So Dustin Tokarski will get all the plaudits Friday night, as the 16th AHL goaltender to win 200 games, but he has Drake Caggiula to thank for getting him there.
The Penguins forward was everywhere for the Penguins in a 3-2 shootout win Friday night. When the game was at it’s dullest, Caggiula was there stirring things up. It was Caggiula’s shorthanded goal late in the third period when all hope appeared lost that propelled the Penguins to an overtime and then a shootout. It would have been perfect if Caggiula had the game winning goal in the shootout round, but his number wasn’t called.
Back to Tokarski. The Penguins may actually have him to thank in the win, as without him and the bombing of shots put on him in the second period, the game could have gotten out of hand and quickly. He’s someone to be thankful for, highlighted by this piece here by the venerable Patrick Williams.
Tokarski opposed Pat Nagle.
Lineup Notes: Shuffling of guys with lines (Puustinen up to the top line) but no lineup changes. Looks like Corey Andonovski played his way out of the lineup as he took warmups. Something may be up with Jon Lizotte though.
First Period: Louie Belpedio throws a shot at the net at the expiration of a Phantoms power play and Tyson Foerster gets a tip on it to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
(no GIFs of any of the Phantoms goals, must not be their bag)
Second Period: Goaltending adventurism by Nagle, who leaves his net to play a puck and there’s a few Penguins around but no one can put the puck in a vacated net.
Pens come in later on a 2-on-1 and Drake Caggiula can’t get one in past Nagle. Play really started to open up.
Third Period: Lukas Svejkovsky and Jordy Bellerive trade chances of being unable to score unmarked in front of the opposing goaltender.
Later, Elliot Desnoyers scores to double the Phantoms lead and the thought at the time, with the dry luck the Penguins were having offensively that since Tokarski was doing everything but score, there was no way back for the Penguins.
Well, until Valtteri Puustinen had other ideas.
His shot from the near side goes in past Nagle and in with Drew O’Connor screening. Pens down 2-1. Here’s where you think maybe they can come back.
Then, referee Mason Riley tags Kyle Olson for a baby soft trip call late and here’s where you think it’s over.
Well Drake Caggiula with the help of Filip Hållander had other ideas.
Hållander sets up Caggiula for a goal and his league leading sixth straight game with an assist when ex-Penguin Garrett Wilson plays too cute with the puck and gives it away for a goal and a tie game.
That was enough to carry the sides to…
Overtime: :05 in and Drew O’Connor draws a penalty, but the Penguins can’t score on the ensuing power play. It was then off to the…
Shootout: Alex Nylander scores in the top of the first. Dustin Tokarski denies all three skaters he faces and the seemingly impossible comeback is complete.
The Good: The never say die attitude of the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins
The Bad: The Cardiac Penguins are back.
Turning Point: Said to myself at the time that the Desnoyers goal that made it 2-0 is either the put away goal or the kick in the pants Wilkes-Barre needs to win. The latter proved true on this night.
Around the Division: Rochester beats Bridgeport in overtime 6-5…Charlotte does the same to Utica but 3-2…Hershey beats Hartford in regulation 2-1…Providence beats Syracuse 5-3. Springfield was off.
Standings: Providence 27 – Hershey 24 – Charlotte 24 – Bridgeport 24 – Penguins 20 – Springfield 17 – Lehigh Valley 16 – Hartford 14
Wheeling Update: Nailers lose 4-1 in Kalamazoo. Sean Josling with the goal for the Nailers.
Video Highlights: If I see them I will post them.
More Saturday after the tussle with the Thunderbirds.