WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Admirals

Last Game Recap:
The Penguins dropped their second straight game with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday.

After a scoreless first period, Mika Pyorala scored just 56 seconds into the second period. Mark Letestu evened the score at 8:28 on a 5-on-3 power play, and the score remained tied at 1 at the end of regulation.

In overtime, the Penguins failed to convert on a 4 on 3 power play chance. 37 seconds after the Phantoms penalty expired, Konstantin Pushkarev was called for holding at 2:57 of overtime. During that power play, former Penguin defenseman Joey Mormina scored the game winning goal at 3:37 of overtime. Johan Backlund stopped 35 of 36 Penguins shots; while Brad Thiessen took the loss with 22 saves on 24 shots.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Brad Thiessen (WBS): 22 saves
2. Joey Mormina (Adirondack): game winning goal
1. Johan Backlund (Adirondack): 35 saves

Alex Grant
Jesse Boulerice
Eric Tangradi
Ryan Bayda
Keven Veilleux

WBS Current Record: 33-29-2-3 (71 points; fourth in East Division)

Scoreboard Watch: The Penguins are three points behind Norfolk in the race for the third and final guaranteed playoff spot in the East Division. They are two points behind Bridgeport for the fourth playoff spot. If Bridgeport, who is fifth in the Atlantic Division, finishes with more points than the Penguins, they will cross over and play in the East Division playoffs.

Tonight’s Scenarios: A win will tie the Penguins with the Sound Tigers for the final playoff spot. A win will also put the Penguins one point behind the Admirals for third place. The Sound Tigers do not play tonight.

News and Notes:
Steve Wagner returned to the lineup on Sunday after missing nine games with a broken jaw.

Eric Tangradi had no problems after participating in a full practice yesterday, but will sit out tonight’s game. He should be ready to play this weekend.

The Stanley Cup will make its second trip to Wilkes-Barre for tonight’s matchup. It was first in Wilkes-Barre for the Black and Gold game back in September.

Next Matchup:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Norfolk Admirals
When: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 7:05 p.m.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Last Meeting Recap:
The Penguins took a 4-2 victory from the Admirals on March 3rd in Wilkes-Barre. Alex Grant, Tim Wallace (power play), Konstantin Pushkarev, and Dustin Jeffrey (empty net goal) scored for the Penguins. Wallace had a two point night (1+1) and Eric Tangradi finished with a +2 rating. John Curry stopped 27 shots for the win.

About the Admirals:

NHL Affiliate: Tampa Bay Lightning

Key Statistics/Rank in AHL:
Record: 34-28-3-3 (74 points; third in East Division)
Power Play Away: 13.6% (25th)
Power Play Overall: 12.8% (29th)
Penalty Kill Away: 86.3% (1st)
Penalty Kill Overall: 86.8% (2nd)

Goals For/Against: 181/182

Last Game: Norfolk lost their third straight game on Saturday with their second 3-2 shootout loss to the Sound Tigers. Ty Wishart led the Admirals in regulation with two assists, but the Admirals could not generate any shootout goals against Bridgeport goalie Nathan Lawson.

Ali’s Analysis:
Both teams will come into tonight’s game looking to bounce back after disappointing play over the weekend. The Penguins’ power play, which went 1-for-10 over the weekend, will need to work hard and get plenty of chances against a top Admirals penalty kill. The Penguins will also have to go the extra mile to secure the win because although getting one point is better than getting zero, it is not good enough at this stage in the season.

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