Game 73 Preview: WBS Penguins @ Hershey

Sunday, March 27, 2011
Could Patrick Killeen be getting his first AHL start today in Hershey?
I know there was a lot of rumors flying out there that Brad Thiessen would be sent down for this game but that's not the case. The Bears' goalie Braden Holtby was sent to the AHL for this one. I don't see John Curry playing in three straight nights, especially since he wasn't spectacular this weekend. Nolan Schaefer played the last two nights for the Bears so it will be either be Todd Ford or Braden Holtby for the Bears and I would bet on Patrick Killeen making his first AHL start. I'll update the blog as soon as I can confirm.

Sunday Showdown
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins take on the Hershey Bears in Giant Center tonight, finishing their three games in three nights against the defending champions. Both team's have clinched a playoff spot and with the Bears 10 points behind the Pens with two more games played, unless there's an absolute meltdown by WBS and Hershey wins the rest of their games, the Pens will take the East Division

The Basics
Hershey: 74 games played - 2nd East Division, 43-24-2-5, 93 points
WBS Penguins: 72 games played - 1st place East Division, 51-20-0-1, 103 points

Season Series: WBS Penguins lead 6-1
Previous 10 games - HER: 4-3-1-2  WBS 6-3-0-1

Follow the action in tonight's game thread that will be up at 4:30 p.m. EST. Puck drops at 5. Follow the blog on FaceBook and follow my Twitter feed for Penguins updates.

Players to watch and final thoughts after the jump.

Players to Watch
Hershey: Keith Aucoin has been the Bears best offensive weapon this season. He started the season with a 10 game scoring streak, recording 18 points in that span. He has 10 points (1G, 9A) in his last six games. Keith and Andrew Gordon are the two guys the Pens need to be aware of whenever they are on the ice.

WBS: I'm willing to bet that not many people know who the Pens leading scorer in March has been. Keven Veilleux has 10 points (all assists) in 12 games this month and now that he's been healthy and playing on a line with Geoff Walker and Zach Sill, the offensive production is starting to show what Veilleux is capable of.

Final Thoughts
The end of the regular season is fast approaching and the Penguins are looking to perfect their game for the postseason.  There are guys missing from the lineup: Carl Sneep (hand), Joey Mormina (upper body), Steve Wagner (arm/shoulder) and Joe Vitale (upper body), but the Pens must continue on and hope they are good to go come playoff time. These last few games don't mean a heck of a lot for the Pens, who can clinch the divion with a win and a Norfolk loss, but you would still love to see the guys continue to dominate the Bears this season and possibly help knock them out of home ice advantage for the first round.  

Expected Lines

Sterling-Craig-Wallace                         Bortuzzo-Strait  
Collins-Street-Lerg                              Hutchinson-Potter
Veilleux-Sill-Walker                            Grant-DeSantis
Petersen-Marshall-Boulerice                Killeen


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