So unlike Heather from Friday, I actually know April. I like to make fun of April. Why, I don’t know. April and her pals is looking for a new place to sit next year. This was me a few days ago.
Wouldn’t you know it, but April was in the house Monday, a 5-1 Penguins throttling of the Cleveland Monsters, so I would like to formally apologize to April and say that she and her entire family are indeed welcome in Section 104.
That said, this was a very good win for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
They opened up to a 5-0 lead after two periods and actually didn’t get any scoring from Valtteri Puustinen or Alex Nylander tonight and boat raced the Monsters out of the building. It was top to bottom a very fine effort. Three straight now for Wilkes-Barre, as well as three straight wins for Alex D’Orio, who started tonight.
But the true test of whether or not there is anything there with this team will come Tuesday night in Hershey. The Bears have utterly dominated the Penguins and the Pens haven’t won in Giant Center in a while.
But that’s for Tuesday. Let’s look at what they did Monday.
Here’s how they lined up:
Lineup Notes: No changes from Saturday. However, Teddy Blueger has a broken jaw so expect a recall. I am actually quite surprised they didn’t make one before the game.
First Period: Pens put up three goals on just nine shots in the period and chased starting goaltender J-F Berube.
Matt Bartkowski got the scoring started with a low angle shot that beat Berube. Then Felix Robert fires on an open net that makes it 2-0. Finally Kyle Olson goes off the post and in for a 3-0 lead late.
Second Period: Jet Greaves comes in for relief of Berube.
It didn’t matter.
Sam Poulin connects with Anthony Angello and Angello backhands this one in for a 4-0 Penguins lead.
Kasper Bjorkqvist redirects a pass into the goal for a 5-0 Penguins lead.
Third Period: Cleveland gets on the board and spoils the D’Orio shutout bid with a nice play by Justin Scott. Scott bats in a puck deflected off of D’Orio and in to give the Monsters their only goal of the night.
Cleveland made a hell of a push in the third I thought, as evidenced by the 14-6 shot advantage they had in the period but the Penguins withstood the charge and the visitors got no closer.
Three Stars: 3) Cam Lee (two assists) 2) Alex D’Orio (31 saves) 1) Felix Robert (goal, assist)
The Good: They showed they can win without any offensive output from their top guys in Puustinen and Nylander. One is likely going up Tuesday and won’t be in Hershey.
The Bad: Cleveland had a 3-on-1 rush and a 2-on-1 rush on a penalty kill in the first period. The Pens now have not given up a power play goal in the last two contests, but there are still glaring holes that a good team can exploit on the power play (Cleveland was in the bottom third coming into Monday on power play)
Turning Point: Gotta go with Kyle Olson’s goal late in the first which made it 3-0. 1-0 is easy to come back from, so is 2-0. Down 3-0? That’s a bit more of a challenge, especially on the road, on a Monday, in a make up game.
Around the Division: They all watched us.
Standings: Providence .613 percentage points – Hartford .603 – Springfield and Hershey .597 – Charlotte .556 – Lehigh Valley .485 – Penguins .471 – Bridgeport .463
Wheeling Update: The Nailers were off.
Back tomorrow when the Pens wrap up this hellacious stretch in Hershey. In the meantime, the AHL Power Rankings dropped earlier Monday. Check those out here.
Let’s Go Pens!