The Milwaukee Admirals won 1-0 on the road against the Cleveland Monsters Thursday night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The Admirals defense and goaltending was the story tonight in a very tight contest. Juuse Saros was making his return to game action after a quick back-up spell for the Nashville Predators. It was his first game since the first Saturday of November and he responded with a thirty-five save shutout over the Monsters. It was his first shutout of this season and fifth of his AHL career. The Admirals point streak is now up to seven games.
This game was about as tight as it has been yet this season. It wasn’t until 10:14 into the second period when the game saw a puck trickle past a goaltender. Even then the goal did not count. Aaron Palushaj raced down the left wing and swooped across the mouth of goal to put a shot in on Juuse Saros. It looked like the Admirals goaltender had made a spectacular glove save, he held the mitt out after the shot, but the puck crawled underneath him and glided across the line. The whistle did blow before it did. And, after a lengthy video review, it was determined to be no goal. The safe assumption for the reasoning being that the whistle came before the puck crossed the line.
The deadlock finally broke courtesy of an Admirals power-play goal before the midway point in the third period. Frédérick Gaudreau was stationed behind the net and timed a pass to the slot as Alex Carrier glided right to left in front of Anton Forsberg. The movement screened Forsberg just enough as Gaudreau’s pass met Matt White for a one-timer that hit twine for his team leading seventh goal of the season that finally broke the deadlock with 12:37 left to play in regulation. The Monsters had a run of killing twenty-nine consecutive penalties on home ice to start the season prior to White’s first career AHL power-play goal.
From that point forward a tip of the cap could go to the Admirals defense. Not only did the penalty kill deliver a perfect performance on the night, stopping all six Monsters power-play opportunities, but the lockdown the group provided made scoring chances so difficult to come by. There were multiple blocked shots and several great reads to be disrupted in passing lanes and clear the zone.
The Monsters had two late power-play chances. The final of which saw them take their timeout with 2:12 remaining and the players on the ice seemingly negotiated their way to playing with the net emptied as well as with the power-play advantage. For effectively having a two-man advantage the Monsters only posted one shot on goal in that last push. The Admirals defensively took care of the rest and helped guide Saros and the team to a shutout performance.
These two lock horns once again on Saturday. The start time is a tad unusual as far as Saturday games go, 4:00 PM CST. Note that. After the Admirals finish up in Cleveland they will return home on Wednesday to face-off against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Tuesday night there were a few roster moves made within the organization. The Nashville Predators reassigned Juuse Saros to the Admirals and in-turn the Admirals reassigned Mark Visentin to their ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones. Tonight not only saw the return of defenseman Adam Pardy who missed Tuesday’s game due to a lower-body injury but also saw a shake-up in the forward group with Justin Kirkland being rotated with Anthony Richard causing lines to shuffle. Tonight’s line combinations looked as follows: White-Smith-Fiala, Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Gaudreau, Richard-Florek-Görtz, Liambas-Girard-Payerl, Pardy-Carrier, Oligny-Granberg, Murphy-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were both healthy: Kirkland and Diaby. In tonight’s Nashville Predators game Pontus Åberg scored his first career NHL goal.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How well did the Milwaukee Admirals play as a team tonight? Do you feel Juuse Saros showed tonight that he could filter up and down between the Nashville Predators -if needed- to give Marek Mazanec a boost in game action at the AHL level?
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