WBS Penguins Preview: Penguins vs. Senators

Last Game Recap:
The Penguins clinched their eighth straight playoff spot, and ninth in 11 seasons, by defeating Albany by a score of 4-3 on Friday.

Tim Wallace opened the scoring at 15:11 of the first period with his 27th goal of the season from Wyatt Smith and Eric Tangradi. Former Hershey winger Oskar Osala got his first goal of the game 2:15 later on a power play goal.

Tangradi gave the Penguins a 2-1 lead just 1:25 into the second period with a power play goal, but Osala got his second of the game at 5:44. He completed his hat trick at 13:13 with another power play tally to give the River Rats the lead for the first time in the game. Tangradi responded again at 15:18 with his second of the game.

In the third period, River Rats defenseman Tim Conboy accidentally poked the puck into his own net to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead. Captain Wyatt Smith was credited with the goal. The Pens took the reins from there and held off Albany the rest of the way. Brad Thiessen was again the winning goaltender with 20 saves on 23 shots.

Three Stars of the Game:
3. Oskar Osala (Albany): hat trick
2. Wyatt Smith (WBS): three points (1+2), +3 rating
1. Eric Tangradi (WBS): three points (2+1), +1 rating

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

WBS Current Record: 40-33-2-3 (85 points; third in East Division)

Scoreboard Watch: The Penguins are in the playoffs but it is still undetermined who they will play in round one. They are three points ahead of Norfolk for the third seed and final guaranteed spot in the division. They also sit one point ahead of both Bridgeport and Lowell who are competing for the crossover position. If the playoffs were starting today, the Penguins would be playing Albany. Regardless of who the opponent is, the Penguins will start the first round on the road.

Key Matchups: Manchester vs. Bridgeport (7 p.m.), Lowell vs. Portland (7 p.m.), and Norfolk vs. Hershey (7:15 p.m.)

News and Notes:
The Penguins concluded their season series with Albany on Friday. The Penguins won the series six games to two. It was also the last time the two teams would meet in the River Rats’ franchise history.

Next Matchups:
Who: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Binghamton Senators
When: Saturday April 10, 2010 at 7:05 p.m. and Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 3:05 p.m.
Where: Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, NY (Saturday) and Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza (Sunday)

Last Meeting:
The Senators got shorthanded goals from Zack Smith and Josh Hennessy on their way to a 6-2 win on April 2. Kaspars Daugavins (two goals) and Jim O'Brien also scored for the Senators. Dustin Jeffrey and Deryk Engelland had the Penguins goals; while Brad Thiessen was pulled for the third period after allowing four goals on 20 shots. John Curry stopped four out of six shots in the losing effort.

About the Senators:

NHL Affiliate: Ottawa Senators

Key Statistics/Rank in AHL:
Record: 35-34-6-3 (fifth place; East Division)
Goals For/Against: 248/256
Power Play Home: 22.4% (4th)
Power Play Away: 16.8% (14th)
Power Play Overall: 19.5% (7th)
Penalty Kill Home: 82.5% (21st)
Penalty Kill Away: 85.2% (4th)
Penalty Kill Overall: 83.9% (9th)

Last Game:
The Senators took a 6-5 victory from the Adirondack Phantoms last night. Erik Condra and Connor Shields each had two goals for Binghamton. Zack Smith also chipped in with two assists while Robin Lehner was the winning goaltender with 22 saves on 27 shots in a high scoring game.

Ali’s Analysis:
Although the Penguins are officially in the playoffs, there is still work to be done as they close out the regular season. In order to retain their third seed and avoid a first round matchup with the dominant Hershey squad, the Pens must win both games against Binghamton. The power play, which went 2/4 last night, should keep working at a productive pace. The penalty kill also has to be better against the Senators to avoid giving up shorthanded goals and putting them behind in the game. Finally, the team definitely needs a 60 minute effort and cannot panic if things stop going their way at any point in the game.

Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Favorites More Stumbleupon