Penguin Killer Khokhlachev Sends Pens Sixth Straight Loss

Sunday, January 18, 2015
Scott Wilson (left) recorded a three-point game in his second game back from an injury. Bryan Rust (right) left the 3rd period of Saturday's loss in Worcester with a lower body injury and did not play Sunday vs. Providence.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins dropped their sixth straight game, a 5-4 decision, this afternoon in Providence against the AHL Bruins. Sometimes when you're in a rut or a losing skid, it takes a lucky bounce or a play to go your way to help you break out of it. The opposite of that happened at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

The Penguins out shot the Bruins 8-4 in the first period and 14-4 in the third, but a Pens' neutral zone turnover with 1:29 left in a tied hockey game proved to be the difference.

The last guy the Penguins want to turn the puck over to in that situation is Penguin-killer Alexander Khokhlachev. Take one guess who picked up the puck in the neutral zone after the turnover. Penguins fans might remember Khokhlachev tallying 10 points (7G-3A) against their team in the second round of the playoffs, including two goals in the wild Game Seven

Khokhlachev sniped one past Zatkoff for his 9th of the season and luckily for Zatkoff, he won't have to face his shots in the All-Star festivities in Utica at the end of the month. Both players will be representing the Eastern Conference.

The ending to this afternoon's game is obviously frustrating, but I think the Penguins are heading in the right direction after a flat performance against Worcester Saturday night. Scott Wilson played a strong game and recorded two goals and an assist, while his linemate also chipped in three points (1G-2A) in the loss. More on the Penguins' recent struggles and why it's not time to hit the panic button tomorrow in Monday's weekly catch up and links feature.

The AHL Penguins have a scheduled day off from on-ice practice Monday, before resuming practice on Tuesday morning. WBS will look to avoid stretching this win-less streak to seven games on Wednesday night when they welcome the St. John's IceCaps to the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

The Penguins and Bruins played a scoreless first 15 minutes this afternoon before the teams traded goals.

The Pens got a strong penalty killing effort halfway through the period, killing off all five minutes of Pierre-Luc Leblond's match penalty for a hit from behind on Providence's Seth Griffith, before tallying a power play goal of their own to take the 1-0 lead.

Off a face-off win to start the man advantage, Derrick Pouliot pushed a puck across the top of the face-off circles to Scott Wilson, whose shot was tipped past PBruins goaltender Jeremy Smith by Tom Kostopoulos with 4:41 left in the opening period. (EDIT: AHL official box score reads that it is now Scott Wilson's goal from Derrick Pouliot and Nick Drazenovic.)

The PBruins responded with a goal to tie things up just before the first intermission on a quick odd-man chance off the rush. Andrew Cherniwchan set up Rob Flick for his 8th goal of the season with 29.1 left in the period.

The penalty trouble continued for the Penguins late in the first period as Reid McNeill was whistled for a cross-check in the waning moments and also assessed an extra minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing the call.

The late penalty gave the PBruins 3:55 of man advantage time to start the second frame, which turned out to be quite an eventful period. I'm going to recap the wild second period with bullet points to make it clear and concise.
  • After nearly killing off 3:55 of the PBruins double-minor power play, Ben Youds put Providence ahead 2-1 with his 3rd of the season 3:42 into the period.
  • Pens killed off a minor penalty minutes later and took advantage on a power play of their own at 9:18, with Tom Kuhnhackl setting up shop in front of Smith's crease and getting a piece of a Brian Dumoulin point shot to tie things up at 2-2. Carter Rowney added a second assist for winning the face-off to start the play, a specialty of his.
  • Just 82 seconds later, Rowney gave WBS a 3-2 lead with a spin-and-shoot move. Assists to linemates Scott Wilson and Jayson Megna at 10:59.
  • A Drazenovic high-sticking penalty exactly a minute after the Pens' go-ahead goal gave PBruins a power play they cashed in on ten seconds into it to make it a 3-3 game - Youds' second of the afternoon on an absolute bomb of a slap shot from the point that blew past everyone on its way into the net.
  • The sea-saw battle continued as Wilson re-gained the Pens' lead at 4-3 just 1:13 later. Wilson's 4th of the season was assisted by D'Agostino and Rowney.
  • Matt Lindblad answered right back to again even the score, this time at 4-4, tipping home a Steve Eminger shot past Zatkoff.
That's six goals in the period, including five in a span of 5:09.

So, an 8-7 final right? Wrong.

The Penguins out shot the Bruins 14-4 in the third period, but a costly turnover gave Alexander Khokhlachev all the room he needed with 1:29 left and the highly-skilled Russian put the proverbial dagger into the Penguins side and six straight defeats.


Jeff Zatkoff (12 saves - 17 shots) got the start in net after being pulled last night in Worcester after allowing three goals on six shots on the first period. Matt Murray, who relieved Zatkoff to start the 2nd period, was the backup.

There were no changes on defense, as Alex Boak remained a healthy scratch on the blue line.

Up front, Bryan Rust was added to the injured list after leaving Saturday night's 4-0 loss to Worcester in the third period with a lower body injury. There's no update on his condition with the team on the road. He'll be re-evaluated next week, with the next update on him likely coming Tuesday.

Adam Payerl remains out week-to-week.

J-S Dea was also a scratch today at forward, with Pierre-Luc Leblond and Matia Marcantuoni replacing those two up front.

Scratches: Alex Boak (healthy), Jean-Sebastien Dea (healthy), Bryan Rust (lower body), Anton Zlobin (out for season) and Adam Payerl (week-to-week)


Conor Sheary - Nick Drazenovic - Tom Kostopoulos
Scott Wilson - Carter Rowney - Jayson Megna
Bobby Farnham - Matia Marcantuoni - Josh Archibald
Pierre-Luc Leblond - Dominik Uher - Tom Kuhnhackl

Taylor Chorney - Brian Dumoulin
Reid McNeill - Derrick Pouliot
Nick D'Agostino - Barry Goers

Jeff Zatkoff - Matt Murray


1st Period

1:09: PRO - (PP) Khokhlachev, minor (tripping)
6:15: WBS - (PP) Megna, minor (roughing)
6:15: WBS - Megna, minor (roughing)
6:15: PRO - Camara, minor (roughing)
6:25: PRO - (PP) Ferlin, minor (closing hand on puck)
9:48: WBS - (PP) Leblond, major (interference)
9:48: WBS - Leblond, game misconduct (match penalty)
15:12: PRO - (PP) Sexton, minor (slashing)
15:19: WBS - PPG Kostopoulos (7) - Wilson, Pouliot
19:30: PRO - Flick (8) - Cherniwchan
19:42: WBS - Uher, major (fighting)
19:42: PRO - Randell, major (fighting)
19:55: WBS - (PP) McNeill, minor (cross-checking)
19:55: WBS - (PP) McNeill, minor (unsportsmanlike conduct)

2nd Period

3:42: PRO - PPG Youds (4) - Florek, Lindblad
5:42: WBS - (PP) Dumoulin, minor (holding)
9:18: PRO - (PP) Florek, minor (holding)
9:37: WBS - PPG Kuhnhackl (3) - Dumoulin, Rowney
10:59: WBS - Rowney (3) - Wilson, Megna
11:59: WBS - (PP) Drazenovic, minor (high-sticking)
12:09: PRO - PPG Youds (5) - Lindblad, Florek
13:22: WBS - Wilson (4) - D'Agostino, Rowney
14:46: PRO - Lindblad (9) - Eminger, Casto
19:27: PRO - (PP) Eminger, minor (cross-checking)

3rd Period

4:49: PRO - (PP) Eminger, minor (interference)
18:31: PRO - Khokhlachev (9) - Stuart


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