WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Coming into Game 4, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Binghamton Senators played in eight straight one-goal games in the postseason.
It was a streak the Penguins were happy to do away with.
Powered by three second period goals and six consecutive power plays, the Penguins defeated the Senators 5-1 to win the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series 3-1 and advance to the next round.
“We improved from the end of the regular season going into this series,” head coach John Hynes said. “The big thing in this series is we learned some lessons from the first two games, and were able to take care of business in Games 3 and 4.”
The Senators got themselves into the game quickly, peppering Peter Mannino with shots right off the start, including six on an early power play.
It was a start the Penguins expected.
“Their season was on the line and you expect that from a really good team,” Mannino said. “Their guys were ready and we weathered the storm.”
It didn’t take long for the Penguins to take the Senators out. Chuck Kobasew got things started when he roofed an Andrew Ebbett pass during a power play. Kobasew immediately pointed to the top of the net even though the goal wasn’t called. During the next stoppage, however, a video review proved Kobasew was right and the Penguins had a 1-0 lead.
“After they threw everything they had at us, to get that power play goal was a huge relief off our shoulders,” Ebbett said.
Binghamton made a constant parade to the penalty box through the first two periods, giving the Penguins eight power plays, including a pair of two-man advantages.
“It was a rare thing,” Hynes said. “It’s not often you get that, but the good thing is we were able to captalize.”
Brian Dumoulin’s slapshot during the opening minutes of the second period – which came on a 5-on-3 power play — gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
Dominik Uher made it 3-0 seconds after the Penguins killed off Binghamton’s first power play, and Ebbett put the home team up by four after Kobasew sprung him on a breakaway late in the second period.
Still, the Penguins weren’t ready to sit back even with a 4-0 lead.
“It’s nice to have the lead, but when you go through these things sometimes you like a 2-0 lead a little better,” Hynes said. “Sometimes when you get that big lead you exhale and the other team keeps coming.”
While the Penguins offense clicked, Mannino was stellar as well, highlighted by a save in the first period when he reached out to take the puck away from Jean-Gabriel Pageau during a 3-on-1 rush.
Binghamton did ruin Mannino’s shutout bid four minutes into the third period with a power play goal by Shane Prince, but other than that the Penguins goaltender was on the mark all night.
He staved off a Binghamton comeback late in the third when Pageau drove to the net and tried to roof a backhander over Mannino, who was down on the ice. Mannino was able to snare the shot and maintain the Penguins’ three-goal lead.
After Binghamton pulled goaltender Andrew Hammond with more than four minutes remaining, Harry Zolnierczyk iced the game with an empty net goal at the two minute mark to make it 5-1.
The Penguins opponent for the next round will be either St. John’s or Providence, depending on the outcome of today’s games.
• G Eric Hartzell, G Jeff-Drouin Deslauriers, D Philip Samuelsson (injury), C Mike Carman, RW Spencer Machacek (veteran scratch), LW Anton Zlobin (injury), D Nick D’Agostino, D Harrison Ruopp, RW Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond, RW Josh Archibald and LW Scott Wilson were scratched for the Penguins.
• Over the last two games, the Penguins had 14 power plays compared to five for Binghamton.
• Hynes said Anton Zlobin is day-to-day. If the next series starts late in the week, he could be back.
• A key to the series-clinching win was the Penguins’ ability to finish checks. Ebbett said that was something that captain Tom Kostopoulos discussed with the team before the game. “He said keep wearing them down. They have some really good defensemen back there who like to move the puck and don’t like to get hit,” Ebbett said. “We made a concerted effort to finish our checks and wear them down.”
Penguins 5, Binghamton 1
Easter Conference quarterfinals
(WBS wins series, 3-1)
Scoring – 1. WBS, Chuck Kobasew 3 (Ebbett, Dumoulin) power play 11:38. Penalties – WBS, bench – served by Farnham (too many men) 3:30; BNG, Wideman (holding) 8:45; BNG, Grant (interference) 11:22; BNG, Wideman (delay) 11:27; BNG, Robinson (slashing) 15:01; BNG, Grant (delay) 16:09.
Scoring – 2. WBS, Brian Dumoulin 1 (Ebbett, Drazenovic) power play 1:19. 3. WBS, Dominik Uher 1 (Rowney) 9:01. Penalties – BNG, Dziurzynski (high-sticking) :30; WBS, Rowney (holding the stick) 6:41; BNG, Cowick (slashing) 9:36; BNG, Kramer (roughing) 9:36; WBS, Goers (hooking) 9:36; BNG, O’Brien (boarding) 14:23; WBS, Zolniercyk (diving) 14:23; BNG, Da Costa (slashing, unsportsmanlike conduct) 18:10; WBS, Sill (charging) 18:10.
Scoring – 5. BNG, Shane Prince 1 (Da Costa, O’Brien) power play 3:50. 6. WBS, Harry Zolnierczyk (Kostopoulos) empty net 17:53. Penalties – BNG, Pageau (goaltender interference) :55; WBS, McNeill (slashing) 3:41; BNG, Mullen (roughing) 11:35; WBS, Farnham (diving) 11:35.
WBS, Rust – NG
Shots on goal
Binghamton – 13-4-10-27
Penguins – 11-10-3-24
Binghamton – 1 of 3
Penguins – 2 of 9
Binghamton – Andrew Hammond 1-3 (19 saves – 23 shots)
Penguins – Peter Mannino 3-1 (26-27)
Binghamton – D Mark Borowiecki, D Patrick Mullen, LW David Dziurzynski, C Jim O’Brien, RW Derek Grant
Penguins – D Brendan Mikkelson, D Scott Harrington, LW Bobby Farnham, C Zach Sill, RW Dominik Uher
1. WBS, Andrew Ebbett (goal, two assists) 2. WBS, Peter Mannino (26 saves, one goal allowed) 3. WBS, Brian Dumoulin (goal)
Referee – Jamie Koharski, Mark Lemelin. Linesmen – Bob Goodman, Jud Ritter
Attendance – 6,991