Biggest game of the season, and the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, having lost the night before to the last place Lehigh Valley Phantoms, come home in front of a sellout crowd ad throttle the Bridgeport Islanders 9-2 Saturday night to reclaim the sixth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
The nine goals is the most they have score since 2010 against Albany. Seven goal scorers, 15 skaters recorded a point.
The Penguins throttled the Islanders, plain and simple. Ran them out of the building. Perhaps this is a message for the rest of the division. Maybe it’s a one off. But the Islanders had something the Penguins wanted more tonight and it showed.
Louis Domingue opposed Jakub Skarek. Here’s how they lined up:
Islanders didn’t post lines:
Lineup Notes: Shuffles to the lines, Jamie Devane for Nathan Legare otherwise.
First Period: Didn’t go well for the Penguins in the first 14 or so minutes of the game, they fell down 2-0 after getting run around by Bridgeport. Islanders moved their feet, Pens caught looking and standing around, and they were down 2-0. Austin Czarnik off a nice pass from Michael Dal Colle then later Chris Terry on a deflection in front to make it 2-0.
That finally got the Pens going somehow because Alex Nylander put home a rebound of a Cam Lee shot to put Wilkes-Barre on the board.
You could tell there was life in the body cause every stoppage had pushing and shoving.
Second Period: An absolute barrage of goals for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins.
Two goals :20 apart, a third a minute later. It was a deluge.
Sam Poulin first, Jamie Devane second then the minute later, Felix Robert, prompting Brent Thompson to call his time out. The Islanders we’re shell shocked. It was Super Hero night at the Arena and it was if the Islanders (the bad guys) awoken the beast.
But they weren’t done! After a penalty kill, the Penguins tacked on two more goals to make it a five goal outburst for the period.
Kyle Olson with an innocuous backhander that beats Skarek somehow then Michael Chaput off a rebound of a Mitch Reinke shot that made it 6-2.
To quote Tom Grace, that period was OK air you like perfect.
Third Period: Thompson went with Ken Appleby to start the period.
It didn’t matter to Drew O’Connor.
And then later, on a power play Sam Poulin nets his second on a breakaway. Total breakdown by Bridgeport here.
O’Connor would score the ninth goal with 1:01 left and some of the fans left were chanting for ten goals.
What a response from the night before, where they hung with and let a worse team in the standings in Lehigh Valley beat them.
There is there, there with this team.
Three Stars: 3) Juuso Riikola (three assists) 2) Drew O’Connor (two goals) 1) Sam Poulin (two goals)
The Good: Nice response after going down two there. They picked themselves off the mat, fought back, drew blood, broke bones, stomped a mud hole and walked it dry.
The Bad: Didn’t like the start, a better team than Bridgeport probably doesn’t allow nine straight scored on them.
Turning Point: The barrage to start the second gets it here. The Islander were hit by a truck, then another truck, then a freight train.
Around the Division: Roses for the Pens on the out of town scoreboard. Hershey loses 3-1 in Charlotte. Hartford loses 8-5 in Syracuse. Those are the only scores that really matter for the Pens. Springfield clips Belleville 4-3 in overtime. Lehigh Valley beats Utica 3-2.
Standings: 4) Hershey .531 – 5) Hartford .524 6) Penguins .523 – 7) Bridgeport .508
Wheeling Update: Nailers were off.
Who Plays Who Tomorrow: Bridgeport is in Allentown.
Video Highlights: Pens will have them. It will probably take them all night to upload the goals.
More as it comes, as I see it. If not, talk to you Wednesday morning setting up the week, starting with Lehigh Valley on Wednesday.
Let’s Go Pens!