The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins will play their 3rd and final game in Norfolk tonight in Game 5, with the series tied at two wins apiece. After tonight the series shifts back to Wilkes-Barre for Game 6 on Saturday night and if necessary, Game 7 will be on Monday.
The WBS Penguins shouldn't see any lineup changes tonight. Joe Vitale made it back to Norfolk after leaving the team to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Tim Wallace has played the last two nights and isn't showing any signs of pain or injury. Carl Sneep practiced with the "black aces" yesterday and I don't see him playing tonight. David Marshall could be the healthy scratch again tonight, although I wasn't overly impressed with some forwards so he might get a chance over someone like Nick Petersen or Jesse Boulerice. You'll probably see Marshall, Andy Bathgate, Ryan Schnell and Paul Thompson as the healthy scratches up front with Sneep, Viktor Ekbom and Alex Pechurskiy as the other guys not playing tonight. A look at the expected lines:
Brett Sterling - Ryan Craig - Tim Wallace
Chris Collins - Joe Vitale - Bryan Lerg
Keven Veilleux - Zach Sill - Geoff Walker
Nick Petersen - Ben Street - Jesse Boulerice
Brian Strait - Robert Bortuzzo
Steve Wagner - Corey Potter
Andrew Hutchinson - Joey Mormina
The Admirals have battled the last two nights with a depleted forward core but won't be able to use that excuse tonight as both Blair Jones and Mattias Ritola have been sent back to the AHL and will play tonight. Former 1st round pick Carter Ashton was also added via an ATO and could play tonight if Paul Szczechura and Chris Durno are unable to play. Mike Angelidis, who hasn't played since Game 1 will be another game-time decision for the Admirals.
Don't be surprised to see more than six defensemen play tonight for Norfolk. They dressed seven in games 1 and 2, eight in game 3 and nine defenseman played Wednesday night in game 4.
- The team that scores first is 4-0 and the road team is also 4-0. Let's hope that stat stands true tonight and the Pens can get on the board early.
- Where Game 3 was almost a must win for WBS, tonight is almost a must win for Norfolk. If the Admirals lose tonight they have to go back to Wilkes Barre and beat them twice in a row at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza again.
- No surprises here but this game is going to come down to who can finish their offensive chances (power play and turnovers) and if the Penguins can continue to get a strong defensive effort from their defensemen with limited turnovers and miscues.