Friday night in Rochester, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins had one mistake cost them in a 1-0 affair.
Saturday afternoon in Toronto, there were too many mistakes to count.
A 7-4 pasting by the defending Calder Cup Champion Marlies on the Penguins Saturday. The Pens went up 2-0 before the game was five minutes old, before having three power play goals scored against them in a span of ninety one seconds and the rout was on. An uneventful second led to Josh Jooris scoring shorthanded :16 into the third period and the late comeback staged by Wilkes-Barre was too little, too late.
Anthony Peters opposed Kasimir Kaskisuo.
Lineup Notes: Troy Josephs was back in and went to the top line with Lafferty and Angello. Cramarossa replaced Jimmy Hayes at 3RW. Patrick McGrath went in at the fourth line. On defense, Jeff Taylor and Will O’Neill were out for Tim Erixon and Stefan Elliott who were paired with one another on third pairing.
Evan Cormier backed up Anthony Peters…if you are wondering what happened to John Muse, he was, “not available” tonight to the Penguins which translated by my own speculation, meant that Muse has a visa issue which doesn’t allow him to work in Canada….Sam Miletic, who left the game Friday in Rochester with apparent injury was listed as day to day per Nick Hart on the radio before the game.
First Period: An eventful start, to say the least.
The Penguins went up 2-0 before the game was 3:15 old when Adam Johnson and Anthony Angello scored goals. Johnson was fed a pass from behind the net by J-S Dea and Angello created a turnover, headed up ice and was hit with a perfect pass by Troy Josephs.
Johnson’s goal was the quickest goal scored by the Penguins this season.
The Penguins were off to the races!
Until they hit a wall.
Three straight power play goals against in the span of ninety one seconds and Toronto took control.
Chris Mueller with a tip in front…
Trevor Moore from the slot. No idea what Anthony Peters was doing on the play…
…and then Pierre Engvall gave the Marlies a 3-2 lead…
Totally and completely unacceptable to just get run around like that in :91 when you get the jump on a team for a Saturday afternoon start. One power play goal is OK, two in a row is a concern and three in a row should start getting coaches fired or reassigned, especially this late onto the season.
I will say it again. Three consecutive power play goals allowed at this level in this time period is unacceptable.
Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe called his timeout before the power play action got going and the Marlies unleashed their avalanche of goals. One has to wonder what was said.
Things settled after the explosion of goals in the games first 7:21.
Second Period: Quiet period in contrast to the action in the first. Toronto added another goal on a double deflection goal that extended the hosts lead to two…
That’s the initial pass or shot from Rasmus Sandin to Chris Mueller in the slot with the other deflection to Jeremy Bracco in front and past Peters.
Pens had two power plays late in the game to try to cut the lead back to one but were unable to get anything past Kaskisuo.
Third Period: :16 into the period and shorthanded, Josh Jooris scored to make it 5-2 Marlies.
Ryan Haggerty was denied twice by Kaskisuo on two separate chances.
Patrick McGrath spilled a turnover in his own zone and the Marlies capitalized.
Saw someone tweet that Bracco didn’t deserve first star honors tonight, Head Coach Sheldon Keefe deserved it for the time out he called when Wilkes-Barre was up 2-0. I can’t disagree with that take.
Penguins mount a bit of a comeback to make things interesting. Ethan Prow with a power play tally…
…then Linus Ölund scored to make it 6-4 and things started to get interesting.
But time became the enemy of the Penguin, and with Peters pulled for the extra attacker, Morgan Klimchuk scored an empty net goal.
The Good: Ethan Prow, Ryan Haggerty, Sam Lafferty, Anthony Angello and Troy Josephs remain some of the Penguins best players. It’s a bad start to the season, yeah, but imagine where the Penguins would be if it weren’t for a guy like Ethan Prow.
The Bad: Where to start. The penalty kill is abysmal, the defense pairings are by committee. Most teams have seven defensemen. The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins have nine (Zach Trotman is hurt) and rotate eight night in and night out. This isn’t preseason. You should have seven that you can trust. Beside Prow and Czuczman, what do you have? Defense by committee. And that should not be the case at all with the likes of Chris Summers and others. The problem is that Jeff Taylor is a rookie, Tim Erixon just now got into the lineup after being healthy scratched forever, Matt Abt is a guy that made the team on a tryout, Trotman is hurt, Elliott is too inconsistent and O’Neill shouldn’t even be on the team. Hard to win hockey games on a consistent basis when your defense, which has been a solid backbone to countless Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins teams in the past, is an inconsistent mess.
Don’t even get me started on special teams.
Around the Division: Charlotte has lost two straight, the first time all year, with a 5-3 setback to the Hartford Wolf Pack…Providence clips Bridgeport 2-1 in overtime via a Ryan Fitzgerald penalty shot goal…Springfield beats Hershey 4-2…Lehigh Valley gets yet another late goal to beat Belleville 4-2.
Standings: Charlotte 33 — Bridgeport 28 — Springfield 26 — Lehigh Valley 26 — Hartford 25 — Providence 23 — Penguins 22 — Hershey 19
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were shutout 2-0 to the Kalamazoo Wings.
Pens will bus back home tonight and likely have practice Monday or Tuesday. They are in action next Friday at home against the Cleveland Monsters. News, as I see them this week, will run here. AHL Power Rankings will be here Thursday.
Let’s Go Pens!