WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Devils

Last Game Recap:

Chris Conner had six points (3+3) and seven other Penguins players had multiple point nights as the Baby Penguins crushed Albany by a score of 9-2.

The Pens jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period as Conner scored his first of the night at 13:32. Ben Lovejoy added his seventh of the season at 17:40, with Steve Wagner getting a primary assist for his first point as a Penguin. Wyatt Smith made the score 3-0 on a power play with two seconds remaining in the first.

In the second period, the Pens got right back to work. Luca Caputi scored his first of the evening on a wraparound attempt at 1:04. With the home team up 4-0, Albany goalie Justin Peters was pulled and replaced by Mike Morrison. However, not even a goalie change would help the River Rats as Mark Letestu scored 33 seconds later. Although the River Rats’ Nick Dodge scored a shorthanded goal at 8:24, it was pretty much certain that the game belonged to the Penguins.

In the third period, Conner completed his hat trick by ringing a shot off the cross bar that went behind Morrison just 14 seconds into the period. Dustin Jeffrey put the Pens up 8-2 at 3:26, and with four River Rats in the box midway through the third, Caputi scored his second of the game at 11:11. Brad Thiessen earned his third straight victory with 30 saves and the Penguins won four in a row for the second time this season.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Wyatt Smith (WBS): four points (1+3), +2
2. Luca Caputi (WBS): four points (2+2), +3
1. Chris Conner (WBS): six points (3+3), +2

Jon D’Aversa
Konstantin Pushkarev
Alex Grant
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Ryan Bayda
Keven Veilleux

News and Notes:
The Penguins set two records in Wednesday’s win. They broke their previous record of goals scored in a game, scoring nine goals for the first time in team history. Conner is also the first player in Penguins history to tally six points in one game.

Steve Wagner tallied two points for his first points as a Penguin. The first was a primary assist on Lovejoy's first period goal, and the second was a primary assist on Conner's second goal of the game.

Jon D’Aversa and Casey Pierro-Zabotel were assigned to Wheeling on Friday.

WBS Current Record: 27-26-1-1 (56 points; 4th place in East Division)

Next Game:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Lowell Devils
When: Saturday February 20 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Paul E. Tsongas Arena (Lowell, MA)

Last Meeting Recap:
On January 8 in Wilkes-Barre, the Penguins took a 3-2 victory from Lowell. In the third period, Eric Tangradi tied the game at 2 with a power play goal. Dustin Jeffrey scored the game winner at 17:53. Robert Bortuzzo had two assists for the Penguins and John Curry was virtually unchallenged in securing the win; stopping 13 shots on just 15 Lowell attempts.

About the Devils:

Lowell’s current record is 30-21-4-3 which gives them 67 points and 4th place in the Atlantic Division. Their last game was on Friday night, a 5-0 win over the Manchester Monarchs. The win marked the end of a seven game losing streak. Currently, their power play is second in the AHL at 21.1%. It is also third ranked in the league at home games; with a 24.2% success rate while playing at the Tsongas Arena. Their penalty kill is tenth in the league; working at an 83.6% rate.

Penguin Connection:
Tim Sestito played four games with the Penguins in the 2006-2007 when the Pens had a dual affiliation with the Edmonton Oilers. Sestito had no points and was a -3 with six penalty minutes.
Devils to Watch:
Goaltender Mike McKenna secured his third shutout of the season in last night’s win. He has a record of 17-10-3-3 with a 2.27 GAA and a .927 save percentage. The Penguins have become quite familiar with him over the last few seasons as he played with Portland and Norfolk before signing with the Devils.

Ben Walter had three points last night (1+2), all of which came on the power play. He leads the Devils with 39 points (16+23) on the season and also has six power play goals.

Ali’s Analysis:
The Penguins’ penalty killing unit will have to be on its toes tonight to slow the league’s second best power play behind the Hershey Bears. Both teams are similar on goal output with Lowell scoring just two more total goals than WBS this season. It is hard to expect nine goal games every night, but the Pens will have to put in another full game to keep pace with the Devils offense. Further, the team is still six points out of a guaranteed playoff spot, so every remaining game is a marathon that they can't quit at the halfway point.

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