So the scoreline of this one, a 4-2 Penguins win Sunday over the Hartford Wolf Pack, is a bit of a false flag of a score line because but for the final three or so minutes, the game wasn’t too close for comfort. The Pens were in control, goaltender Louis Domingue was dialed in and the Pens, but for a few goals by Hartford with goaltender Adam Huska pulled, never had to worry about the outcome of this one.
A weekend sweep, and more ups and downs with this club as it is. I full expect them to lose in shootouts to Syracuse and Utica at home next weekend.
Here’s how they lined up:
Hartford didn’t post lines.
Lineup Notes: Valtteri Puustinen for Jamie Devane up front, Cam Lee for Chris Ortiz in back. I didn’t like that call, Ortiz has been rock solid for the Pens in my eyes.
First Period: No scoring. The Pens penalty kill went 2/2 and their breakaway attempts were 0/2. Here was one of them by Alex Nylander.
Second Period: Pens connect at the expiration of a power play and Filip Hallander lights the lamp to put the Pens on the board and ahead at 1-0.
Alex Nylander would score :16 into a two man advantage for the Pens and Wilkes-Barre doubles its lead.
Louis Domingue stayed dialed in with a dazzling glove save at the end of the period.
That save was through and in traffic.
Third Period: Drew O’zConnor setup on a bad angle and cashes for a 3-0 Pens lead.
Stop trying to make DOC happen, Coal Street.
Matt Lorito upsets any attempt from this writer to come up with a Louis Domingue related pun about shiutouts when he scores an extra attacker power play goal to put Hartford on the board finally and make it 3-1.
Then Ty Running made it a puff out your cheeks moment when he scored here with 14.4 seconds left.
But Jonathan Gruden scored on an empty net at center ice with .8 seconds left to put any hopes for a long shot Hartford comeback to bed and that was the ballgame.
Three Stars: 3) Louis Domingue (33 saves) 2) Drew O’Connor (goal, assist) 1) Alex Nylander (goal, assist)
The Good: Good way to defend home ice, but the Pens have to learn how to win on the road, since they are likely starting play-offs, should they qualify, there. Alex Nylander’s 10 goals have all come on home ice.
The Bad: Game should have been a runaway and but for a few hiccups in desperation by Hartford at the end, it wasn’t. Great teams, the ones that win championships, find ways to get shutouts for their workhorse goaltender.
Turning Point: The O’Connor gaol is going to stand as the game winner, and a 3-0 lead to start the third is a massive hole to dig out of. They almost got out, but ultimately Hartford succumbed and went down in defeat.
Around the Division: Games are still going on, but of those which went final, Bridgeport shuts out Hartford 3-0. Hershey and Lehigh Valley were a 5 p.m. start, that box is here.
Standings: Pens are now two games over .500, at .518. You want Lehigh Valley to beat Hershey clean because that would drop the Bears percentage points down some.
Wheeling Update: Nailers down again to the Reading Royals but not as bad as the night prior. Box here.
Let’s Go Pens!