When Teddy Blueger finally earned his long overdue recall to the Pittsburgh Penguins this week, that left a huge offensive hole in the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins lineup. Blueger was and is a utility type player that can take face-offs kill penalties and put up points in most situations.
Enter J-S Dea, who is slowly creeping up the all time list in the categories of mention in Penguins history. Dea acted as the de facto top centerman tonight and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins win 7-2 Friday night at home in a runaway against the Cleveland Monsters.
Four straight wins for the Penguins. Despite this, the Penguins will remain in sixth place as just about everyone else in the Atlantic Division is as hot or hotter than the Pens.
Tristan Jarry opposed Matiss Kivlenieks.
Lineup Notes: Cam Brown replaced Blueger up front, Matt Abt returned and replaced Kevin Spinozzi. Wilkes-Barre released Dan Fick back to the Wheeling Nailers.
First Period: The Penguins came out of the All-Star break on a tear in their first period back. They overwhelmed the Monsters and took a 3-0 lead to the break. Offense, defense and goaltending was firing on all cylinders.
Joseph Blandisi continued his hot start with the Penguins with this goal that made it 1-0. It was followed by an Ethan Prow power play goal in the slot that made it 2-0. Before the Monsters knew what hit them, J-S Dea cleaned top a centering pass from Adam Johnson after a nice defensive play by Matt Abt at center ice which made it 3-0.
Here they all are, starting with Blandisi…
Shots were 17-9 heading into the…
Second Period: Penguins were caught flat footed and whatever Monsters head coach John Madden said to his group in the room worked because Cleveland responded in kind and started to run over the Penguins.
But Tristan Jarry, who didn’t get a star tonight, was on his game.
Dan DeSalvo broke through finally for the Monsters on a power play that made it 3-1.
Here is your turning point. The Penguins, who hadn’t done jack in a period where the Monsters were just at the boiling point, headed to a penalty kill when Adam Johnson was nabbed for a trip at 15:28. Wilkes-Barre got out of the penalty kill clean and added a Ryan Haggerty goal before the horn to carry a three goal lead to the third period.
I don’t entirely know if that goal was legal or not. It looked like Haggerty’s stick deflected the puck slightly above the crossbar but there was no review and no pushback from Madden and the Cleveland bench.
Third Period: Penguins volleyed the momentum here until they put Cleveland away for good. J-S Dea added a second goal on a power play, then off the face-off Dillon Simpson scored on a wraparound that made it 5-2, but then Anthony Angello and Sam Miletic scored to ice the game away.
Here is Dea’s goal.
Cleveland didn’t GIF the Simpson goal. AHL teams GIFing goals has to be a necessity at this level anymore.
Anthony Angello with a dart through the five hole of Kivlenieks that made it 6-2.
I like when Angello plays angry.
Finally Sam Miletic finished off a 2 on 1 with Cam Brown that made it 7-2. Brown’s shot was saved by Kivlenieks but Miletic was there for the rebound and backhanded it in.
Game devolved from there with J-S Dea getting a penalty for leaving the bench during an altercation. He didn’t get in a fight, so it remains to be seen on whether he is suspended by the AHL. It’s Rule 70 of the AHL Rulebook if you want to check it out.
The Good: That first period was OK if you like perfect. Wilkes-Barre ran over Cleveland and while the Monsters tried to get close, the Penguins had an answer every time.
The Bad: The second period was hard to watch at times. Cleveland has struggled of recent. A better organized offensive team cashes on the opportunities Cleveland had in the second and maybe this turns into more of a game.
Around the Division: No help, really. Providence beats Charlotte in a tight one in North Carolina 2-1 in overtime….Lehigh Valley beat Bridgeport in a wild one in Connecticut 7-5….Springfield beats Hartford 5-2. Hershey was off.
Standings: Charlotte 67 — Lehigh Valley 55 — Bridgeport 54 — Providence 53 — Springfield 52 — Penguins 51 — Hershey 45 — Hartford 43
Setting up Saturday: Providence and Charlotte rematch. Lehigh Valley travels to Hershey. Springfield hosts Utica. The Comets were shutout in Syracuse Friday and are fourth in the North and are battling. Bridgeport comes to Wilkes-Barre.
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 3-2 in overtime at home against Indy.
Bridgeport is in Saturday. Gameday setup hits the blog at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!