There was under a minute left to play in the third period, Wilkes-Barre was down one and getting buried in shots and were on track to go nine points off of Providence for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic.
That’s when Sam Lafferty went to work.
With Jarry pulled, the Penguins rookie scored to complete his hat trick to force overtime. Ryan Haggerty would then score on a breakaway to give the Penguins the extra point and the win as Wilkes-Barre wins 5-4 in overtime.
The Providence Bruins defeated the Binghamton Senators, so the deficit to the Bruins in fourth remains as it was when the game started this evening, seven. The Penguins burn off the game in hand on Providence Sunday afternoon at home against Springfield. It can get to five with a regulation or overtime win. That would then set up a huge meeting with Providence where, with the same regulation or overtime win, can get the deficit to three.
But that’s counting the chickens before they hatch.
Moral, they still have life. It’s not an ideal situation, but if they had lost the game tonight in regulation, their playoff hopes would have been entirely extinguished in my book. The win gives them enough to keep them in the heads of the Bruins.
Tristan Jarry opposed Alex Lyon in a rematch from Friday night.
Lineup: Shuffled up the forward lines but for the top line. Patrick McGrath went in for Trevor Yates. No changes on D other than Jusso Riikola pairing with Chris Summers. Thirteenth straight start for Tristan Jarry. Chris Summers skated in his 500th AHL game.
First Period: A really testy period by both teams, with the bad blood on display boiling over from Friday night. The Penguins jumped out to the lead early when Sam Lafferty thundered down the slot and backhanded a shot past Alex Lyon to give the Pens a 1-0 lead…
But :28 later, a low shot by Mark Friedman that was kicked out by Jarry went right to Philip Samuelsson and in to make it a 1-1 game.
Penguins spent the final half of the period on a power play it felty like as the Phantoms took penalty after penalty. Wilkes-Barre had two separate :20 two man advantages.
With one second left on the final one, Joseph Blandisi scored to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
Another nice backhand, this time with a pass instead of a shot, by Sam Lafferty to Blandisi for the shot and goal.
Second Period: It was the Penguins turn to take all the penalties and have a long two man disadvantage but they got out of it.
Sam Lafferty added another goal to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.
Greg Carey had two chances in the slot and didn’t miss on his second one. It was a one goal lead all of a sudden.
Cole Bardreau scored to make it a tie game late.
Lehigh Valley had slowly percolated enough and this was the result.
Third Period: Tristan Jarry should be the Penguins MVP. If the Penguins do manage to make playoffs this season, it will because of Jarry and the plays that he makes to keep the team in the game at the moment. Like this sequence early on in the period.
Byron Froese scored to give the Phantoms the go ahead goal and a 4-3 lead.
Looking bleak, it didn’t look like the Penguins were going to score on even terms, then Lafferty and his magic took over.
That’s a hat trick. Second one in the building by an opponent, the first was a few weeks ago by Jimmy Hayes.
It also forced…
Overtime: Periscoped here…
If you don’t want to watch it all from start to finish, Ryan Haggerty stole a puck in the neutral zone, skated in and….
Around the Division: Providence beats Binghamton 3-1. The rest of the scores are really meaningless but I will give them to you anyway. Hershey loses in Cleveland 5-2, Charlotte beats Hartford 3-1, Laval beats Springfield 3-2 in overtime and Bridgeport beats Belleville 2-1.
Standings: Charlotte 94 — Bridgeport 84 — Hershey 79 — Providence 79 — Penguins 72 — Lehigh Valley 71 — Springfield 69 — Hartford 65
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose a close one in Kalamazoo 3-2. Winston Day Chief, one of the best names in hockey, scored for the Nailers in the loss.
Setting Up Sunday: Everyone is talking about Providence, but if you just noticed above, the Hershey Bears are on the same points as the Bruins with 79. They rematch with the Monsters Sunday. The Bruins are off.
If Coal Street puts up a video high light package or Lehigh Valley for that matter, it will run here.
Gameday setup for Sunday’s game against Springfield hits the blog Sunday at 11 am.
Let’s Go Pens!