STRONG SECOND SENDS B-SENS PAST PENGUINS
BINGHAMTON, New York – Jim O’Brien broke a 2-2 tie in the second period and started a stretch of four unanswered goals to help the Binghamton Senators to a 6-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.
It was the Penguins who opened the scoring just 2:05 into the contest with hard physical play by rookie forward Eric Tangradi. With two Binghamton players covering him in the right corner, Tangradi was knocked down as he fed the puck up the right half wall to Joe Vitale. Vitale’s bank pass came to Deryk Engelland at the right point, and the defenseman promptly slapped the puck through traffic and past Senators netminder Mike Brodeur for his fourth goal of the season.
The hosts would tie the score on their first power play of the game on a call which came just 1:44 after the Penguins took the lead. Brian Strait was whistled for hooking, and Kaspars Daugavins would tip a rebound of a Martin St. Pierre shot behind Penguins backstop Brad Thiessen. Daugavins would add his second of the game at 10:06, pushing a shot underneath Thiessen after Josh Hennessy worked the puck in front from the right corner.
Then with 5:50 remaining in the period, B-Sens defenseman Craig Schira lost his balance while skating back to retrieve a puck in the Binghamton defensive zone. Dustin Jeffrey picked up the puck at the top of the left circle, skated in front of the net and slipped a backhander through the pads of Brodeur for his team-leading 70th point of the season.
With the score tied at two in the second frame, the Sens ended up with two players in alone on Thiessen, who gambled on a poke-check. Missing the puck, Thiessen was down and out as O’Brien lobbed a shot into the upper-left corner of the open net. The B-Sens later got insurance while the Penguins worked on their third straight power play. With Jason Bailey off for high-sticking at 16:06, defenseman Drew Bannister made a long pass down the left boards for blueline partner Derek Smith. Skating stride-for-stride with a Penguins defenseman, Smith let go with an off-wing shot that handcuffed Thiessen just 23 seconds into the Penguins man advantage.
John Curry came on to replace Thiessen at the start of the third period, and his first true test after turning aside the first two shots he faced was Jonathan Cheechoo. The former San Jose Sharks leading goal scorer deked Curry down and deposited a backhander upstairs for a 5-2 Senators lead. Hennessy would finish off the scoring by stripping Chris Lee of the puck on the Penguins’ fourth power play of the game and finishing off a breakaway from his own blue line.
Thiessen took the loss and fell to 12-13-1, stopping 16 of 20 shots in 40 minutes of work. Curry had no decision, with four saves on six shots in 20 minutes of action. Brodeur improved to 12-11-1 by stopping 35 shots, including all 24 shots over the last two periods. The Penguins went 0-for-4 on the power play and allowed two shorthanded goals, while Binghamton finished 1-for-4.
The Penguins still trail second-place Albany by seven points with four games remaining, but their hold on third place is now down to three points (83-80) with Norfolk’s 2-1 win at Albany. With losses by Bridgeport (82 points) and Lowell (82 points), Binghamton’s slim playoff hopes remain alive as they trail both teams by eight points with five games left to play.
The Penguins continue their early-April road trip with their fifth and final visit to Virginia on Wednesday, as they face off against the Norfolk Admirals at 7:15 pm at Norfolk Scope Arena. The team returns home on Friday, April 9 to take on the Albany River Rats at 7:05 pm. It is the Penguins’ annual Fan Appreciation Night, this year presented by PPL Electric Utilities. Every fan entering the Mohegan Sun Arena will receive a scratch-off card, all of which will bear a prize! Tickets are available
NOTES: The Penguins scratched D Alex Grant, LW Wade Brookbank, LW Casey Pierro-Zabotel, LW Ryan Bayda, and C Keven Veilleux…The Penguins allowed six goals for the third time this season and are 0-3-0-0 in those games… C Dustin Jeffrey became the third Penguins player in history to reach 70 points with his first-period goal, as he joins former Penguins Jeff Taffe (75, 2008-09) and Janne Pesonen (82, 2008-09).