WBS Penguins Gameday: Penguins vs. Admirals

Last Game Recap:
The Penguins struggled against a Binghamton team likely to miss the playoffs as they fell 6-2 to the Senators last Friday night.

Two minutes after Deryk Engelland put the Penguins on top in the first period, Kaspars Daugavins scored his first goal of the night at 4:26 on a power play. Daugavins tallied again less than six minutes later to give the Senators a 2-1 lead. Dustin Jeffrey answered back to tie the game at 14:10 with an unassisted goal.

Once the second period started, the game belonged to Binghamton. After Jim O’Brien and Zack Smith (shorthanded) gave the Senators a 4-2 lead after the second, Brad Thiessen was pulled in favor of John Curry for the start of the third. Curry stopped four out of six shots in the third, but gave up goals to Jonathan Cheechoo and a second shorthanded goal to Josh Hennessy. Binghamton goalie Mike Brodeur earned the win with 35 saves on 37 shots.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Mike Brodeur (Binghamton): 35 saves
2. Kaspars Daugavins (Binghamton): two goals; +2 rating
1. Josh Hennessy (Binghamton): two points (1+1); +2

Alex Grant
Wade Brookbank
Casey Pierro-Zabotel
Ryan Bayda
Keven Veilleux

WBS Current Record: 39-32-2-3 (83 points; third in East Division)

Scoreboard Watch: The Penguins sit three points ahead of Norfolk for third in the division and the final guaranteed playoff spot. They are one point behind Lowell and two points ahead of Bridgeport for the final playoff spot in the divisional playoffs.

The Penguins can clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win over the Admirals. If the playoffs were starting today, the Penguins would be playing Albany in the first round.

News and Notes:
With the Nailers season ending, five players are practicing with WBS: Jon D’Aversa, Lane Caffaro, Ryan Schnell, Blair Yaworski, and Adam Berkhoel. It is unknown if any will get playing time.

Next Matchup:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Norfolk Admirals
When: Wednesday April 7, 2010 at 7:15 p.m.
Where: Norfolk Scope (Norfolk, VA)

Last Meeting Recap:
The Penguins finished a sweep of a two game set at the Scope with a 3-1 win back on March 26. Tim Wallace (two goals; power play and empty net) and Eric Tangradi (power play) scored for the Pens who won their fifth straight game. Matt Lashoff tallied the lone Admirals goal on the power play. Brad Thiessen stopped 26 of 27 shots in the win.

About the Admirals:

NHL Affiliate: Tampa Bay Lightning

Key Statistics/Rank in AHL:
Record: 37-34-3-3 (80 points; fourth in East Division)
Goals For/Against: 201/206
Power Play Home: 12.3% (28th)
Power Play Overall: 12.4% (29th)
Penalty Kill Home: 86.2% (6th)
Penalty Kill Overall: 86.5% (3rd)

Last Game:
The Admirals dropped their second straight game with a 3-2 loss to Hershey on Easter Sunday. Norfolk could not get on the board until the third period when Hershey already held a 3-0 lead. Ryan Craig and Mitch Fadden prevented Bears goaltender Braden Holtby from earning a shutout but the two third period goals were not enough to tie the game.

Ali’s Analysis:
Tonight is the night that the Penguins can secure their eighth straight trip to the playoffs. However, they must come out with a sense of urgency and realize what is at stake. They do not want a repeat of last year where they dropped two of their final games against Norfolk to a lose higher seeding in the playoffs. The penalty kill must also get back on track; as the unit has given up three shorthanded goals in the last two games.

I must also say I do not agree with Brad Thiessen getting the start tonight. After a bad game, and especially with the stretch run coming up; Todd Reirden should let John Curry take the reins. Reirden’s eagerness to once again give Thiessen a chance to rebound is disappointing (considering Thiessen has gotten plenty of those this season) and leads me to believe he is playing favorites. One can only hope Thiessen does not burn out from all the playing time he is getting.

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