WILKES-BARRE TWP. – It wasn’t the start the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins wanted, and that includes the game and the series.
The Providence Bruins erupted for four goals in the first eight minutes of Friday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup to beat the Penguins 4-0. Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg stopped all 20 shots he faced as the Penguins were shut out for the first time this postseason, thanks in part to an effort that could’ve been better.
“(Providence) did everything we thought they were going to do, and we didn’t do anything we wanted to do,” said head coach John Hynes. “Our attention to detail and game plan was not there during that span and we paid for it.”
While the Penguins struggled to generate offense all night, it didn’t take long for the Bruins to find theirs. They scored within the first two minutes of the opening frame after Scott Harrington failed to clear the zone and Alexander Khokhlachev banked home a pass down low to make it 1-0.
After that it was all Bruins.
Craig Cunningham tapped in another pass down low at 7:03 on the power play, followed by Andrew Cherniwchan’s goal at the corner 45 seconds later.
Fifteen seconds after Providence made it 3-0, Khokhlachev scored again on a two-on-one to give the Bruins three goals on three shots, and four on their first seven shots of the game, and that all happened within the first eight minutes.
“We had a lapse and they’re a high-powered team,” said Nick Drazenovic, who was one of several of the Penguins offensive weapons who didn’t get a shot on net. “We were a little too tentative, let off our game plan and they capitalized. You can’t do that.”
The Penguins did get some power-play time in the second period, including more than 1:30 on the two-man advantage, but they couldn’t get anything past Svedberg all night.
While Hynes said there were some positives to take from the 50 minutes of the game when Providence wasn’t scoring, he emphasized that the reason behind the loss was on his team.
“There are always things you can take from it, but I think the big thing is we got beat by a better team. They played to their identity better than we did,” he said.
One thing that Drazenovic said the Penguins will take from the game is they got a good look at just how dangerous the Bruins are, and now they have Game 2 tonight to respond.
“It’s a seven-game series for a reason. They got four goals in the first period of the first game of the series. Here we go,” he said.
- G Eric Hartzell, D Philip Samuelsson (injury), C Mike Carman, LW Anton Zlobin, D Nick D’Agostino, D Harrison Ruopp, C Andrew Ebbett (injury), RW Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, RW Bryan Rust, RW Josh Archibald and LW Scott Wilson were scratched for the Penguins.
- The last time the Penguins were shutout in the postseason was June 1 of last year when they were eliminated by Syracuse in a 7-0 loss.
- The Penguins lost Game 1 to Providence in last year’s series by a score of 8-5 and came back to beat the Bruins in seven games. Still, Hynes wasn’t about to look back. “Last year was last year. We wanted to come out and win theis game tonight, and we didn’t play well enough to win it,” he said. “Our job now is to rectify what happened. We need to be a better team.”
Providence 4 Penguins 0
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals
(Providence leads series 1-0)
Providence 4 0 0 — 4
Penguins 0 0 0 — 0
First Period: Scoring – 1. PRO, Alexander Khokhlachev 3 (Lindblad) 1:33. 2. PRO, Craig Cunningham 2 (Khokhlachev, Spooner) power play 7:03. PRO, Andrew Cherniwchan 1 (Johnson, Fallstrom) 7:48. 4. PRO, Alexander Khokhlachev 4 (Lindblad) 8:03. Penalties – WBS, Harrington (holding) 6:38; PRO, Morrow (holding the stick) 11:38; WBS, Kostopoulos (hooking, roughing) 12:35.
Second Period: Scoring – None. Penalties – PRO, Fallstrom (holding) 18:14; PRO, Svedberg (delay of game – restricted area) 18:40; WBS, Despres (slashing) 19:48.
Third Period: Scoring – None. Penalties – PRO, Robins (holding) 4:30; PRO, Griffith (tripping) 11:03; WBS, Kostopoulos (boarding) 11:58; WBS, Despres (delay of game) 13:27; WBS, Farnham (roughing, misconduct) 17:05; WBS, Harrington (slashing) 19:37; WBS, Machacek (misconduct) 19:37.
Shots: Providence – 11-5-12-28; Penguins – 8-8-4-20
Power-play Opportunities: Providence – 1 of 8; Penguins – 0 of 5
Goaltenders: Providence – Niklas Svedberg 3-2 (20 saves – 20 shots); Penguins – Peter Mannino 3-2 (24-28)
Starters: Providence – G Niklas Svedberg, D David Warsofsky, D Zach Trotman, LW Craig Cunningham, C Ryan Spooner, RW Justin Florek; Penguins – G Peter Mannino, D Reid McNeill, D Simon Despres, LW Bobby Farnham, C Zach Sill, RW Dominik Uher
Three Stars: 1. PRO, Niklas Svedberg (20 saves, shutout) 2. PRO, Alexander Khokchlachev (two goals, assist) 3. PRO, Matt Lindblad (two assists)
Referee – Trevor Hanson, Dave Lewis. Linesmen – Bob Fyrer, Francis Trempe
Attendance – 3,170