So I don’t understand this one.
Hartford comes to Charlotte midweek and sweeps the Checkers, including shutting them out 5-0. The Penguins come to town, fresh off of an overtime victory against the Atlantic Division leading Hershey Bears, and lose 3-1 on Saturday night.
Yeah, there are no pushover teams at this level. No easy two points as it were. Teams are well coached, well connected to their NHL Partners in development, players know they need to be better. But I said in my Weekend Preview that if the Penguins wanted to evade the average teams in the division then all 6 points clean were a must and were doable.
Hope for 4 out of 6 when these two sides rematch Sunday afternoon.
Here’s how they lined up:
Lineup Notes: Josh Maniscalco recalled from Wheeling Saturday early afternoon. Taylor Fedun went up to Pittsburgh, Mark Friedman was sent back to Wilkes-Barre but then recalled. The game originally scheduled in Laval earlier in the month which was postponed by weather will be played on Monday April 10.
Sam Houde was back from illness after missing Wednesday, replacing Sean Josling. On defense, Adam Smith was out along with Taylor Fedun for Chris Ortiz and Josh Maniscalco. They noted on broadcast that Adam Smith picked up an illness yesterday. Filip Lindberg backed up. No change to Kyle Olson, Xavier Ouellet or Filip Hållander’s statuses.
First Period: Staring goaltender Taylor Gauthier gets shook up when two players were tying up near him and a stick went high and into his mask area. Trainers were called and play stopped, but Gauthier was able to see through the remaining five minutes left in the period.
Second Period: Gauthier did not come out, it was backup Filip Lindberg going in. Gauthier was seen in the back up chair later on in the period, so whatever it was (maybe contact lens? cut on the nose?) seemed to be minor.
Lucas Carlsson scores about four minutes into the period for a 1-0 Charlotte lead.
Third Period: Checkers score a power play goal five seconds short of half way in the period and it was a 2-0 Checkers lead. It felt like at the time the way the game was building that the two goal lead was going to be insurmountable.
Jonathan Gruden had other ideas.
1:01 later, he scores to cut it back to one.
Gerry Mayhew had other ideas.
I’m not able to tell from there if Jon Lizotte knocked it in his own net by mistake or not. Certainly looks like it the way the puck was traveling.
Penguins had 1:30 of 6-on-4 power play, desperate to make up a two goal lead, did a lot of passing and were not able to score.
Three Stars: 3) Lucas Carlsson (goal) 2) Mack Guzda (19 saves) 1) John Ludvig (two assists)
The Good: Lindberg was in good form for the most part, despite giving up three goals. Good to see.
The Bad: 20 shots for against a rival you are trying to stay ahead of is a lackluster effort, plain and simple. Be better Sunday.
Turning Point: The Mayhew goal was the backbreaker. Maybe they play with more urgency down one with a 6-on-4, but down two?
Around the Division: Syracuse thumps Lehigh Valley 5-2 … Hershey does the same to Springfield 6-2 … Utica as well to Bridgeport 5-1 … Hartford, on a heater, beats Providence 3-1. That’s six unbeaten in regulation for the Wolf Pack.
Standings: Hershey 54 – Providence 49 – Charlotte 41 – Penguins 39 – Lehigh Valley and Bridgeport 37 – Hartford 36 – Springfield 35
Wheeling Update: Here is the box for the Nailers and Cyclones.
Video Highlights: I don’t see them. AHL VideoCenter will have them in the morning.
These two teams rematch again Sunday at 4. More then.
Let’s Go Pens!