WBS Penguins Preview: Penguins vs. Admirals

Last Game Recap:

The Penguins scored four goals in the first period and held off a Rochester comeback led by former Penguin Jeff Taffe to win 5-4.

Three of four of the Penguins’ first period goals came on power plays and they went three for five on opportunities awarded by Nygel Pelletier. Rochester pulled within two on a Jordan Henry goal at 15:15, but Eric Tangradi put the Americans away for good just 1:21 later.

Konstantin Pushkarev scored an even strength goal at 7:00 of the second period, and the Americans challenged the Penguins with Taffe’s 24th and 25th goals of the season. The only goal of the third period came from Rochester’s Chris Taylor at 17:58 but the Americans never found the tying goal. The Penguins won their third straight game, and John Curry stopped 28 of 32 shots in the win.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Jeff Taffe (Rochester): two goals
2. Chris Lee (WBS): three points (1+2), +1 rating
1. Chris Conner (WBS): three points (1+2)

Alex Grant
Ryan Bayda
Joey Haddad
Keven Veilleux

WBS Current Record: 36-29-2-3 (77 points; fourth in East Division)

Scoreboard Watch: The Penguins are one point behind Norfolk for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the East Division. They are also one point behind Bridgeport for the final playoff spot in the divisional playoffs.

Key Matchups: The Penguins’ next two games are against Norfolk (tonight and Friday). Bridgeport hosts Syracuse tonight and visits Manchester on Friday night.

News and Notes:
Prior to the game, Chris Conner was awarded the AHL Player of the Month award for February.

Eric Tangradi returned to the lineup after missing six games with concussion symptoms.

Casey Pierro-Zabotel was re-assigned to Wheeling on Saturday.

The Penguins concluded their season series with Rochester; going 2-2 in four games. The home team won each game in the series.

Next Matchups:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Norfolk Admirals
When: Wednesday, March 24 and Friday, March 26 at 7:15 p.m.
Where: Norfolk Scope (Norfolk, VA)

Due to the Penguins’ next two games being against Norfolk, only one pregame will be written for this next set of games.

Last Meeting Recap:
Two first period goals from Jesse Boulerice and Nick Johnson were all the Penguins needed to defeat the Admirals by a 2-1 score back on St. Patrick’s Day. Matt Fornataro scored for Norfolk and Brad Thiessen took the win with 29 saves.

About the Admirals:

NHL Affiliate: Tampa Bay Lightning

Key Statistics/Rank in AHL:
Record: 36-29-3-3 (79 points; third in East Division)
Goals For/Against: 193/189
Power Play Home: 12.8% (28th)
Power Play Overall: 12.8% (27th)
Penalty Kill Home: 87.4% (4th)
Penalty Kill Overall: 86.8% (2nd)

Last Game: Norfolk swept a two game set from the Adirondack Phantoms with a 3-1 win on Saturday following a decisive 8-4 win on Friday. Dana Tyrell led the Admirals with three points (1+2) while Dustin Tokarski made 38 saves.

Ali’s Analysis:
These next two games are crucial to the Penguins’ playoff positioning. If they take four points in two regulation wins, they will make it difficult for the Admirals to catch them for third place. However, if they do not collect any points, and Bridgeport also picks up points in addition to Admirals’ wins, it could be more difficult for the Pens to earn a postseason position. The Pens will also have plenty of rest since they are not traveling between the two games, so there is no reason for them to not have a response to the Admirals’ game and not do their very best.

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