Chirps from Center Ice

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

Regression to the Mean — Pens LOSE 3-2

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Remember last year when the Penguins played the Bears and beat them pretty much all the time?

Those were the days.

The Penguins and Bears have played four times this season and Hershey has won three. We are starting to see some regression to the mean here. Or maybe it’s something else.

Johnny Muse deserved better.

Muse, making his much anticipated Penguins debut, stops 31 of 34 shots and loses. Zero run support. The problem early on for the Penguins isn’t defense or goaltending, it’s lack of anything resembling a scoring threat. That, and the fact that special teams is a complete disaster on both ends of the spectrum.

Penguins lose 3-2.

Muse opposed Vitek Vanecek.

Lines were…

Lineup Notes: Garrett Wilson went back up Saturday afternoon because Patric Hornqvist has a concussion. Sam Miletic played his second straight game after his injury, so he must be healed. I thought he would have sat Saturday and played Sunday. Tobias Lindberg went in for Wilson. Stefan Elliott was back in for Jeff Taylor.

First Period: Maybe it was just me, but that first period tonight was complete junk hockey on both sides of the puck. The Penguins had three power plays but were outshot 10-6. Go figure.

Second Period: Jayson Megna scored again against his old team, following his shot on a rebound spilled by John Muse, probably Muse’s only miscue of the night, and the Bears went ahead 1-0.

Thomas DiPauli scored to bring the Pens even with a nice play. Matt Abvt took the shot, Ryan Haggerty either stopped the shot or dug it out of the pads of Vanecek and wheeled around the net and dished to.an unmarked DiPauli who scored.

When things aren’t going your way, stuff like this happen.

Bears in on a two on one, Shumakov goes for a pass and the puck deflects off of Kevin Czuczman and into the net. 2-1 Bears.

Third Period: Mike Sgarbossa scored to make it 3-1 late.

Another rebound left by Muse. Funny because Vanecek was spilling rebounds all over Wilkes-Barre and the Penguins were not able to capitalize. Muse, who I thought was tremendous in light of chaos around him, spills two and the Bears score on them.

Czuczman scores late with Muse vacated to pull the Pens back to one…

But with a late power play with 10 seconds left, the Penguins never found the equalizer.

The Good: The Penguins had a Hockey Fights Cancer themed jerseys. Anything for the cause because everyone knows someone who has cancer.

The Bad: Jimmy Hayes, Will O’Neill and the Penguins Special Teams. Disasters. All of them. There’s a reason Lehigh Valley dropped Will O’Neill like a bad habit. He doesn’t have it anymore. Tim Erixon, Jeff Taylor or anyone else could do a better job, surely. Here’s the thing with Hayes. A big body that skates around and hits everything but the opposing team or the opposing teams net. There was a sequence tonight where he was in the slot 10 feet from the net and shot the puck wide left. Is this an intermission game or a pro hockey game? Troy Josephs is murdering the ECHL and is buried there while Hayes goes out there and “tries.” The Penguins special teams needs to be blown up and launched into the ocean. I don’t know who is responsible for the units, but getting scored on the power play in now 11 straight games is totally and completely unacceptable. You can’t rely on any unit anymore and it’s a grit your teeth for 2:00 type of situation.

Now watch. The Penguins will go 5/5 on the power play and penalty kill Sunday and beat Providence 6-0. Jimmy Hayes and Will O’Neill will both have hat tricks. What do I know, I just have a blog.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Everyone around the Penguins tonight, lost. Providence beats Lehigh Valley 6-3…Syracuse blanks Springfield 3-0…Hartford beats Bridgeport, ending the Sound Tigers point streak in the process, 3-1….Charlotte beats Laval 4-2.

Standings: Charlotte 31 — Bridgeport 25 — Hartford 23 — Springfield 22 — Lehigh Valley 22 — Penguins 20 — Hershey 19 — Providence 17

Wheeling Update: to the Toledo Walleye 4-3.That Troy Josephs is something, I’ll tell ya. He scored and assisted tonight as the Pens lose The Walleye are 9-1 in their last ten.

Highlights: 

Gameday setup for Sunday afternoon’s game against Providence hits the blog Sunday at 11.

Let’s Go Pens!

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