Penalty Parade: IceCaps Ninth Power Play Puts Penguins on the Brink

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Just like in their 2012 playoff meeting, the Penguins find themselves down three games to one to the IceCaps. Photo credit: @ItsJacki.
Despite a better effort from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tonight in Game Four, they come up short 2-1 and now trail the St. John's IceCaps three games to one in the best-of-seven series. They'll be on the brink of elimination starting with Saturday night's Game Five in Wilkes-Barre.

The storyline of the series is becoming the Penguins inability to score on the power play. After tonight's 0-for-6 showing on the man advantage, the Pens are now 0-for-21 in the series.

To further prove my point that the Pens live and die by the power play, here's a look at the power play stats in their seven postseason wins vs. their seven postseason losses in the 2014 playoffs:
In their 7 losses in the postseason: 0-for-32. In their 7 wins: 10-for-43.
You can argue the referees had a factor in tonight's game. They handed out 15 power plays in the first 50:33 of the contest.

The ninth power play for the IceCaps came after a terrible call on Brendan Mikkelson, who raised his arm to protect himself from an incoming hit. Mikkelson received a roughing minor 7:48 into the 3rd period, just a minute after Brian Dumoulin had tied the game at 1-1. The IceCaps score on that power play and the 2-1 score holds up.

You can also make the case that losing Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew and Nick Drazenovic has made a big difference in the series. I wouldn't argue that point either.

But in the end, the Penguins have dug themselves into a 3-1 hole much like they did in the Conference Finals against Syracuse last year. Only time will tell if the Penguins have hit their breaking point or, like the 2012 Semifinals against St. John's, can they send the series back to Newfoundland and force this series to go the distance.

The Penguins came out flying to start tonight's game, much as you would expect a team coming off a 5-0 loss the night before would.

The story continued to be the Penguins lack of converting on the man advantage as they let three go by the wayside in the first period again tonight, save for the 1:16 of carry over time they brought into the 2nd period that also went by without a goal.

The penalty parade continued into the 2nd period, as the Penguins were whistled five times - including a double minor by Zach Sill - which gave the IceCaps a two-man advantage late in the middle frame.

The Penguins were able to kill off the first five IceCaps power plays and most of the 5-on-3 power play with Jayson Megna and Sill in the box, but St. John's took a 1-0 lead with 12 seconds left on the first minor.

At the time, it seemed like a backbreaking goal with 26.1 seconds left in the 2nd period. The IceCaps had out shot the Pens 19-2 in that middle frame, dominated by five IceCaps power plays.

The Penguins didn't lose from a lack of effort tonight. They played their proverbial hearts out in the third period and even tied the game 6:48 into the third after a bit of a broken play.

Spencer Machacek won a puck battle and got the puck to Brian Dumoulin on the point. Dumoulin's shot through traffic was actually going wide, but luckily for the Penguins it was tipped in by IceCaps defenseman Brendan Kitchon.

The game wasn't tied for long, however, as the IceCaps received their ninth (no typo) power play of the night a minute after the Penguins tied the game. The IceCaps made their ninth power play of the game count.

The Penguins had a chance with 9:27 left in the game when they got a power play chance of their own, but they were unable to get one with the man advantage.

It's really been the difference in this postseason for the Penguins. The power play: 0-for-6 tonight and 0-for-21 in the series. In their 7 losses in the postseason: 0-for-32. In their 7 wins: 10-for-43.

The loss of Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew and Nick Drazenovic up front for the Penguins certainly didn't help the power play in this series.

It's not an excuse for why the Pens are down 3-1, as injuries are piling up on all teams when you get to the third round, but their loss has clearly had an effect on the power play and the lack of sustained offensive pressure in this series.

ROSTER NOTES

Peter Mannino got the start in net for the Penguins and was backed up by Matt Murray.

Only two lineup changes from last night's game to tonight, with forwards Bobby Farnham and Mike Carman in and Pierre-Luc Leblond and Adam Payerl out.

Harrison Ruopp took the warmup skate again tonight but was the 7th defenseman and a healthy scratch.

Lines

Kuhnhackl - Gibbons - Megna
Machacek - Rowney - Kostopoulos
Sheary - Carman - Zlobin
Zolnierczyk - Sill - Farnham

Dumoulin - Despres
Samuelsson - Mikkelsson
Harrington - Goers

Mannino - Murray

1 comments:

Uttam Saekar said...

Power Backup Solutions is the best place to buy UPS Systems (APC, Eaton, CyberPower) and related accessories in Australia. We specialise in providing reliable, high-quality products. power protection

Post a Comment