Chirps from Center Ice

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

Penguins on the Brink — Pens LOSE 4-2

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Bounces, bounces, bounces.

If you have read this blog long enough, you know that I always look to seek out the positive in all the negative. All tonight, a 4-2 Penguins loss in Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals which forces a Game 5 Sunday afternoon at 3:05 against the Providence Bruins, it was a game of bounces.

First period. Tim Erixon attempts a pass to Teddy Blueger in front of Casey DeSmith’s crease, Blueger mishandles the puck and spills it right to Wayne Simpson who scores 1:15 into the game.

Then you are chasing. When you chase you get desperate. When you get desperate you make mistakes.

Too many men on the Penguins at 5:01. Providence power play.

Penguins kill it. But then Oskar Sundqvist takes a tripping call. The Bruins player he tripped may have oversold a bit, but it’s a penalty nonetheless.

Bruins cash this time. Colton Hargrove sweeps home a puck laying in front of DeSmth to make it a 2-0 lead. Did Kevin Porter push the puck across erroneously? Hard to tell on the one replay I saw.

Penguins start to push, Derrick Pouliot takes a hard snapshot which is blocked, he is caught flatfooted and an odd man rush ensues and Jake DeBrusk scores on a nice goal that puts Wilkes-Barre in a deep, 3-0 hole that they, despite a push at the end, were never able to dig out of.

Bounces, bounces, bounces. Did it start at the turnover in the games first two minutes? Or did it come from the face that the Penguins, who were 2-for-5 on the power play the night prior in Game 3, go 0-for-6.

Nevertheless, Game 5 for all the marbled goes Sunday at 3:05.

Casey DeSmith opposed Zane McIntyre.

Lines were…

Tom Sestito – Kevin Porter – Tom Kostopoulos
Garrett Wilson – Oskar Sundqvist – Josh Archibald
Dominik Simon – Teddy Blueger – J-S Dea
Troy Josephs – Sahir Gill – Jarrett Burton

David Warsofsky – Tim Erixon
Derrick Pouliot – Barry Goers
Cameron Gaunce – Ethan Prow

Casey DeSmith – Sean Maguire

Lineup Notes: Two for the Penguins. Adam Krause and Ryan Haggerty out for Troy Josephs and Sahir Gill. Before you point fingers, the fourth line was the only line which was even this evening. Providence made four changes. Three guys were banged up. From Mark Divver from The Providence Journal Rob O’Gara (lower body), Ben Marshall (upper body) and Peter Mueller (facial injury) were out for Chris Casto and Linus Arnesson on defense and Colton Hargrove and Ryan Fitzgerald up front. New guy Zach Senyshyn played last night but was scratched for the Bruins.

First Period: Described above, Penguins found themselves in a 3-0 hole after one period of play. I said in my Gameday setup that the Bruins would play fast and loose and it was the Penguins that were playing loose and tried to win the game in the third period with time running out fast.

Second Period: Penguins had two cracks at back to back penalties but couldn’t push noting across nor get a decent setup to cut the deficit to two.

Instead, a Tommy Cross shot was deflected in by Jake DeBrusk for his second of the game for a 4-0 lead. This goal will not stand up as the game winner, but it’s a different story in the third period if it’s 3-2 instead of 4-2.

Teddy Blueger atoned for his turnover in the first with a goal after Dominik Simon forced a turnover that made it 4-1.

But Jarrett Burton took his second penalty of the period and that ended up being a momentum crusher.

Third Period: Penguins continued to push, pulled one back on an Ethan Prow deflection of a Cameron Gaunce shot that made it 4-2. Providence took a penalty right after that but the Penguins could not score on the power play to make it 4-3 and after a timeout with DeSmith pulled, were never able to get another goal.

Three Stars: 3) Dominik Simon (two assists, +1) 2) Colton Hargrove (goal, -1) 1) Jake DeBrusk (two goals, +2)

Hard to disagree. Hungry players stepped up for a team in desperate need of a win.

Prepare your sphincters appropriately.

Around the Conference: Lehigh Valley and Hershey play Game 4 Saturday. Syracuse eliminates St. John’s in Game 4 in overtime 2-1. Toronto beats Albany in triple overtime 2-1 on a shot by Justin Holl that eliminates the Albany Devils in four games.

Video highlights…

Next blog post will be the Gameday setup at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Let’s Go Pens!

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