WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Senators

Last Game Recap:
The Penguins bounced back from a two game losing streak to defeat the Adirondack Phantoms by a 3-2 score on Wednesday.

After battling through nineteen minutes of scoreless hockey, Dustin Jeffrey netted a power play goal with one minute to go in the opening frame. Seven seconds later, defenseman Steve Wagner netted his fourth goal of the season to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead at the end of the period.

In the second period, Phantoms’ leading scorer Jon Matsumoto scored a power play goal at the 1:56 mark. However, Mark Letestu put the Pens up by two with his 21st goal of the season at 5:15. Phantoms’ captain Jared Ross put a shorthanded goal behind Brad Thiessen at 16:02, but Adirondack never found the game tying goal. The Penguins also did not need anymore offense to pick up a win against the Phantoms; who are eliminated from postseason contention.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Jared Ross (Adirondack): shorthanded goal
2. Chris Conner (WBS): two assists
1. Mark Letestu (WBS): two points (1+1); +2 rating

Alex Grant
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Ryan Bayda
Joey Haddad
Keven Veilleux

WBS Current Record: 39-31-2-3 (83 points; third in East Division)

Scoreboard Watch: The Penguins are five points up on Norfolk for the final guaranteed playoff spot in the East Division. They are also one point ahead of the Lowell Devils; who are now in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. Bridgeport is in fourth in the Atlantic after taking the season-series points tiebreaker from Lowell (7 points to 6). If the playoffs were to start today, the Penguins would have a first round match-up with the Albany River Rats.

Any combination of eight points gained by the Penguins and eight points lost by the Admirals would clinch a playoff spot for the Pens.

Key Matchups: Norfolk at Albany (7 p.m.); Lowell at Hartford (7 p.m.), and Bridgeport at Manchester (7:30 p.m.)

News and Notes:
Zach Sill returned to the lineup on Wednesday after missing two games with a charley horse.

Next Game:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Binghamton Senators
When: Friday, April 2, 2010 at 7:05 p.m.
Where: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena

Last Meeting:
The Penguins took a 3-2 shootout win from the Senators in Wilkes-Barre back on February 12. Chris Conner (power play) and Tim Wallace scored in regulation for the Pens with Jim O’Brien and Kaspars Daugavins scoring for Binghamton to send the game to extra frames. Wyatt Smith, Konstantin Pushakrev, Nick Johnson, and Dustin Jeffrey scored in the shootout to win the game. Brad Thiessen stopped 25 of 27 shots in regulation and overtime; then stopped two out of four Senators shooters in the shootout.

About the Senators:

NHL Affiliate: Ottawa Senators

Key Statistics/Rank in AHL:
Record: 32-34-5-3 (72 points; fifth in East Division)
Power Play Home: 22.3% (4th)
Power Play Overall: 19.3% (7th)
Penalty Kill Home: 82.2% (22nd)
Penalty Kill Overall: 83.7% (10th)
Goals For/Against: 229/243

Last Game: Binghamton dropped a close game to the Hershey Bears on Sunday; losing by a score of 3-2. Yannick Tifu had two assists for the Senators; who surrendered three straight goals after taking a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Paul Baier (power play) and Jim O’Brien scored for the Senators.

Ali’s Analysis:
Even if Norfolk were to win tonight, they cannot catch the Penguins for third place. However, this means little to the Penguins; who have sometimes struggled with teams who do not have postseason hopes. Third place is far from safe; so the Penguins should keep their game in place from Wednesday’s win (just without giving up the shorthanded goal). The Penguins should also establish further momentum in this game because after tonight, they will not play again until this coming Wednesday and will need to keep their bodies and energy fresh.

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