Let’s recap the week that was on Coal Street, shall we?
They get throttled 6-0 Wednesday against the Providence Bruins in a lifeless, toothless, punch drunk affair. Casey DeSmith gets shelled and chased in the third period.
Thursday, they learn that Stefan Noesen was claimed on waivers by the San Jose Sharks. Noesen was, at the time he was signed and then recalled by Pittsburgh, the leading scorer.
On account of that fact and the other that Pittsburgh lost Justin Schultz to a knee injury, Thomas DiPauli and Kevin Czuczman were recalled Friday morning.
Friday night, the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins hosted the Providence Bruins in a rematch of Wednesday. The first place Providence Bruins and the same Providence Bruins who had a shutout streak of over 130 minutes going.
So of course the team that lost their leading scorer, one of their better penalty killers and a veteran presence on defense and shuts out the Providence Bruins 1-0. 23 saves for Dustin Tokarski, his 27th all time which ties him for 10th all time in AHL history.
Hockey is a funny sport.
I’m one of Casey DeSmith’s biggest fans. He’s in my top five of all time favorite Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins players to come through here.
In no way shape or form, if I am Mike Vellucci, do I give him the net Saturday night in Bridgeport.
They are a different team with Tokarski in the net. They just are. Examples:
– After getting shutout in Cleveland last weekend, Vellucci turns to Tokarski and they win 3-1 the very next night. A steadier performance and the first win of the month.
– After getting bombarded by Providence with six goals Wednesday after Tokarski comes in, they allow just three and he stops them all.
You will hear me say all the time that I don’t coach the team, I blog about them and when you need to choose between a player at a position go with the guy with the NHL deal (DeSmith) over the one who doesn’t have one (Tokarski) but in. my opinion, Dustin Tokarski has played his way into a starters role and Casey DeSmith has played, maybe through no fault of his own (it isn’t the goaltenders job to score goals) his way out of the starters role. We will see what happens Saturday in Bridgeport, but I think that Dustin Tokarski should get the start and not DeSmith.
Anthony Angello scored the only goal and if you are thinking to yourself that I have brought his name up a lot you’d be right, he’s the only Penguin player to score a non-empty net goal for the team in the last four games.
A defense, with four rookies on it mind you, limit the Providence Bruins to just 23 shots after allowing 30 on Wednesday, six of those for goals.
Funny sport, that hockey.
I mean that’s pretty much it. A scoreless first and third. Providence had 11 in the first (which was their best period) and then six in the second and third. Anthony Angello was the last Penguin to touch a puck which deflected off Providence’s Jeremy Lauzon’s leg and past Dan Vladar on a power play. Wilkes-Barre only mustered 20 shots of their own, but they outshot Providence 38-30 Wednesday anyway and still lost 6-0.
Pretty vanilla game, but when you are a team in flux, with the loss of your leading scorer and two recalls which kind of were like a punch in the gut Friday morning, just what the doctor ordered.
Three Stars: 3) P-O Joseph 2) Anthony Angello (power play, game winning goal) and 1) Dustin Tokarski (23 saves)
Around the Division: Springfield beats Saturday’s opponent Bridgeport 3-1. Some guy named Ryan Haggerty scored the game winning goal assisted by some other guy named Ethan Prow. Fire Jim Rutherford….Hershey, Lehigh Valley, Charlotte and Hartford were all off.
Standings: Providence 41 — Hartford 39 — Penguins 34 — Hershey 33 — Springfield 33 — Charlotte 29 — Lehigh Valley 27 — Bridgeport 26
That’s four straight wins for the Nailers, too. Here’s your box.
Pens are in Bridgeport Saturday before the Christmas break. Gameday setup hits the blog Saturday at 3.
Let’s Go Pens!
I might also add that they played without Zach Trotman and Adam Johnson