It seemed like a walk in a park tonight.
I guess you could say that when the opponent gives you 11 power play chances and you cash on three of them and your goaltender, playing to stick around plays lights out. Such was the case Thursday night in Cleveland.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins were in Cleveland for the first time in a decade and defeated the previously undefeated coming in Cleveland Monsters 3-0. The Penguins scored all three goals on the power play.
Let me type that out again, on its own paragraph.
The Penguins scored all three goals on the power play.
Oh, it’s true.
At even strength, it seemed like there was a talent gap. I was a bit worried coming into the contest tonight as anyone would be going against a 3-0 team when you team just played open game on opening weekend. The Monsters swept the Rockford IceHogs last weekend and dismantled the defending Calder Cup Champion Toronto Marlies on Monday. It’s not a team we have seen at all of recent, so the unknown is always there.
Wilkes-Barre outshot the Monsters 18-12 and were up 1-0 after the first period. It was a message sent by Clark Donatelli’s crew that they were going to take hold of the game early and never look back.
Anthony Peters really wasn’t tested. He made some good saves, but any goaltender at this level could make the saves he made. I am not discounting his shutout performance (28 saves) by any stretch, but the five guys playing ahead of him made it easy for him.
These two teams rematch Saturday night.
The aforementioned Anthony Peters opposed J-F Berube.
That’s the easiest thing I have ever done on the blog. If the person responsible for the creation of that tweet reads this blog, please let this be a normal thing. It’s such a timesaver.
Lineup Notes: No changes from opening night. Derek Grant cleared waivers at noon today and Pittsburgh sent him here and recalled Tristan Jarry on an emergency basis. Matt Murray did take an optional skate today, but was ruled out of tonight’s matchup in Pittsburgh against Vegas.
First Period: Penguins gave up a 3×5 shorthanded chance to Zac Dalpe, but Garrett Wilson finally broke through on the power play on a deflection of a shot by ex-Monster Stefan Elliott…
The Penguins had a ton of offensive zone time in the first period but Berube withstood the offensive onslaught. Anthony Peters was not tested but for one power play for the Monsters.
Second Period: Anthony Peters had a few big stops in this frame. Taylor caught one…
…this was on a Cleveland power play.
Penguins extend their lead to two with this power play goal by Sam Lafferty…
Penguins actually looked good on the power play to this point, and the Monsters parade to the box continued. Pens peppered Berube with shots and at the other end of the ice Peters was stopping everything sent his way.
Third Period: Monsters could not stop taking penalties. Anthony Angello scored to make it three power play goals on the night for Wilkes-Barre with this goal….
With about four minutes remaining in regulation, Monsters coach John Madden decided to pull Berube, but it didn’t matter, Cleveland continued to take penalties. The Penguins didn’t hit the empty net, but they didn’t allow the Monsters to score to bust up the Peters shutout.
Around the Division: They, along with the entire AHL, watched us.
Standings: Charlotte, Wilkes-Barre and Hartford with 4 points each, Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport with 2, Springfield with 1 and Providence and Hershey with 0.
Wheeling Update: The Nailers open their regular season on the road Saturday in Norfolk.
No game tomorrow, if there are any news or notes I will have something here. If not, check out the Gameday setup for the rematch between these two teams Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!