Look at this game, a 2-1 Pens loss to the Hershey Bears, this way. When you don’t have anything left to play for (Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference Championships are already the Penguins) it’s hard to get motivated.
Think of it this way. You work at a widget factory. You are only given 110 widgets to make in an eight hour day. You can’t make any more, you can’t make any less. You have to make 110.
Well, the Penguins just made their 110th widget and the clock still reads 3:30 in the afternoon when they knock off at 5.
The Penguins, with little to play for in their final three games, lost Wednesday in a shootout to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and tonight to the Hershey Bears 2-1. Each winning team clinched a playoff spot. Four teams in the Atlantic have to make it, the Penguins just happened to play two that hadn’t yet.
Penguins turned it on in the third period on a power play goal by Tim Erixon, but :27 later the Bears scored again.
Providence clinched tonight as well, locking Bridgeport out after the Sound Tigers got smoked 7-0 at home against the Springfield Thunderbirds. The Bruins travel to Hershey Saturday with the winner heading to Allentown to open against the Phantoms and the loser heading to Wilkes-Barre to take on the Penguins next weekend in in the Atlantic Division Semifinals.
Casey DeSmith opposed Pheonix Copley.
Zach Aston-Reese – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Ryan Haggerty
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Troy Josephs – Jarrett Burton – Adam Krause
Derrick Pouliot – Frank Corrado
Brett Stern – David Warsofsky
Tim Erixon – Jeff Taylor
Casey DeSmith – Sean Maguire
Lineup Notes: Two changes from Wednesday, Adam Krause for Patrick McGrath and Brett Stern for Ethan Prow.
First Period: Pens with a season low one shot on goal. Bears had seven with one power play. That was it.
Second Period: Chris Bourque centered a pass from behind the goal line to Jakub Vrana who scored to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. There were more goal posts hit in this game then there were goals, Bears had four by my count and the Pens had three.
Third Period: Penguins were guilty of making way too many extra passes tonight. They started to turn up the heat on the Bears and forced them into taking a puck over glass delay of game. On the ensuing power play, the Penguins only of the game, Tim Erixon scored to make it a tie game at one…
Off the face-off and :27 later, Christian Djoos scored to make it 2-1 Bears. Penguins thought hey had the light switch fully on, but just as quick the Bears came in and quickly shut the light off.
With DeSmith pulled for the extra attacker, the Penguins were never able to find the equalizer.
Three Stars: 3) Tim Erixon (goal, -1) 2) Pheonix Copley (22 saves on 23 shots) and 1) Christian Djoos (game winning goal, +1)
Around the Division: Already gave you the 7-0 Springfield pasting that they laid on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers…Providence was up 4-1 to start the third against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Allentown, but the Phantoms scored three unanswered to tie it and Corban Knight scored :48 into overtime to win it. Phantoms win 5-4 in overtime….Utica keeps its playoff hopes alive with a 5-4 win at home against the Hartford Wolf Pack.
Standings: Penguins (.700 percentage points) — Lehigh Valley (.660) — Providence (.640) — Hershey (.633) — Bridgeport (.613) — Springfield (.487) — Hartford (.360)
Here is the Penguins Kilpatrick Trophy clinching scenarios, which is basically the regular season championship and ensures home ice in the Calder Cup Playoffs…
Pens win against Bridgeport, they still need help in the form of the Barracuda not getting two points tomorrow. I’ll probably have something on this either late Saturday or Sunday morning, depending on how thing shake out tomorrow.
Gameday for the final game of the regular season hist the blog Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!