If you were in attendance at Saturday’s game agains the Milwaukee Admirals, you may be thinking that the referees, Alex Ross and Mitch Dunning were awful and cost the Penguins the game. One that the Penguins lose 5-3.
Here is where I am going to tell you you are dead wrong.
Let me set it up for you. The Penguins were in a 4-1 hole early in the third period when J-S Dea and Teddy Blueger scored goals a little over 90 seconds apart from one another and it’s a one goal game all of a sudden. Wilkes-Barre was rolling and the Admirals heads were spinning. Milwaukee head coach Karl Taylor called time out to try to calm things down a bit.
Then, Emil Pettersson puts this shot on net.
I am sorry. That shot needs to be stopped.
Those are not spectacular numbers from your back up. The Penguins play a bunch of Friday-Saturday hockey games in the month of January with the exception being a 1:05 start on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and a 10:30 Wednesday kids day road start in Bridgeport on January 23. The moral of the story is that if I am Clark Donatelli, I tell Tristan Jarry that he better eat his Wheaties cause it’s his net from now on.
The Penguins are in a dogfight for a playoff spot. They are in an OK spot for now, but it’s games like these that will have Wilkes-Barre kicking itself if it is mid-April and a playoff spot still isn’t sewn up. With numbers like Peters has been giving you lately, you have to take the option and either let Tristan Jarry play all the games or call up your NHL contracted goaltender in John Muse from Wheeling and let Muse back up or get starts.
On Peters, the Cincinnati Cyclones own his ECHL rights, so the Penguins can’t just send him to Wheeling. The Cyclones and Nailers play in the same division so sending Peters down is a fighting with your family situation. Unless the Penguins flip Peters in a trade, they are in a precarious position unless Peters can regain the magic of old.
He opposed Troy Grosenick.
Lineup Notes: Haggerty and Cramarossa swap spots. Burton up to third with Dea and Haggerty, Cam Brown yields to Linus Ölund on fourth line.
First Period: Patrick McGrath and Mathieu Olivier fought. A draw in my book but you can be the judge.
Anthony Angello connected on a power play goal on a double minor to Jeremy Gregoire for high sticking and the Pens were on the board first.
Off the post and in.
Second Period: Pens give up a shorthanded goal to Emil Pettersson which tied the game at one.
Frederic Allard hooked Sam Lafferty down on a breakaway and the Penguins were on the power play. A power play which included Jimmy Hayes getting ice time which I cannot explain, but Allard served his two minutes, was sprung on yet another breakaway against given up by Wilkes-Barre but was denied by Peters. Yet, Nicholas Baptiste was there to clean up the wreckage and the Admirals went on top 2-1.
Refs Ross and Dunning may have or may not have, depending on your view, started losing control of the game. They called Anthony Angello for a cross checking penalty when a linesman couldn’t drop a puck the right way. That set the Penguins off a bit because it seemed at the time that the game was spiraling out of control and the Admirals were getting all the calls.
Ex-Penguin and current Admirals captain Jarred Tinordi scored in a pile with players draped all over Peters that made it 3-1.
Third Period: Tanner Jeannot connected with a power play goal on the front end of a Sam Lafferty double minor for high sticking and it was 4-1.
J-S Dea and Teddy Blueger score on top of one another and it’s 4-3…
Nice setup from Jimmy Hayes.
Blueger hits the post, Anthony Angello collects the puck and feeds Blueger again for the goal. Nice play.
You already know from the lede what happened next. Emil Pettersson from the slot and it’s a hole that Wilkes-Barre can’t dig out of.
Jarrett Burton fans on a wide open net on a nice feed which could have maybe changed the complexion of the game. Burton has to bury that chance.
Ben Sexton got crushed on an open ice hit and left the game with a probable concussion.
Matt Abt had a nice hit.
Big deal. That will probably get him a few more games when Chad Ruhwedel gets recalled at the end of his conditioning stint. He’s been questionable too, even paired up with the All-Star Ethan Prow.
The Good: The fight that the Penguins showed in the third period early is a promising sign. It was game that they should have won.
The Bad: The backup goaltending is a mess. You have a guy in Peters on an AHL deal that can’t get sent to your ECHL affiliate because of a technicality and a NHL contracted goaltender buried in the ECHL. Sorry, there is no time to “play your way” out of a funk especially with how tight things are now for the #3, #4 and #5 spots in the Atlantic and most especially with a road trip to Charlotte coming up next weekend. If a plan is to give Tristan Jarry only one game next weekend, then call up Muse and bring him to Charlotte and have he and Jarry split Friday / Saturday. Anthony Peters should not see the net in a live fire game for the rest of the month, in this writers opinion.
But like I say countless times before, I just blog about this team, I don’t coach it.
Around the Division: Charlotte wins again with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen in Belleville 6-3. That team is just not fair….Bridgeport drops its third straight, this time in Binghamton 3-2…Lehigh Valley loses in Hartford 3-1…Springfield beats Providence 5-3 and Hershey beats Grand Rapids 6-4.
Standings: Charlotte 55 — Bridgeport 48 — Lehigh Valley 41 — Penguins 41 — Springfield 39 — Hartford 38 — Providence 35 — Hershey 32
Lehigh Valley and Springfield play Sunday. You just hope that it doesn’t get to overtime.
Box here. John Muse stops 29 of 31 shots and was names third star.
Pens are off until next Friday in Charlotte. If there are news and notes I will note it here. Power Rankings next Thursday for sure.
Let’s Go Pens!