Thursday, July 10, 2014

A little bit of everything

March 16. 2013 5:59PM

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A third period come-from-behind win? Check.
An overtime thriller? No problem.
How about a shootout victory? Yep, they did that to.
There are three ways to earn a win in a regular season hockey game, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins accomplished the trio last weekend.
On Friday they erased a 1-0 deficit by scoring twice in the final eight minutes to beat Adirondack in Philadelphia, 2-1.
The next night, back at home, Chad Kolarik tied the game in the third period and Joe Morrow scored in overtime to beat Connecticut, 2-1.
And on Sunday, the Penguins needed a shootout to beat Bridgeport, 2-1.
A major common theme here is the 2-1 scores. Does it mean anything or is it just coincidence?
It means something.
First, the Pens offense is a bit limited, scoring a total of six goals in the three games over the weekend. Normally such low goal production would be a problem, but not for the Penguins. Especially not when they allow a mere three goals total for the entire weekend.
I'm willing to bet such low-scoring games will be the norm from here on out.
But what's even more impressive from the weekend is the Penguins ability to win games in a multitude of ways. It shows this is a team that can come from behind, produce in pressure-filled situations such as overtime, and has strong enough goaltending and just enough offensive flair to win via a shootout.
Sure, defense may be their strong suit, but this Penguins team is pretty well-rounded.
In the end, I think this weekend really bodes well for the postseason when the pressure is at its highest. Teams that win playoff games are those that don't allow many goals, never give up and refuse to buckle no matter how intense things are.
Right now, that's the Penguins to a T.
- I plan on looking into a couple of things at practice today: Since Chad Kolarik became a Penguin on Jan. 24 he has four goals, three on the power play. He has also shot the puck 50 times in 14 games as a Penguin and has an astounding 181 shots on the season - almost 70 more than Trevor Smith's second highest-total of 113.
Pure and simple, Kolarik gives the Penguins a legitimate sniper. A go-to guy, if you will.
- I think the Penguins offense will soon get a boost with the impending returns of Paul Thompson and Steve MacIntyre. Why? Well, Thompson has established himself as a true goal scorer at this level and he gets his points by going to the gritty areas - something coach Hynes has said he wants to see happen more often.
And in MacIntyre's case, he might not put up the points, but his mere presence on the ice gives his teammates more room to operate without having to worry about being drilled or run into the boards. It's a simple equation: toughest guy in hockey=more room on the ice.
Come to think of it, maybe these 2-1 wins won't be the norm for long.

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