WBS Pens Gameday NOTES

Saturday, February 2, 2013
The Penguins have won seven of their last eight games and look to keep rolling along tonight when the Adirondack Phantoms come to town for a 7 p.m. game. Last night's win moved the Penguins into sole possession of 6th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Phantoms snapped a three game losing streak last night at home, beating the Norfolk Admirals 5-2. While the Flyers top minor league affiliate comes into today's action tied for last in the East, their power play the last seven games - 11 for 34 converting at a 35.4% rate - is worth talking about. That stat per Michael Cignoli, Phantoms beat writer for The Saratogian. 

Still, the Phantoms lost a lot of guys after lockout ended, namely guys such as Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier, who carried the load for the Phantoms up to this point.  Forward Harry Zolnierczyk leads all Phantoms goal scorers with 9 goals.

Ex-Penguin forward Jon Sim was recently signed to an AHL contract with Adirondack and made his Phantoms debut last night. I anticipate Ex-WBS goalie Scott Munroe to get the start in net tonight against his former team as Brian Boucher played last night.

For the Penguins, expect Brad Thiessen back in net tonight after Jeff Zatkoff played last night. I don't know how I failed to mention this yesterday, but Thiessen has been named the AHL's goalie of the month for January. In seven appearances during the month, Thiessen was 5-2-0 with a 1.36 goals-against average, a .940 save percentage and three shutouts for the Penguins.

The team didn't mention it at last night's game most likely because Zatkoff got the start. I'd expect Thiessen to get recognition for that award tonight. So now both goalies on the team have won the Goalie of the Month award this season as Zatkoff was the winner in November.

I also expect Steve MacIntyre might be in the lineup tonight as the Phantoms have more physical, rough and tumble kind of guys than last night's Manchester squad. One of Dominik Uher or Chris Barton could be the odd man out.

Defensively, Mark Eaton was limited in practice and is day to day per head coach John Hynes. He joins injured forwards Beau Bennett (undisclosed), Tom Kuhnhackl (shoulder), Paul Thompson (upper body) and Phil Dupuis (undisclosed). With Eaton and Dupuis both on the shelf right now, the Penguins have their two veterans out of the lineup as they are two above the veteran limit on the roster.
Now that the All-Star break has passed, it's time to take a closer look at the standings. Remember the winners of each division are guaranteed the 1-3 spots in the conference. I have the standings heading into today's actions below. I will update them daily and either include them in every story or add them as a feature to the side of the page like the Twitter feed. Maybe both is the way to go.

Eastern Conference Standings

Team                             Games Remaining       Points
1. Binghamton (BNG)             34                       58
2. Springfield (SPR)                33                       58
3. Portland (POR)                   32                       54
4. Syracuse (SYR)                  34                       56
5. Providence (PRO)              33                       51
6. PENGUINS (WBS)            33                       47
7. Worcester (WOR)             33                        46
8. Manchester (MCH)           31                       46
9. Bridgeport (BPT)               32                       45
10. Connecticut (CT)            31                       45
11. Hershey (HER)               33                       44
12. Albany (ALB)                   35                       43
13. St. John's (STJ)               31                       43
14. Adirondack (ADK)          34                       39
15. Norfolk                             33                       39


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