Despite having five of their top 10 scorers either called up to Pittsburgh or injured, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins don’t feel they need to change much in order to win.
Just stick to the system for a full 60 minutes and things will be fine.
At least that’s the approach when the Penguins take on East Division rival Hershey tonight at home.
“I know we’re missing a ton of guys, but that’s no excuse,” rookie defenseman Reid McNeill said. “We know we have to go into every game and work as a team and stick to the system. We don’t need to change our game at all.”
What the Penguins do need to change, however, is how they start their game.
In Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Springfield, the Penguins spotted the Falcons a two-goal lead and managed only six shots halfway through the game.
While the system may be fine, the start has to be better.
That’s something that winger Bobby Farnham said can be remedied with physical play.
“Being physical is one of our trademarks,” he said. “Especially with all the guys in Pitt, it’s really important to establish the physical element early against Hershey and let them know they’re going to be in for a tough game.”
To do that, the Penguins will need to hit the ice confident in their ability to play physical and execute their system for a full 60 minutes. Although Wednesday’s game ended in a loss, it also built their confidence heading into tonight.
“We were down 2-0 against a top team in the conference and came back to tie it up,” McNeill said. “We know we’re still a top team in this league and everyone in this room has confidence.”
And then there’s one last bit of motivation for the Penguins when they take on the Bears tonight.
“We had a good practice today and regrouped and now we go into a rivalry game at home on a Friday night,” McNeill added. “We’ll be ready for that.”
• We’ll never know what move Harry Zolnierczyk had in mind when he was pulled down from behind on a shorthanded breakaway attempt against Springfield on Wednesday. Well, that is unless Zolnierczyk is willing to share his plan for the shot that never was.
“I was going to cut in and try to chip it over his glove side,” Zolnierczyk said after Thursday’s practice. “The penalty shot move was different. It was something I’ve been working on in practice.”
What was Zolnierczyk’s initial thought when he got pulled down on the breakaway?
“Stop myself before I hit the boards,” he said. “I knew it was going to be a penalty and you always love it when it’s a penalty shot.”