WILKES-BARRE TWP. – It’s common for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to watch video the day after a game to see what they did well and what needs to be improved.
After Friday’s 6-5 loss to the Albany Devils in a game filled with mistakes and turnovers, today’s video session could be lengthy.
“There will be a lot of tape to watch,” said defenseman Brendan Mikkelson, who had a third period rebound ricochet off his body and into the net for what turned out to be the game-winning goal for Albany.
“Not much went right. There’s a lot of things that need to be looked at.”
With the game tied 5-5 in the third period, a shot from Albany’s Mike Sislo was stopped by Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, but the rebound hit Mikkelson in front and bounced back into the net to give Albany a 6-5 lead that would stick for the win. It was one of only several miscues for the Penguins, who gave up a season-high six goals in just their second regulation loss (8-2-0-2).
Head coach John Hynes said virtually every aspect of his team’s play was to blame.
“Yes,” Hynes said. “We weren’t good in any phase.”
Albany steamrolled the Penguins in the first period, scoring three goals in the first half, including one on the power play. Harry Zolnierczyk did sandwich a Penguins goal in between when he skated into the slot and shot into the top corner of the net to cut Albany’s lead to 3-1.
The three goals were the most allowed by the Penguins in a period this season.
“Our start wasn’t great and we were chasing all game,” said winger Chris Conner. “It just wasn’t good enough”
Albany kept at it in the second and had a bit of help from Penguins’ turnovers. While on the power play, defenseman Nick D’Agostino turned the puck over in the low slot, allowing Sislo to connect shorthanded. Another turnover later in the period – again in the defensive zone — led to another Albany goal.
The Penguins did score a pair of goals as well, including a shot under the crossbar by Scott Harrington and a power play tally from Tom Kostopoulos, to keep Albany’s lead to two, 5-3 to end the period.
After two periods, goaltender Peter Mannino allowed five goals on 19 shots, but a couple of turnovers and breakdowns did absolve him from some responsibility.
Still, head coach John Hynes elected to start Deslauriers for the third period.
“A lot of times you can look at the goaltender, but if you’re giving up five, six goals in a game nothing you did defensively is good enough,” Hynes said. “Defensively, you were not good as a group.”
At the other end, the Penguins struck back quickly scoring two goals in the first two minutes to even things up at 5-5. Mike Carman scooped up a loose puck in front and shot it top shelf to make it 5-4 at 1:19. Forty seconds later Conner threw the puck in front of the net, where it deflected off traffic in front and past Albany netminder Keith Kinkaid.
Carman’s goal was his first of the season and Conner’s was his second in the last three games.
Deslauriers came up big several times in the period, including a stop on Tim Sestito on a breakaway at the midway point.
The Penguins did have a 5-on-3 power play late in the game while down by a goal, but as was the theme of the night they couldn’t connect.
“There were a lot of mistakes tonight, myself included,” Mikkelson said. “It’s disappointing, especially on a Friday night at home coming off a loss on Wednesday.”
• D Peter Merth (injury), D Reid McNeill, C Nick Drazenovic (injury), RW Paul Thompson, LW Anton Zlobin and D Harrison Ruopp were scratched for the Penguins.
• With his goal in the first period, Zolnierczyk has now scored in three straight games and has seven goals in nine games on the season.
• The Penguins travel to Springfield on Sunday to take on the Falcons.
Albany 6, Penguins 5
Scoring – 1. ALB, Reid Boucher 4 (Timmins, Whitney) power play 4:50. 2. ALB, Rotislav Olesz 1 unassisted 7:34. 3. WBS, Harry Zolnierczyk 7 (Sill, Conner) 9:41. 4. ALB, Mike Sislo 2 (Scarlett, Kelly) 10:24. Penalties – WBS, Uher (holding) 2:51; WBS, Zolnierczyk (hooking) 13:19; ALB, Whitney (slashing) 16:53.
Scoring – 5. WBS, Scott Harrington 2 (Mikkelson, Kostopoulos) 2:26. ALB, Mike Sislo 3 (Olesz) shorthanded 6:50. 7. WBS, Tom Kostopoulos 4 (Ebbett, Uher) power play 7:33. 8. ALB, Kelly Zajac 1 (Sislo, Boucher) 15:14. Penalties – ALB, Hoeffel (high-sticking) 6:06; ALB, McKelvie (fighting) 15:16; WBS, Sill (fighting) 15:16; ALB, McPherson (hooking) 16:12; ALB, Kelly (hooking) 16:55; WBS, Zolnierczyk (tripping) 19:00.
Scoring – 9. WBS, Mike Carman 1 (Uher, Gibbons) 1:19. 10. WBS, Chris Conner 5 (Gibbons, Dumoulin) 2:05. 11. ALB, Mike Sislo 4 (Burlon, Sestito) power play 11:45. Penalties – WBS, Leblond (holding) 7:36; WBS, Conner (hooking) 11:00; ALB, bench – served by Pesonen (too many men) 13:00; ALB, Kelly (interference) 13:39; WBS, Gibbons (roughing) 17:51; ALB, Sestito (slashing, fighting) 19:56; WBS, Mikkelson (fighting) 19:56.
Shots on goal
Albany – 10-9-7-26
Penguins – 8-12—13-33
Albany – 2 of 6
Penguins – 2 of 8
Albany – Keith Kinkaid 2-1-1 (28 saves – 33 shots)
Penguins – Peter Mannino (14-19); Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers – start of the third period, 7-1-2 (6-7)
Albany – D Brandon Burlon, D Corbin McPherson, LW Stefan Matteau, C Rod Pelley, RW Tim Sestito
Penguins – D Brendan Mikkelson, D Scott Harrington, LW Bobby Farnham, C Zach Sill, RW Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond
1. ALB, Mike Sislo (hat trick) 2. ALB, Reid Boucher (goal, assist) 3. WBS, Chris Conner (goal, assist)
Referee – Darcy Burchell, Tim Mayer. Linesmen – Matt McNulty, Francis Trempe
Attendance – 5,821