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The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins defensive core took a hit early this morning when the team announced that Corey Potter and Steve Wagner were recalled to the NHL Penguins, who are in Ottawa tonight. With the NHL Penguins off until Sunday after tonight's game and both clubs in Canada today, it is likely that one or both of these guys will be sent back for tomorrow night's game against Manitoba.
Meanwhile the WBS Penguins made a move of their own calling up defenseman Alex Grant from Wheeling of the ECHL. This gives the Penguins 5 healthy defensemen in Robert Bortuzzo, Brian Strait, Jason Desantis, Alex Grant and Andrew Hutchinson. Carl Sneep (hand/arm) didn't make the trip and Joey Mormina (upper body) hasn't played since last Tuesday's game against the Whale.
With 13 healthy forwards on the roster right now, it looks like David Marshall will be back in the lineup tonight if Mormina is unable to play.
A quick preview of what to look for in tonight's game after the jump.
Know your opponent: Manitoba
37-24-1-5, 1st place North Division
13 games remaining
Players to watch for Manitoba:
RW Sergei Shirokov: 2G, 4A in his last six games - Shirokov is the leading scorer on the Moose with 19G, 30A in 63 games. He's a dangerous player who can create offense and will certainly draw the pairing of Bortuzzo and Strait when possible.
C Jordan Schroeder: 1G, 1A in two games vs. WBS - Schroeder picked up points in both games against the Pens this season. In his first full season in the AHL, this small forward (5-8, 175 lbs) has scored nine goals and added 17 helpers in 50 games.
Players to watch for WBS:
C Ryan Craig: 3G, 3A in his last four games - Captain Craig has had to pick up his game lately and he has done just that. Centering the second line with Geoff Walker and Keven Veilleux, Craig has been able to help the team offensively as of late.
D Andrew Hutchinson: 1G, 4A in his last three games - With Potter and Wagner up to the NHL, Hutchinson will be relied on heavily tonight. He's been great offensively for most of the season but his play defensively is anything but solid/consistent. He will need to play great defensively tonight with a rather thin defensive unit taking the ice for the Pens tonight.
You can follow the action tonight on my Twitter feed with live in-game statistics and updates throughout the game.