WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Monarchs

Last Game Recap:
Luca Caputi broke a scoreless tie in the third period as WBS defeated the Lowell Devils by a score of 1-0. Caputi scored at 5:49 of the closing period while the Penguins were on a power play. It was his 22nd goal of the season and 10th on the power play. The Pens also killed all eight Lowell power plays in the game. Brad Thiessen earned his second shutout in a week with 24 saves and the Penguins extended their winning streak to a season high five games.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Mike McKenna (Lowell): 20 saves on 21 shots
2. Brad Thiessen (WBS): shutout victory
1. Luca Caputi (WBS): game winning goal

WBS Scratches:
Konstantin Pushkarev
Alex Grant
Ryan Bayda
Keven Veilleux

Current Record: 28-26-1-1 (58 points; 4th in East Division)

Next Matchup:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Manchester Monarchs
When: Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Verizon Wireless Arena (Manchester, NH)

WBS/Manchester Last Game:
Konstantin Pushkarev scored the Penguins’ lone goal as Manchester left Wilkes-Barre with a 3-1 victory back on January 9. Bud Holloway led Manchester with two assists and a +1 rating and Jeff Zatkoff stopped 37 of 38 shots to earn the win. John Curry took the loss for WBS with just 18 saves on 21 shots.

About the Monarchs:

NHL Affiliation:
Los Angeles Kings
ECHL Affiliation: Ontario Reign

Key Statistics/Rank in AHL:
Current Record: 32-19-2-5 (71 points; 3rd in Atlantic Division)
Power Play Overall: 19.4% (7th)
Power Play at Home: 21.4% (7th)
Penalty Kill Overall: 87.3% (2nd)
Penalty Kill at Home: 92.5% (1st)

Last Game: 4-0 victory over Providence on Saturday. The Monarchs ended a brief two game losing streak and responded to being shut out by Lowell with a shutout victory of their own over the Bruins.

The Penguin Connection:
Konstantin Pushkarev played for the Monarchs from 2005-2007. He had 38 points in 2005-2006 and 15 points in 2006-2007.

Manchester rookie defenseman Patrick Mullen is the son of former WBS Penguins head coach Joe Mullen.

Monarchs to Watch:
Corey Elkins is fifth in the AHL in rookie scoring with 36 points (17+19). His point total is second among Monarchs skaters and only two points behind leading Manchester scorer Bud Holloway. He also has seven power play goals.

Jonathan Bernier leads the AHL with eight shutouts. He is currently 24-15-5 with a 2.01 goals against average and a .939 save percentage.

Ali’s Analysis:
The Penguins were spared Jonathan Bernier in their last meeting, but if he starts today, the Pens will need to throw everything and the kitchen sink at him to get goals. He had a 40-save performance in last night’s win over Providence and will be coming into today ready to do the same. If Jeff Zatkoff starts, WBS should use the same attacking strategy since he limited them to one goal on almost 40 shots back in January.

Furthermore with such strong special teams to back up their excellent goaltending, especially in front of their home crowd, if anyone is likely to end the Penguins’ five game winning streak, it will be the Monarchs.

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