Gibson, Admirals Close Gap On Penguins

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Entering tonight's contest, many Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans were wondering about the status of former Penguin and current Norfolk Admirals goaltender Brad Thiessen.

I'm sure some of those in attendance left Mohegan Sun Arena tonight with frustrating visions of Admirals goaltender John Gibson, who has twice beaten the Penguins this season in Wilkes-Barre and put together another 26-save out of 27 shots faced performance tonight.  Thiessen is out of the Admirals lineup with a lower body injury and is expected to miss another week or two, by the way.

The Admirals jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period. They added an early second period goal and fended off the Penguins' third period onslaught before a late goal with 2:50 left in regulation sealed the deal in a 3-1 loss for the Penguins.

The lone bright spot on the night for the Penguins came about halfway through the hockey game. Team captain Tom Kostopoulos stole a puck in the offensive zone and beat a screened Gibson to get the Penguins back in the game at a 2-1 deficit at the time.

Unfortunately for the Penguins, they couldn't get the equalizer in the third period despite dominating play and having extended looks in the offensive zone. The Pens only managed six shots in the third period, but credit the Admirals defensemen who blocked several shots in front of Gibson and cleared away loose rebounds to avoid giving up those second and third chance opportunities.

The Pens look to rebound tomorrow with a trip to Hershey to face-off with the struggling Bears, who lost to Syracuse tonight. 


Jeff Deslauriers got the start in net, allowing three goals on 21 shots in the loss. Deslauriers has lost two out of his last three starts and four of his last six, but it's hard to pin these losses on him. In those four losses, the Penguins scored a total of seven goals. I'd still expect Eric Hartzell to be between the pipes for the Pens tomorrow.

On the injured list are defenseman Peter Merth and forwards Adam Payerl (upper body) and C.J. Severyn (upper body). Defenseman Reid McNeill and forward Tom Kuhnhackl were listed as healthy scratches. Kuhnhackl hasn't been on the score sheet in his last five games and has just two goals in his last 20.

The Pens went with the dreaded 11 forwards and seven defensemen lineup tonight, so the lines were mixed and mashed. Here's what they started the night with:

Zlobin - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos
Uher - Manderson - Thompson
Farnham - Carman - Sylvester
     Torquato - Leblond

Samuelsson - Goers
Harrington - Mikkelson
D'Agostino - Ruopp


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