I deliberately didn’t finish the words in the headline tonight to keep with the theme I am going with for this game story.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins put up 41 shots on the last place Hartford Wolf Pack tonight and outshot the visitors 27-14 in the final two periods; 11-3 in the third and 6-2 in overtime.
The sense of desperation befell the team down 2-1 at some point when they just blitzkrieged the Wolf Pack with shots, shots and more shots.
The problem? They lack a finisher. Someone there to put the puck in the net at the time you need it the most. Teddy Blueger was that guy this year. Tom Kostopoulos last year. Jake Guentzel for a brief time, Dustin Jeffery, Joe Vitale, go back as far as you want. They don’t have a finisher on this team, just a group of supporting role AHLers and the Penguins are on the brink of missing out on playoffs for the first time in sixteen seasons.
It is what it is, however. It’s the price an AHL franchise pays when the NHL parent wins two Stanley Cups in the last three years. It’s the price of doing business. What you are left with here is some maybe prospects filled in with players in their twilight of their careers.
Penguins lose 3-2 in a shootout. No Penguin scored in the bonus round while Bobby Butler scored in the bottom of the second to give Hartford a point that the Penguins could have used. Providence and Lehigh Valley both won tonight.
Tristan Jarry opposed Brandon Halverson. Patrick McGrath drew in for the injured Ryan Scarfo, who left Wednesday with an injury. Chris Wideman is ill, so Jeff Taylor drew back in the lineup for the Penguins on defense.
Joseph Cramarossa scored in the first capitalizing on a bonehead Hartford line change.
Hartford would score two in the second when a Sean Day shot is deflected in by Drew Melanson that tied it, then a Ryan Gropp shot on a power play went in with Tim Gettinger screening that put the Wolf Pack out in front 2-1.
No GIFs of any goals tonight. They weren’t available.
After the Gropp goal, the Penguins took over the game with the multitude of shots but just were unable to get anything past Halverson before Ethan Prow finished off a shot from the point when the Penguins were on a two man advantage that tied the game at two a piece.
Frenetic, the Penguins pushed to end the game in regulation but the game would go to overtime.
Overtime was thrill a minute with both goalies coming up with huge stops, but it would end in a shootout with Hartford prevailing.
The Good: The point earned.
The Bad: Outside of what I mentioned above about the lack of a finisher, the Penguins are forced to scoreboard watch and cheer for two, maybe three different scenarios to play out in their favor. They didn’t get one with Hershey and Providence going to OT and the Bruins prevailing in a shootout, nor did they get it with Lehigh Valley beating Charlotte in regulation.
Turning Point: Prow’s goal on the two man advantage at least secured the point.
Around the Division: As mentioned, Lehigh Valley beat Charlotte 3-2 in regulation, Providence to Hershey 3-2 in a shootout. The other division games of no meaning were Bridgeport getting shutout 5-0 in Rochester and Springfield beating Binghamton on the Southern Tier 3-2.
Standings: Charlotte 83 — Bridgeport 77 — Hershey 69 — Providence 69 — Lehigh Valley 66 — Penguins 63 — Springfield 61 — Hartford 59
Wheeling wasn’t in action.
Here are highlights…
Hershey and Providence, Charlotte and Lehigh Valley all rematch tomorrow. Those are games you must watch.
Syracuse, fresh off of a 4-0 whitewash of rival Utica at home Friday, come in Saturday as the opponent. Gameday setup for that matchup hits the blog Saturday at 3.