On this massively important afternoon for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins, the answer was learned quick.
Just :16 in, to be exact.
A 5-1 Hartford win Sunday should, at this point, close the books for the Penguins playoff chances. They are seven points off of Bridgeport for the sixth and final playoff spot and their schedule doesn’t get any easier. They host the first place Providence Bruins on Wednesday.
Hartford, the team that is ahead of the Penguins in seventh and chasing down the Islanders, are now just a point behind Bridgeport for that final playoff spot and six points clear of the last place Penguins.
Say goodnight, Gracie. It won’t be long now.
Here’s how they lined up…
Hartford didn’t post lines.
Lineup Notes: Justin Addamo is apparently injured, having been listed on the injury report before the game. Lukas Svejkovsky slotted in for him. No other changes. As expected, Tommy Nappier was reassigned to Wheeling. Coal Street also signed Louie Roehl to a PTO from Wheeling and received Jordan Frasca as well.
First Period: Hope you weren’t late, cause :16 in, the Penguins were down 1-0 on the first shot of the game from the Wolf Pack.
A terrible D to D pass by Peter DiLiberatore is intercepted by Ryan Carpenter who finds Will Lockwood in transition who makes a move on Dustin Tokarski and scores to make it 2-0.
Wilkes-Barre takes three penalties on the period including two back to back. They killed the first one but on the second it was captain Jonny Brodzinski scoring on a far dot one timer that made it 3-0.
I followed that analysis up with that simply, one team wants to push for a playoff spot and the other does not. Pure and simple.
Second Period: Bit of a brighter start, they outshoot Hartford 12-8 in the period, opened up like an 8-0 run on the shot board to begin but it was Anton Blidh winning a puck battle or rather the Penguins losing two puck battles where Blidh does a backhand roofer to make it 4-0.
Third Period: Jonathan Gruden, far and away the Penguins best player on the ice Sunday, nabs himself a power play goal to break up Louis Domingue’s shutout attempt and get the Penguins on the board 4-1.
But the Wolf pack would add an empty netter via Turner Elson to make it 5-1.
Three Stars: 3) Jonathan Gruden (goal) 2) Will Lockwood (goal, assist) 1) Zac Jones (goal, assist)
The Good: Baseball starts Thursday, Mets should contend. That ownership there seemingly knows how to build a winner.
The Bad: Massively important day and they lay this egg in what could be the worst loss of the season in a year full of some bad ones. Get your final looks at some of these guys, including the coaches because you shouldn’t be seeing them when they come back around this Fall.
Turning Point: Heh. :16 in, and you knew who the better team was going to be.
None of what happened around the division matters. Standings don’t matter either.
I’m not going to post video highlights. Wha was important was shown above.
Providence Wednesday. Weekend Preview of what is likely going to be a brief overview of the week ahead for the Penguins (home vs. Providence Wednesday, at Lehigh Valley Friday, home vs. Syracuse Saturday) will be up Wednesday morning.