troy Josephs and Adam Krause were in for the recalled Archibald and Wilson who was held out as he’s just coming back from injury.

Three stars were Dominik Simon with two assists, Frank Corrado with a goal and an assist and Casey DeSmith with a 26 save shutout.

Around the Division: Bridgeport beats Hershey 4-2 to move into fourth place in the Atlantic. The Sound Tigers are off tomorrow as the Bears host the Phantoms. Springfield beats Providence 3-2. Hartford was defeated by Albany 4-3.

Standings: Penguins (.703 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.652) — Providence (.645) — Bridgeport (.629) — Hershey (.621) — Springfield (.493) — Hartford (.377)

Wheeling Update: Nailers were off. They host Reading tomorrow at 5:05.

Video highlights…

Win and you’re in. Pens can punch a postseason ticket Sunday at 3 against Utica. Gameday setup hits the blog Sunday at 11.

Let’s Go Pens!

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