NORFOLK, Va. – Standing in the slot, in the face of goalie Viktor Fasth, under banners he helped earn on the same ice a season ago en route to a Calder Cup championship, Trevor Smith was trying to get out of the way of a slap shot fired by Alex Grant.
In ducking, Smith stuck out his stick and tipped the puck past Fasth to break a 2-2 tie, score a power play goal and push the Penguins to a 4-2 win Tuesday at Scope Arena.
Home ice, cracked Smith, a linchpin in Norfolk's Calder Cup run. Really, I haven't been back here since the parade (through downtown to celebrate the title). It was nice to be back.
The goal, scored at 17:10 of the third, was credited to Grant on the official scoresheet. A change will have to be requested by the Penguins.
They and goalie Brad Thiessen were helped mightily by a defense that held the Admirals to 13 shots overall and one shot in the first 10 minutes of each of the last two periods. The Penguins outshot Norfolk 10-3 and 11-3 in those periods.
We've been playing good team defense lately, said Pens coach John Hynes. The guys have really shown a commitment.
He acknowledged the difficulty in preparing for a team the Penguins lost to only two weeks earlier. With the lockout ending, Norfolk sent seven players to Anaheim, its NHL parent, and what was left was bolstered by players who just got into town.
This is the way it was going to be with the lockout ending, said Hynes, who sent 16 players to Pittsburgh for a scrimmage today. The Pens don't play again until meeting Hershey on Sunday in the annual outdoor game.
It will get more normal, but you're going to see some of this all season, said Hynes, referring to anticipated turnover because of the physical demands of a 48-games-in-99-days NHL season.
Riley Holzapfel also scored on a 5-on-3 power play goal, and Paul Thompson scored at even strength for the Penguins, who also got an empty net goal from Brian Gibbons.
Grant had two assists. He is among those finally getting playing time with teammates moved to the NHL for training camp.
I figured it would happen eventually, said Grant, I sort of figured that the lockout would end and I would get my chance.
And make the most of it.
Norfolk set a franchise low with its 13 shots on goal. The Admirals' previous low was 15 against the Penguins in 2009.
Scoring: 1. Norfolk, Schaus, 1, (Bodie, Mitchell) 6:56. Penalties: Penguins, Smith (fighting), :49; Norfolk, Kennedy (fighting), :49; Penguins, MacIntyre (elbowing), 3:09; Penguins, Farnham (fighting), 19:37; Norfolk, Kurtz (fighting), 19:37; Norfolk, Guentzel (double minor, high sticking), 19:56.
Scoring: 2. Penguins, Holzapfel, 10, (Grant, Dumoulin), power play, 3:07. Penalties: Norfolk, Bodie (tripping), 2:17; Penguins, Morrow (interference), 14:22; Penguins, bench (too many men), 16:35.
Scoring: 3. Penguins, Thompson, 12, (Holzapfel, Grant), 4:49. 4. Norfolk, Brittain, 2, (Pelley, Fasth), power play, 14:46. 5. Penguins, Grant, 1, (Dumoulin, Holzapfel), power play, 17:10. 6. Penguins, Gibbons, 5, shorthanded, empty net, 19:32. Penalties: Penguins, Smith (slashing), 13:19; Norfolk, Pelley (roughing), 15:57; Penguins, Holzapfel (delay of game), 18:19.
Penguins, Thiessen, 13 shots, 11 saves.
Norfolk, Fasth, 28 shots, 25 saves.