Nick Drazenovic’s goal at 1:02 of overtime was all that the Penguins needed, as Peter Mannino stopped all 25 shots he faced, and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins posted a 1-0 victory against the Albany Devils on Saturday night.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Penguins (40-22-3-5, 88 points) who moved into sole possession of first place in the East Division, thanks to a 6-3 Binghamton Senators loss to the Norfolk Admirals.
The Penguins also saw their magic number for clinching their 12th consecutive trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs fall to five.
After the loss, Albany (35-22-5-8, 83 points) sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with six games remaining on the season.
The lone goal of the game came courtesy of strong pressure by Penguins captain Tom Kostopoulos in the Albany end. His forechecking effort led to Joe Whitney coughing up the puck in the near corner, which Kostopoulos then fed to a streaking Drazenovic cross ice. Drazenovic’s initial one-timer was stopped by Keith Kinkaid, but the rebound fell right to his backhand, and he swept home his 13th of the season into the top of the Albany cage for the win.
Of course, that goal wouldn’t have been possible without the outstanding play of Peter Mannino. The current AHL goaltender of the month posted his second consecutive shutout (the second time this season he’s accomplished that feat), and stretched his shutout streak to 136:05, dating back to the 4:57 mark of the third period in a 2-1 win against the Norfolk Admirals on March 29.
The Penguins complete their three-in-three weekend with a 3:05pm contest against the Senators in Binghamton tomorrow afternoon.
Good seats for the final two Penguins regular season home games are available at the arena box office, online at TicketMaster.com or by calling 570-208-7367.
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