Jarry, Johnson Help Pens Pick Up 2 Crucial Points
WILKES-BARRE TWP. —For 40 minutes, Tristan Jarry wasn’t tested much.
In the last 20 of regulation, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender didn’t have much time to relax.
But with Jarry’s acrobatics in net and a couple crucial penalty kills, the Penguins held on long enough to eventually get two points they desperately needed.
Adam Johnson roofed a backhand past Zane McIntyre 1:09 into overtime, giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a 2-1 win over the Providence Bruins at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Penguins moved within five points of the Bruins, whom they are chasing for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
“We’ll take the two points,” Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli said. “That’s a good hockey club over there, and they had some pushback. But, I thought Jarry was outstanding and our penalty kill was very good.”
That pushback manifested as 21 shots on Jarry in the final frame. Only one got by, a rebound goal by Ryan Fitzgerald off a shot from Karson Kuhlman in the high slot at 9:52 that tied the score.
Otherwise, Jarry made a big save on Kuhlman on one kill and was aided by a key shot block from Matt Abt. Later, he closed the five-hole on longtime NHLer Lee Stempniak and kicked his right pad high in the air to make another stop with the frame winding down.
Jarry made 36 saves total and was named the game’s first star.
“I don’t really focus too much on how many shots (I’m facing),” Jarry said. “Just one at a time, and making sure I’m focused on the puck in front of me.”
Early on, neither side could find much open space in the offensive zone.
The Penguins mustered only five shots in the first period, but started to control possession in the middle frame. Rookie Jake Lucchini finally broke through when Jimmy Hayes picked the pocket of Emil Johansson just beyond the blue line and led him toward the net. Hayes’ shot bounced off McIntyre’s shoulder, and the rookie kicked the puck onto his stick and beat the sprawling goaltender at 16:25.
There were lots of whistles for pucks out of play and icing violations, among other things, but the teams kept the game pretty clean. Only two minor penalties were committed over the first two periods.
Overtime didn’t last long, either, as Ethan Prow hit Johnson in stride along the left wall. The second-year pro shook off one defender before deking to his backhand and sending the large crowd into a frenzy.
Johnson glided along the ice with a huge fist pump, which Hayes jokingly asked him about in the media scrum after the game.
“It was a big goal; felt good,” Johnson answered with a smile.
McIntyre, who’s haunted the Penguins in the past, was again solid, making 26 saves to help his team get a point.
The Penguins have two games in hand on the Bruins and face them one more time at home. So, getting the extra point could prove important in a few weeks.
“We weathered the storm for a while,” Johnson said. “They had some chances, and we played well to not give them many more. We got the win, which was huge.”
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