Tomas Vokoun made his return to the ice a successful one, stopping 23 shots through regulation and overtime, then turning aside all four shootout attempts he saw, to help the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 3-2 win against the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night.
Vokoun, who last played in an AHL game 15 years and 364 days ago (a 2-1 Fredericton loss against St. John’s on April 12, 1998), saw his first action of the season after developing a blood clot in his hip during Pittsburgh Penguins training camp in September.
The win, coupled with overtime losses by the Hershey Bears and Norfolk Admirals, dropped the Penguins’ (41-23-3-5, 90 points) magic number to clinch a 12th consecutive playoff spot to one point.
While Vokoun, a veteran of 700 NHL games, handled the defensive duties, it was Chuck Kobasew, a seasoned scorer with 600 games in the NHL, who handled the offensive side of things.
Entering the game with eight goals in 10 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Kobasew sandwiched a pair of power play tallies around man advantage goals from the Crunch’s Vladislav Namestnikov and Jon DiSalvatore, accounting for all of the regulation scoring on the night.
Anton Zlobin scored on the Penguins’ first shootout attempt, and Spencer Machacek beat Cedric Desjardins in the fifth round, while Vokoun shut out the home squad in the shootout round to record the victory.
Andrew Ebbett assisted on Kobasew’s first period goal to extend his team-record assist streak to 12 games.
The Penguins can sew up a playoff spot tomorrow night when they host the Binghamton Senators at 7:05pm. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton finishes up its 2013-14 home schedule on Sunday afternoon when the Toronto Marlies visit at 4:05pm.
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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