GAME DAY BLOG: Falcons vs. Penguins
9:30 P.M. -- That's the hockey game, folks! The Falcons improve to 3-0-0 for the first time in franchise history with a thrilling 4-2 win over the Penguins tonight. Stay tuned to BlueJackets.com for more coverage following tonight's game at the MassMutual Center.
8:35 P.M. -- The second period was slightly tamer than the first, but there was still a lot of action between the Falcons and Penguins. Springfield retains its 2-0 lead after 40 minutes of play at MassMutual Center, but not without the stellar play in net from Curtis McElhinney.
QUICK TAKE: Springfield took its turn in penalty trouble to start the second period, but the penalty-killing unit did its job and limited the Penguins chances to the outside. The shooting lanes were clear, and when the Pens got pucks through to the net, McElhinney had a clean look and was able to make the stops.
Zatkoff was strong for the Pens, as well, turning aside bids from Cody Bass and Ryan Craig during one flurry around the cage.
Third period action is on the way in a few minutes from Springfield, with the Falcons seeking their third straight win to open the year.
7:40 P.M. -- Another flying start from the Falcons tonight. They're up 2-0 over the Baby Pens after 20 minutes of play at the MassMutual Center and hold a 10-6 edge in shots on goal. The Penguins controlled the first couple of minutes before it became a parade to the penalty box -- on which Springfield would capitalize.
QUICK TAKE: Jonathan Audy-Marchessault continues to pile up points. His power play goal in the first period gives him goals in back-to-back games (and PPGs, as well) and it gave the Falcons an early 1-0 lead at 5:43. With the Penguins spending the majority of the opening frame in the penalty box, the onus was on Springfield to take advantage. Using the "four forwards" formation that head coach Brad Larsen has come to employ, the Falcons put Ryan Craig at the front of the net as the screen, and JAM pounded a one-timer past goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.
Johnny Moore sent a wrister toward the goal later in the first period, and it gave Springfield a well-deserved 2-0 bulge at 15:07. It didn't appear that Zatkoff ever saw the puck (based on his reaction), and it was Matt Calvert causing trouble at the front of the net.
JAM's power play marker came on a 5-on-3 advantage, and Springfield finished the period 1-for-4 on the power play.
The second period gets under way in just a few minutes.
5:15 P.M. -- What's a game day blog without some pictures? Get caught up on the week that was for the Falcons, and get prepped for opening faceoff against the Penguins this evening...
4:30 P.M. -- Check out the Falcons' official game notes for tonight vs. the Penguins...
4:15 P.M. -- I wrote a spiffy game day preview for tonight's showdown at The Nest. Give it a read on BlueJackets.com by clicking here.
4:00 P.M. -- If head coach Brad Larsen uses the same lineup as he did last weekend, the following lines should be how the Falcons organize for tonight's game:
Audy-Marchessault - Johansen - Atkinson
Smith - Chaput - Collins
Calvert - Drazenovic - Kubalik
Craig - Joudrey - Bass
Holden - Savard
Moore - Prout
Erixon - Goloubef
3:30 P.M. -- This will be a very abbreviated version of the Springfield Falcons game day blog, but make no mistake: tonight's game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins is a big one for Springy.
Not only will the Falcons move to 3-0-0 for the first time ever with a victory, it will be an important step in carrying momentum over from opening weekend. They escaped with no major injuries (though Dalton Smith did get a scare) and held their own against two very good teams in the American Hockey League.
The Baby Pens are an interesting opponent because they're one of the few teams that hasn't received a lot of NHL-caliber help from the parent club. Are they still a solid club? Absolutely, but it's not an Oklahoma City situation with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins suiting for the farm club.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has a really good group of defensemen (and a large portion of the blue line hails from Boston College) that can join the rush and make plays from the back end, and they're a sturdy lot up front that isn't afraid to get in the opponents' face.
How do they matchup? It's hard to say, but one thing we can expect is a spirited hockey game. The Falcons have their preferred style of play and it's not a style that makes opposing teams like them -- and that's exactly how Springfield prefers it.
In honor of tonight's contest, allow us to properly get things started...with some help from the always-entertaining Peter Griffin.