WILKES-BARRE TWP. ‚?? When Wilkes-Barre/Scranton coach John Hynes called Tom Kuhnhackl‚??s name to take the next attempt in the eighth round of a shootout, the rookie forward admitted to feeling some nerves.
After all, the Penguins just went three periods and an overtime frame without getting a single puck by Binghamton Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, who stopped 34 shots during Wednesday‚??s matchup.
‚??I was actually scared. (Lehner) played really well and I missed the last two shootout attempts and didn‚??t really know what to do,‚?Ě Kuhnhackl said.
But when he got on the ice, what Kuhnhackl did was bury a wrist shot through the five-hole to give the Penguins a 1-0 shootout win. After an 0-4 start, the Penguins have climbed back to the .500 mark with a 5-5 record.
While Kuhnhackl‚??s score gave the Penguins the win, up to that point the game was all goaltending as Jeff Zatkoff and Lehner held the fort at both ends of the ice. Zatkoff stopped all 32 shots he faced to earn his second regulation shutout in the last three games.
Early on he had a hunch the game may be scoreless for a while after he watched his teammates pressure Lehner without getting a puck past him.
‚??I think at that point I knew it was going to be one (goal) would win it,‚?Ě Zatkoff said. ‚??You know you‚??re in a situation where most likely whoever gives up that first one will be the only one that gets by.‚?Ě
Both teams had several good chances throughout, both during even strength and on the power play.
The Penguins best opportunity came in the second period when two Binghamton penalties gave them 1:55 of a two-man advantage. The closest they came, however, was when Beau Bennett‚??s shot from the corner hit the post.
Binghamton had seven power play chances but the Penguins penalty kill stifled each opportunity.
Over the last six games, the Penguins penalty kill is a perfect 31-for-31.
The Penguins defense came up big during even strength as well, highlighted by a charging Brian Gibbons, who caught up to Binghamton‚??s Shane Prince on a breakaway and knocked the puck away before he could shoot late in the third.
‚??We knew we were playing against a team that if they had any break they were a pretty deadly group,‚?Ě Hynes said.
The Penguins penalty kill came up big in the third period as they killed off three Binghamton power plays, including a four-minute stretch after the newly-signed Bobby Farnham made contact with Lehner as he covered the puck.
Farnham, who signed a PTO on Wednesday, played physically throughout the night and generated momentum on the play. Hynes wasn‚??t upset with the penalty.
‚??We‚??ll kill that one,‚?Ě Hynes said. ‚??That‚??s one your team will kill. He‚??s trying to get your team going. That‚??s energy.‚?Ě
The stellar defense continued as Zatkoff stretched out to make a skate save on a Corey Cowick backhand in the final seconds to send the game into overtime and eventually a shootout.
After each side exchanged a pair of goals in the first four rounds of the shootout, Kuhnhackl connected in the eighth round to give the Penguins the extra point and the win.
‚??Hopefully we don‚??t make a habit of it, but it‚??s two points,‚?Ě Zatkoff said of the scoreless tie heading into a shootout. ‚??It‚??s big for us. We climbed up to .500 and have done a good job taking it one game at a time.‚?Ě
‚?Ę The Penguins signed Farnham to a professional tryout agreement on Wednesday. Farnham, 23, spent four seasons at Brown University and made his pro debut last season with Providence and Worcester. He suited up for Wednesday‚??s game and displayed a physical edge, throwing several big hits and earning two minor penalties.
‚?Ę The last time the Penguins went into a shootout with a 0-0 tie was in the second game of last season with Scott Munroe in net. They lost that contest 1-0.
‚?Ę D Joey Mormina, D Joseph Morrow, C Zach Sill (upper body), C Jayson Megna, C Domink Uher and D Alex Grant were scratched for the Penguins.
First Period -- Scoring ‚?? None. Penalties ‚?? WBS, Despres (interference) 3:44; BNG, Cannone (hooking) 6:07; BNG, Zibanejad (interference) 8:49; WBS, Peters (tripping) 11:15.
Second Period -- Scoring ‚?? None. Penalties ‚?? BNG, Hoffman (slashing) :02; WBS, Thompson (slashing) :02; WBS, Strait (tripping) 1:28; BNG, Prince (tripping) 5:39; BNG, Borowiecki (high-sticking - double-minor) 5:44; BNG, Dziurzynski (cross-checking) 15:11; WBS, Tangradi (boarding) 17:02.
Third Period -- Scoring ‚?? Penalties ‚?? BNG, Petersson (roughing) 4:40; WBS, Farnham (roughing, goaltender interference) 4:40; WBS, Gibbons (slashing) 9:10; WBS, Holzapfel (tripping) 15:38; BNG, Dziurzynski (interference) 15:46.
Overtime -- Scoring ‚?? None. Penalties ‚?? BNG, Hoffman (tripping) 4:13.
Shootout -- BNG ‚?? Silfverberg ‚?? NG; Zibanejad ‚?? G; Prince ‚?? NG; Petersson ‚?? G; Jessiman ‚?? NG; Hoffman ‚?? NG; Pageau ‚?? NG; Eckford ‚?? NG; WBS ‚?? Thompson ‚?? G; Bennett ‚?? NG; Smith ‚?? G; Ferriero ‚?? NG; Holzapfel ‚?? NG; Tangradi ‚?? NG; Dupuis ‚?? NG; Kuhnhackl ‚?? G
Shots on goal -- Binghamton ‚?? 8-11-10-3-32; Penguins ‚?? 11-10-6-7-34
Power play opportunities -- Binghamton ‚?? 0 of 7; Penguins ‚?? 0 of 8
Goaltenders -- Binghamton ‚?? Robin Lehner 4-2-0 (34 saves ‚?? 34 shots); Penguins ‚?? Jeff Zatkoff 3-4-0 (32-32)
Starters -- Binghamton ‚?? G Robin Lehner, D Patrick Wiercioch, D Andre Benoit, LW David Dziurzynski, C Derek Grant, RW Cole Schneider; Penguins ‚?? G Jeff Zatkoff, D Brian Strait, D Robert Bortuzzo, LW Brian Gibbons, C Warren Peters, RW Paul Thompson
Three Stars -- 1. WBS, Jeff Zatkoff (32 saves) 2. BNG, Robin Lehner (34 saves) 3. WBS, Kuhnhackl (shootout goal)
Referee ‚?? Ryan Murphy. Linesmen ‚?? Luke Murray, Jud Ritter
Attendance ‚?? 4,173