Division Lead Cut to Three: WBS Pens Lose to Norfolk Again, 7-4

This picture I took pretty much sums up tonight's game - 150 penalty minutes in the final minute of the game. And yes that is Norfolk's Radko Gudas (#23 on left) holding at least three helmets in his grasp.

A disappointing loss for the Penguins, who lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.  They haven't beaten Norfolk this season in three meetings. Anyone who paid for a ticket to tonight's game saw more excitement than they could probably handle: 11 goals, a bunch of fights and 240 total penalty minutes.


Lineup notes and a quick recap after the jump.  I will put up a preview tomorrow before the Pens finish three games in three nights at 4:00 p.m. against the Albany Devils, in Atlantic City, N.J. rather than in Albany.

Lineup Notes:

The Penguins forward depth has really taken a hit the past 24 hours.  Their top scorer, Dustin Jeffrey, was called up to Pittsburgh. Their second best point-getter, Tim Wallace, didn't play tonight.  Joey Haddad was recalled again from Wheeling after being sent to the ECHL yesterday.

Brad Thiessen got the start tonight but after allowing three goals in a three minute span he was replaced by John Curry.  Since Curry came in tonight, I'm not sure who will be in net tomorrow.

 

Recap:

The Penguins, like last night in Norfolk, set the tone physically with two fights in the first four seconds of the game.  The third fight came 18 seconds later, and the fourth just 1:55 into the opening period.

But Norfolk took advantage of Eric Tangradi being foolish, and scored the first goal of the game on the tail end of a four minute powerplay. 

Tangradi got the Pens back into the game in the second period with his 9th of the season. But then the Penguins seemed to let up.  Norfolk quickly chased Thiessen with three goals in three minutes and the Penguins looked down and out, trailing 4-1 heading into the third.

The Penguins never gave up.  Down by three heading into the third the team knew they had to dig deep and find a way to climb back into the game.  Without their top two scorers someone needed to step up. 

Tangradi did just that.  Just 2:40 into the final period Tangradi got credit for his second goal of the game, although I think Corey Potter's slapshot from the point went in off a Norfolk defenseman's stick - not the screening Tangradi.

Keven Veilleux got the Penguins within one, and Joey Haddad tied the game at four but they couldn't take the lead. After an empty net goal and a powerplay goal in the last second of the game, Norfolk escaped with the 7-4 win.

The excitement didn't end after the Pens scored three in the third to tie it at four.  During the last minute the two teams combined for 150 penalty minutes.  There were multiple five on five scraps and the referee ended the game early after Norfolk scored with 0.3 seconds left, preventing the few remaining players of both teams to beat on each other any further.

Looking Ahead:

The Penguins have no time to sulk over their back-to-back losses to Norfolk.  They will travel to Atlantic City to take on the Albany Devils tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  Hopefully Tim Wallace will be able to play tomorrow. Not sure if he was banged up from last night's game or hurt in the morning skate, but Wallace didn't take the warmup tonight.

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