The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Providence Bruins ranked one and two in defense during the American Hockey League’s regular season.
So how does one explain 11 goals combined in Sunday afternoon’s Game Two?
“I don’t think you expect any playoff game to be 6-5,” said Penguins defenseman David Warsofsky. “Sometimes the bounces go that way.”
They were certainly going Warsofsky’s way on Sunday, as the former Bruins blueliner recorded four points, including a pair of goals just 23 seconds apart to open the afternoon’s scoring.
“I think our whole mentality is get pucks to the net, and they went in,” said Warsofsky, who blasted a one-timer from the point for the Pens’ first goal, then snuck a second through traffic and past goaltender Zane McIntyre off an offensive zone faceoff. “I got a couple of bounces there. I’ve had a shot mentality for a long time this year and you get lucky once in a while.”
Derrick Pouliot’s overtime winner didn’t come in the normal fashion for the Penguins defenseman. It wasn’t a big bomb from the point or wicked writer form the slot that beat McIntyre and sent the team to victory. Instead it was a patient approach and a bank shot off of the goaltender’s back leg that allowed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to even the series at a game apiece.
Pouliot started the play with a puck retrieval at the Penguins’ blue line, then hit Garrett Wilson with a tape-to-tape past through the neutral zone. Wilson moved the puck to Kevin Porter on the left side, as Pouliot came tearing down the board. Porter dumped the puck off to Pouliot, who angled in on goal.
“I had enough speed where I backed the d-man off,” said Pouliot. “He’s a good goalie. He came out and took away pretty much everything I had on the shot. I was able to fake him out and get around and bank it in off his leg there.”
Pouliot’s goal upped the Penguins all-time record in playoff overtime games to 31-22, and 6-2 in overtime games against the Bruins.
Both Warsofsky (2+2) and Kevin Porter (0+4) recorded four-point games on Sunday, falling just one point shy of equalling the team record for points in a game.
Porter’s four helpers tied the team mark for assists in a playoff game. Chris Kelleher (April 13, 2001), Micki DuPoint (April 27, 2007), and Tom Kostopoulos (May 13, 2016), each picked up four assists in five point games.
Kostopoulos recorded an assist on Tom Sestito’s second period goal, giving the Penguins captain his 43rd playoff helper in a Penguins uniform, and his 66th point.
Casey DeSmith picked up his sixth career playoff win for the Penguins, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the team’s all-time list.
The best-of-five series now moves to Wilkes-Barre where the Penguins will play host to the Bruins in Games Three (Thursday) and Four (Friday) at 7:05pm. Individual tickets for both games are available at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com, or by calling 570-208-7367.