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WBS Penguins Look to Even Up Series

Saturday, April 30, 2011
If Ben Street isn't ready to go tonight, Bryan Lerg or Paul Thompson could take his place.
After dropping the first game of the series 3-2 to the Charlotte Checkers, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins will try to avoid going down 2-0 in a playoff series for a second straight round. They battle the Checkers again in Game 2 tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza before the series shifts to the Time Warner Cable Arena in North Carolina for three straight games next week (Mon., Wed. & Fri.).

Get caught up on injury news and be updated before the drop of the puck for tonight's game. The game thread will be up at 6:30 p.m. EST. Puck drops at 7.

On the injury front, Ben Street didn't play after the 1st period and with the playoffs in mid-swing I honestly can't say what's bothering him, there just isn't much information on injuries these days. I would go as far to say that I wouldn't expect him in the lineup tonight. Bryan Lerg didn't dress for Game 1 on Thursday but could be in the lineup for Game 2. Here's what WBS beat writer Jonathan Bombulie reported yesterday:
Bryan Lerg skated briefly with the black aces. Coach John Hynes said he is probable to play [Game 2]. He said Ben Street is day to day.
One thing is certain about tonight's lineup and that is Brad Thiessen will be in net for the Penguins. After that only the guys in the Penguins locker room know what the rest of the lineup will be. The lineup might see a few changes before all is said and done but there are a few options the Penguins have.

I'm going to rule out Ben Street to make things much easier. Without Street, if Lerg can play then he will just take Street's spot. If neither can play tonight then you might see the Penguins dress seven defenseman, which means Carl Sneep would be the 18th skater.

But if Coach Hynes wants 12 forwards, he could pull someone from the black aces squad (Paul Thompson, Ryan Schnell or Andy Bathgate) and plug them onto the fourth line. That would probably mean Thompson gets the nod, as Bathgate is new to pro hockey and Schnell is a fighter like Jesse Boulerice and frankly, one is plenty in the playoffs.

I would lean toward Bryan Lerg playing tonight and the lines looking something like this:
Keven Veilleux - Ryan Craig - Geoff Walker
Brett Sterling - Joe Vitale - Nick Petersen
Chris Collins - Bryan Lerg - Tim Wallace
David Marshall - Zach Sill - Jesse Boulerice
The defense would stay the same with Bortuzzo and Strait as the shutdown pair and Potter/Wagner and Hutchinson/Mormina also being paired together and Thiessen in net.

After tonight the series shifts to Charlotte for three straight games on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tonight is almost a must win game for the Pens. You don't want to make it a habit of putting yourself down two games to none. 

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