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WBS Penguins Bring Series Back Home with Game 5 Win

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Brad Thiessen pitched a 23-save shutout while Chris Collins broke a long shutout streak posted by Charlotte’s Mike Murphy, helping the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins stave off elimination with a 1-0 victory on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Arena in Game Five of the East Division Finals.

In yet another scoreless opening period, it was the Penguins who earned the game’s first power play 5:57 into the game. But the chance was wiped out after just a half of a minute when Ryan Craig was whistled for a penalty behind the Charlotte net. Each team’s penalty kill again stood tall, and despite being outshot 15-6 in the frame, the Checkers had the best scoring chance about halfway through when a point shot deflected high in the air, off of Brad Thiessen and then off of the left goal post.
The second period featured strong defense from both teams, with only nine combined shots on goal.
Charlotte’s Bryan Rodney then took a hooking penalty at 6:53 of the third period, sending the Penguins to their fifth power play of the game. With three seconds left on the man advantage, Ryan Craig worked the puck back to Bryan Lerg, who was covering the left point. As the power play expired, Lerg floated a wrist shot toward the slot, which was deflected by the stick of Chris Collins and into the Charlotte net at 8:54.
The Checkers pressured in the final two minutes of the game, but Thiessen stood his ground to earn the win. He improves to 6-5 with his second shutout of the series, while Murphy takes the loss and falls to 6-3 with 32 saves.
The Penguins finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The win ensures that the series shifts back to Mohegan Sun Arena tomorrow, May 7 for a 7:05 pm faceoff in Game Six. Individual tickets are on sale at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, through any TicketMaster outlet, online at, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.  If necessary, Game Seven will also be played in Wilkes-Barre on Monday, May 9 at 7:05 pm.
NOTES: The Penguins are now 12-7 in playoff Game Fives, and 6-4 on the road in Game Fives… The Penguins have a record of 5-2 all-time following a Game Four loss… The Penguins have an all-time record of 14-9 when facing elimination… G Mike Murphy hadn’t allowed a goal since the 13:23 mark of the first period in Game Three on Monday, a goal also scored by Chris Collins… The Penguins scratched defensemen Viktor Ekbom and Carl Sneep, forwards Andy Bathgate, Jesse Boulerice, Ryan Schnell and Ben Street, and goaltender Alexander Pechurskiy… The Checkers scratched defensemen Zack FitzGerald, Ethan Graham and Rasmus Rissanen, forwards Mike McKenzie, Cedric McNicoll, Matthew Pistilli and Jared Staal, and goaltender Bobby Goepfert.
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