RECORD TYING NIGHT FOR MINARD, PESONEN, PENS
PHILADELPHIA, PA - The scoring problems that plagued the Penguins for a three-week stretch appear to be a thing of the past.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rattled off six straight goals, then weathered a third period rally, to post an 8-5 win against the Philadelphia Phantoms at the Spectrum on Wednesday night. The win was the second in a row for the Penguins, who posted a 4-1 win against the Norfolk Admirals on Sunday.
The eight-goal output tied the team record for goals in a game, and gives the Pens 12 goals in the past two contests. They recorded just 14 in an eight-game span from February 21-March 7, during which time the team posted a 2-5-1-0 record.
The Pens also kept their power play rolling, scoring four times in nine tries on the man advantage. That tied the mark for power play goals in a road game, and gave the team seven in its past two games after picking up seven in just the previous 10.
“Our power play was outstanding. Outstanding work by both units,” said head coach Todd Reirden. “Right now it’s something that’s working well, and I hope it can continue the rest of the road trip for us.”
At the forefront of Wednesday’s offensive onslaught were Chris Minard and Janne Pesonen. Minard tied the team records for goals in a season (31) and career power play goals (31) with two tallies, while Pesonen picked up five points (1+4), equaling the team mark for points in a game. He also bypassed Jeff Taffe to take over the team scoring lead with 63 points (23+40), just four short of the Penguins single season record.
Barring any catastrophic occurrences, Minard will break the single-season deadlock with Toby Petersen (2002-03) and Michel Ouellet (2004-05).
“It’s good to get there. Hopefully the next one comes and I keep going. But I try not to think about it too much,” said Minard, who ranks third in the league in goals this season and first in power play goals (18). “I’ve been looking at it for two years, trying to get it. I had 32 once before in Lowell. Obviously knowing what the franchise record was, it’s been on my mind since I signed here, and I know I can reach it.”
The scoring came early and often, as Daniel Laliberte beat John Curry just 1:11 into the first period with a power play goal to give the Phantoms their only lead of the night.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton countered just 30 seconds later as Mark Letestu beat Scott Munroe with the Pens’ first shot of the night to extend his point streak to five games (3+6=9).
Paul Bissonnette put the Pens in front by picking up a loose puck on the right side of the net and sweeping a backhander into the cage at 3:02.
Nick Johnson put his first of the night in at the 5:39 mark, giving the visitors three goals on three shots and giving Munroe an early trip to the showers.
Minard closed out the first period and opened the second with power play tallies, and Johnson netted his second of the game at 5:38 to make the score 6-1.
The Penguins would end up needing every one of those goals, as Boyd Kane, Danny Syvret and Laliberte picked up the next three goals to cut the Phantoms’ deficit to 6-4, before Jeff Taffe and Pesonen tallied power play goals twice in a span of two-and-a-half minutes midway through third period to pad the score. Kane’s picked up his second of the contest and 15th of the season at 16:30 to finish off the scoring.
NOTES: Letestu tied his career high with four points (1+3) in the game…Both teams went four for nine on the power play...Three of Johnson's 11 goals this season have been game-winners.