Chirps from Center Ice

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

Puck Luck? No Luck — Pens LOSE 4-2

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I tweeted this at some point early on in the third period when the Pens were down 3-1.

For context, the running theme for the Sunday home game was a kids get in free deal and you could wear your pajamas.

But then I looked at the shot board. Wilkes-Barre was badly outshooting their opponent, today the Providence Bruins.

34-19 would end up the final tally in shots for the game favoring the Penguins.

4-2 was the scoreline where it counts most for the Providence Bruins, who win Sunday afternoon.

A team that is down, which I will openly admit that the Penguins are, 2-5-3-0 in their last ten, normally are run around the ice and quickly disposed of in games.

The Penguins trailed 3-1 for about half the game Sunday, and had another power play goal scored against them running the streak of power play goals allowed to twelve.

But bad teams pack it in and things go south in a hurry. Fights, penalties, scrums after every whistle. That didn’t happen today.

You’ll often see me say that in the AHL there are great teams, good teams and bad teams. Are the Penguins a great team? Right now, no. Are they a bad team? I wouldn’t argue with you but in a broader scope my argument is that they are a good team with no luck luck right now.

And I don’t know what it is about Zane McIntyre, the Providence Bruins goaltender, but he owns the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, even going back to the playoffs two seasons ago. How he wasn’t named a star of the game Sunday is a travesty.

Anthony Peters opposed the aforementioned Zane McIntyre.

The Pens didn’t put out a lines graphic, so here is what they looked like from my seat:

Lineup Notes: Tim Erixon made his Penguins debut for Chris Summers who was the scratch. Tobias Lindberg was injured in the first period Saturday against Hershey, Head Coach Clark Donatelli told Tyler postgame that it isn’t serious and he should only miss a few days. Patrick McGrath took Lindberg’s spot on the fourth line.

First Period: Providence wasted no time on a power play, their first of the game when Ryan Fitzgerald connected on a tic tac toe play that gave the Bruins an early 1-0 lead.

You know, I think that may have been the turning point of the game. The Penguins can’t stop the opponent from scoring on the man advantage, so what better way to establish yourself against Wilkes-Barre on the road by dialing up an early power play goal to give your team the lead?

The puck luck theme I lead with was apparent here in this sequence…

Adam Johnson connected on the back end of a Olivier Galipeau double minor for high sticking Jarrett Burton and the Penguins were tied with the Bruins.

Second Period: Two goals within 65 seconds gave the Bruins the cushion they needed to shell up and ride McIntyre to the final whistle.

Will O’Neill pinched, this right after he turned the puck over in his own zone to set up the whole sequence.

Unmarked in the slot. That’s a no-no.

Shots at the end of the second were 21-13 Wilkes-Barre.

Third Period: Penguins don’t score on a power play, then Sam Lafferty is denied by an impossible pad save by McIntyre far post, Joe Cramarossa had a mini breakaway and shot wide.

Puck luck. Puck luck. Puck luck.

Jarrett Burton scored falling down to cut the deficit to one with 4:04 left.

But then Providence hemmed the Penguins deep in their own territory with under 90 seconds to play. The Penguins, with Peters vacated for the extra man, were never able to find the equalizer.

The Good: They stayed in both games to the end this weekend. Bad teams don’t stick around for this let alone twice in less than 24 hours.

The Bad: Special teams, and the inability to grab a game, take control and not let go. How often have the Penguins teams in the past commanded a game and not let something like a goal or two bother them, then get the necessary materials to carry them to a win? You aren’t seeing that with this version, currently, but I believe that it is there and just needs to be spotlighted.

Three Stars: 

Around the Division: Charlotte sweeps Laval, with a 3-1 decision Sunday…Bridgeport beats Springfield, who have lost two straight, 4-3. Everyone else had a quiet Sunday.

Standings: Charlotte 33 — Bridgeport 27 — Hartford 23 — Springfield 22 — Lehigh Valley 22 — Penguins 20 — Providence 19 — Hershey 19

Wheeling Update: Nailers with a big home win against Cincinnati Sunday afternoon, Nick Saracino factored into every goal for the Nailers with a goal and two assists, Wheeling wins 3-2.

Video Highlights: 

The Penguins are back in action for some midweek hockey Wednesday night in Hershey. But for anything newsworthy between now and then (the Penguins have a scheduled day off Monday) check out the Gameday setup here on the blog Wednesday at 3.

Let’s Go Pens!

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