Khokhlachev, Svedberg & The PBruins Force Game Seven With Penguins

Monday, May 19, 2014
Niklas Svedberg's 36 saves on 37 shots helped PBruins force Wednesday night's Game Seven. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
Through the first 26 minutes and change, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were all over the Providence Bruins. They even appeared to take a 1-0 lead with 13:56 left in the 2nd period after Bobby Farnham shoved a puck across Niklas Svedberg's goal line. The goal was immediately waived off by referee Darcy Burchell as the ruling was that Farnham pushed the goaltender into the net along with the puck.

A shift or two later, a bad pinch in the offensive zone by a Penguins defender led to a 2-on-1 the other way, with rookie forward Alexander Khokhlachev rifling one past Peter Mannino to put the PBruins ahead 1-0. The Pbruins added another goal moments later off a center ice turnover to make it 2-0 and the Penguins couldn't recover, falling 4-1 in Game Six.

The AHL Penguins now have the all-important Game Seven on Wednesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena to determine whether they advance to the Eastern Conference finals to face the St. John's IceCaps or, like their parent NHL club in Pittsburgh, get bounced out of the second round with a Game Seven loss on home ice.

If you didn't know what the series was at coming into Game Six, the first period looked like the Penguins were fighting for their playoff lives - outshooting the PBruins 14-5 and spending most of the first 20 minutes pinned in the offensive zone.

The Penguins had several chances, but Niklas Svedberg made several important saves to keep his team's season alive. The Pens also got a late power play after good work by Jayson Megna, but they were unable to convert on the man advantage.

The Penguins dominance continued into the middle frame and the Pens appeared to take a 1-0 lead after Bobby Farnham put a puck past Svedberg, but the referee immediately waived off the goal ruling that the puck was pushed across the line with the goaltender.

From there, the momentum reversed 180 degrees. Simon Despres got caught pinching in the offensive zone and the PBruins made the Pens pay, with Alexander Khokhlachev sniping one past Peter Mannino 7:51 into the 2nd period to give the PBruins a 1-0 lead.

A Jayson Megna turnover five minutes later led to a 3-on-2 chance for the PBruins. A quick series of passes between Jared Knight and Khokhlachev led to an easy tap in goal for Bobby Robins, fresh off his three game suspension from Game Two. That goal at 12:56 of the middle frame extended the PBruins lead to 2-0.

Despite outshooting the PBruins 27-13 and for most of the first outplaying their opponent through 40 minutes, the Penguins mental lapses had them down 2-0 heading into the 3rd period.

The Pens started the third period on the penalty kill, as a Philip Samuelsson slash late in the middle frame gave the PBruins a power play. They converted on the man advantage, with Khokhlachev's 2nd of the night, 1:36 into the 3rd period to put the Penguins in a 3-0 hole, and clamped down defensively to hold on for the win.

The Penguins pulled Mannino with about 4:30 left in regulation to try to make a game of it and Conor Sheary scored off a feed from Tom Kostopoulos to get the Pens on the board with 2:57 left, but it was too little too late.

Ryan Spooner added an empty net goal with 1:49 left to send the fans heading towards the exits. Despite being without two of their top forwards in Matt Fraser and Justin Florek and two of their regular starting six defensemen in Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow, the PBruins got an outstanding performance in net from Niklas Svedberg - who made 36 saves on 37 shots - to force Wednesday night's Game Seven.

The Penguins dominated the first half of the game, out shooting the PBruins by a 3-to-1 margin at times, but couldn't jump to an early lead. They had their chances, going 0-for-4 with the man advantage, but couldn't capitalize on their power plays.

The PBruins capitalized on a few Penguins' mistakes and a power play of their own and suddenly it's a do-or-die situation for both teams in less than 48 hours, much like last season in the 2nd round between these two teams which saw the Penguins battle back from a 3-0 series deficit to win Games Six and Seven on the road. Hopefully for the Penguins, history doesn't repeat itself.


Peter Mannino got the start in net as he has all postseason long. Matt Murray backed up Mannino.

On defense, Philip Samuelsson returned to the lineup for the first time since March 26th. Barry Goers was the 7th defenseman and healthy scratch.

Up front, Mike Carman, Josh Archibald and Adam Payerl were scratched and Nick Drazenovic, Bobby Farnham and Dominik Uher returned to the WBS lineup.






Post a Comment