I called the Sound Tigers, ‘dastardly’ in this afternoons Gameday setup on the blog.
Name me three teams that you don’t want to face come playoff time. Hershey is one, Toronto is one and likely Providence the other. You are forgetting about Bridgeport. Something about this Sound Tigers team gives the Penguins fits.
The Pens put 40 shots up on Sound Tigers goalie Chris Gibson tonight and still lost. It wasn’t even close. Here was a tweet that summed up the night, pretty much…
Pens couldn’t do anything with the presence that they had in the offensive zone. Every shot was blocked. Every pass deflected. Every would be shot stopped by Gibson.
One of those nights.
The Penguins lost 5-2 to the Sound Tigers. With Portland, in tomorrow, beating Hartford tonight, the magic number drops to two. A win of any kind Sunday by Wilkes-Barre and they are in.
Tristan Jarry started his ninth consecutive game and was pulled after two periods when the score was 4-0 and well out of reach for the Penguins. Not for nothing, head coach Clark Donatelli tried different line combinations and replaced Jarry in net with Brian Foster. Foster’s only blemish was a puck that got away from him from behind his net that caromed to James Wright which at the time made it 5-1. Dominik Simon scored :32 into the third to cut the lead to 4-1.
The damage was done in the second period. The Penguins, already trailing 1-0 after the first period on an Alan Quine rebound he followed on a Sound Tigers power play, saw Bridgeport score three times.
And it was probably the best period that the Penguins played.
Quine added his second goal of the game finishing a nice cross ice pass from Mike Halmo that made it 2-0.
Quine completed the natural hat trick when he busted by three Penguins watching him and threw a seemingly weak backhanded shot at Jarry that hit the bar and went in for a 3-0 lead.
The Penguins, frustrated by what the Sound Tigers were giving them, couldn’t score on the periods only power play then saw a shot get blocked which led to a rush the other way for the Sound Tigers and a goal when a Pat Nullity shot from the blue line hit Connor Jones on the way in for a 4-0 Bridgeport lead.
The rout was on. If playoffs started today, the Penguins would be facing off against Bridgeport in the opening round. The Sound Tigers went 5-1 against the Penguins in the seasons series.
Mattias Plachta scored his first as a Penguin on a nice wrist shot late in the third with the game already decided. Donatelli used his time out to draw something up with Foster pulled but the Penguins could not get any closer.
Three Stars: 3) Connor Jones (goal, assist, +2) 2) James Wright (goal, two assists, +2) and 1) Alan Quine (natural hat trick, +2)
Around the Division: Hershey sees the first two shots against go in, fall behind 2-0 at Providence but come back and win in a shootout 4-3. The reverse of what happened here tonight in Wilkes-Barre happened up in Providence, the Bears won with just 18 shots on goal to Providence’s 38….Albany lost to Springfield 5-4. Ex-Penguin Matia Marcantuoni scored the game winning goal for the Falcons in the win. Marcantuoni was dealt in the trade which got the Pens Plachta. So both trade pieces score first goals for their respective teams. Nice….Lehigh Valley blanked St. John’s 4-0, the Phantoms were officially eliminated from playoffs tonight…Portland beats Hartford 4-1 which drops the Penguins magic number to 2.
Standings: Hershey (.645) — Penguins (.630) — Bridgeport (.601) — Providence (.601) — Portland (.587) — Hartford (.550) — Lehigh Valley (.493) — Springfield (.406)
Wheeling Update: The Nailers won a big one tonight over the Manchester Monarchs by a score of 2-1.
I’ll post any visual candy from Coal Street if they publish it in a morning edit.
Portland in tomorrow at 4. Gameday setup Sunday at noon.
Oh, if you are wondering where the pun headline came from, it’s a play on the term, “Pearls Before Swine” which has a biblical meaning and is also my favorite comic strip. I consider Stephan Pastis (also a big fan of puns himself) one of the greatest thinkers of our time.
Let’s Go Pens!