Jarry Posts Shutout, Keeps Pens’ Playoff Hopes Alive
WILKES-BARRE TWP. - Neither a one-hour delay, nor the expected stingy Providence Bruins defense could derail the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ playoff push.
Jake Lucchini and Sam Miletic scored, and Tristan Jarry finally picked up his first shutout of the season in a 2-0 win over Providence on Wednesday at Mohegan Sun Arena. The win is the Penguins’ third straight, all over division opponents, and moved them only three points off both Providence and Hershey as the three teams jockey for two playoff spots in the Atlantic Division.
“It was a big game,” Lucchini said. “I don’t want to say it was make or break, but we kind of thought about it like that. We were fortunate to win it, and now we’re just that much closer.”
The game started at 8:05 p.m. after a transformer blew out, leaving the arena without power in the early evening. Any offensive electricity was also scarce throughout the game thanks to both teams’ active sticks and shot blocking, among other factors.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton struck first when Jarrett Burton fed Lucchini on an odd-man rush. Goaltender Zane McIntyre had plenty of time to slide to his right, but the rookie sent the puck right through the five-hole at 7:17 of the first period.
Jarry, after receiving his first game off in roughly a month on Saturday, was tested more as the night went on and finished with 23 saves. He made a good stop on Zach Senyshyn in the slot early in the third and in the final three minutes on a one-timer from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. He also helped the Penguins kill a pair of power plays in the second period.
“It feels like he’s had a few more (shutouts), because he’s played so well,” head coach Clark Donatelli said of Jarry. “Really happy. I thought the guys were blocking shots, especially going down the stretch, and I thought Jarry was awesome. He made big saves when he had to.”
The Penguins mustered only 12 shots through two periods, but got one more crucial push in the third thanks to its surging top line. Ryan Haggerty and Miletic caught Providence on a 2-on-1, and the latter rifled a wrist shot from the slot that sailed over the shoulder of McIntyre at 6:21.
The goal was Miletic’s 10th overall and gave him at least one point in four consecutive contests.
Meanwhile, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton practiced the discipline that Donatelli preached during the week and stayed out of the penalty box the rest of the way. Its defense held Providence to only seven shots in the final frame.
Donatelli said the team has really focused on improving its D-zone coverage - such as its general decision-making, getting the support player in the right spot and knowing when to double up - and it showed with Wednesday’s effort.
The Bruins first pulled McIntyre inside of three minutes remaining, but they struggled to even get set up in the zone. One final pass to the blue line skipped out of the zone with about 30 seconds left and ended any threat of a goal.
“I thought we were pretty good all third period,” Lucchini said. “We were rolling lines, everyone was playing short shifts, so we had confidence in each other and what we were doing.”
Jarry became the third Penguins netminder to record a shutout this season, and he has allowed only two goals over his last three starts against Providence.
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Penguins 2, Providence 0
Providence 0 0 0 — 0
Penguins 1 0 1 — 2
First period: Scoring - 1, WBS, Lucchini (Burton, Hayes), 7:17. Penalties - Pro, Breen, check to the head 18:30.
Second period: Scoring - None. Penalties - WBS, Lafferty, hooking 1:02; Pro, Forsbacka Karlsson, hooking 9:06; WBS, Taylor, holding 13:05; Pro, Blidh, slashing 15:57.
Third period: Scoring - 2, WBS, Miletic (Haggerty, Lafferty), 6:21. Penalties None.
Shots on goal: Pro 6 10; WBS 7 5.
Goaltenders: Pro, McIntyre (20 saves on 22 shots); WBS, Jarry (23 saves on 23 shots).
Power-play opportunities: Pro 0 for 2; WBS 0 for 3.
Referees: Brandon Schrader and Ward Pateman. Linesmen: Jud Ritter and Tom DellaFranco.
1. Penguins G, Tristan Jarry 23-save shutout
2. Penguins F Sam Miletic, goal
3. Penguins F Jake Lucchini, goal
By the numbers
17 — penalties killed, out of 19, for the Penguins over their last five games.
Forwards: Sam Miletic-Sam Lafferty-Ryan Haggerty
Jake Lucchini-Jarrett Burton-Jimmy Hayes
Joseph Cramarossa-Joseph Blandisi-Anthony Angello
Linus Olund-Cam Brown-Pat McGrath
Defensemen: Juuso Riikola-Chris Summers
Kevin Czuczman-Jeff Taylor
Matt Abt-Ethan Prow
Goaltenders: Tristan Jarry-John Muse
• Earlier in the day, the Boston Bruins announced a 10-year extension to keep their affiliate in Providence. The teams have been together since 1992, when Providence made its debut.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is back at Mohegan Sun Arena for a 7:05 p.m. tilt Saturday against the Springfield Thunderbirds.