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Penguins Finish Calendar Year at Home

Saturday, December 31, 2011
The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins finish off the 2011 calendar year hosting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this evening at 5:05 p.m. EST. With that, the month of December will come to a close which means we will have our monthly grades and player of the month award very soon. Be sure to stay tuned for that.

Now onto tonight's pregame notes.

Back from Pittsburgh are defenseman Alexandre Picard and forward Jason Williams. Both fill much needed voids in the WBS lineup.

Picard fills in nicely on the WBS blue line and gives the AHL Penguins six healthy defensemen - Picard, Brian Strait, Cody Wild, Alex Grant, Philip Samuelsson and Peter Merth. Joey Mormina (upper body), Carl Sneep (upper body) and Boris Valabik (hand) are all out of lineup for the time being.  Picard's offensive ability and defensive responsibility are much needed and he will be on the ice during all the important shifts of the game.

Williams gives the Penguins a forward that can create offense, which has been lacking as of late outside of Ben Street, Eric Tangradi, Bryan Lerg and Colin McDonald. Williams can also command the point on the power play, which has been dreadful this month.

The addition of Williams gives WBS 14 healthy forwards which means two will sit tonight as healthy scratches. Paul Thompson and Ryan Schnell had been sharing the 12/13th forward role so its possible both will be out of the lineup tonight. Matt Rust could also be an option to scratch, but I think his faceoff ability alone should keep him in the lineup.

The question tonight is who starts in net. Brad Thiessen gave up six goals to the Bears on Tuesday and Scott Munroe gave up five. Munroe got the win but neither were that impressive. We'll update that on the blog's Twitter feed as soon as warmups get underway. Recap on the blog shortly after the game.

Go Penguins!

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