#AHL Game Preview: #WBSPens Battle Springfield at 7:05 P.M. EDT Tonight

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Last season Nick Drazenovic was #10 on Springfield. This year he's #10 on the Penguins.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (WBS) host the Springfield Falcons (SPR) tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena in a big test for both teams as the East and Northeast division leaders, respectively, square off.

For the Penguins, they look to enjoy the presence of healthy bodies up front with Harry Zolnierczyk back from Pittsburgh and Nick Drazenovic eying a return to the lineup against his former team.

For the Falcons, they lost leading scorer and defenseman Tim Erixon to an NHL call up to Columbus and look to continue to trudge on in the 2nd game of a six-game road trip.

Former WBS captain and current Falcons forward Ryan Craig spoiled his former team in the first meeting of the season between these two teams, scoring late in the third period to give the Falcons a 4-3 win last month up in Springfield.
Tune into Highland Park Hockey on Twitter tonight for all the latest in-game updates of tonight's AHL action. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. EDT. Roster notes, lineups and more after the jump.

By The Numbers

WBS: 13-6-1-2, 29 points - First Place East Division (3rd - East)
Last Ten Games: 6-3-1-0
SPR: 16-4-1-1, 34 points, First Place Northeast Division (2nd - East)
Last Ten Games: 8-1-1-0

WBS Leading Scorers: Brian Gibbons (8G-17A), Tom Kostopoulos (8G-9A), Brendan Mikkelson (2G-14A)
SPR Leading Scorers: Fredric St. Denis (4G-11A), Jonathan Marchessault (5G-9A), Darryl Boyce (5G-6A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

Tough call on the Penguins side, either could start. Since Hartzell's first start, he and Deslauriers have split time 50/50, alternating starts the last six games. Deslauriers played in the Pens most recent game this past Saturday in Newfoundland and shut out the IceCaps with a 30-save performance.

WBS - Jeff Deslauriers: 11-5-2, 2.27 GAA, .904 SV%, 1 SO
SPR - Jeremy Smith: 10-3-1, 2.62 GAA, .909 SV%, 0 SO

Penguins Roster Notes

Nick Drazenovic looks to return to the WBS lineup tonight against his former team, and would be a welcomed addition to the forward core and more specifically at center position. Drazenovic (lower body) missed most of the month, returning for two games 11/15 against Syracuse and 11/16 vs Hershey, before he shut it down. Drazenovic had been out since then until he skated in yesterday's practice. With ten points (2G 8A) in 12 games, Drazenovic's presence in the top-six would give the offense a guy who can score.

Harry Zolnierczyk is back from Pittsburgh and should slot back in on the top line alongside Brian Gibbons.

Updated injury list:
Nick Drazenovic (lower body, out since 11/16, day-to-day)
Dominik Uher (upper body - out since 11/27, two weeks)
Adam Payerl (upper body - out since 11/30, 3-4 months)

Expected Lines

Zolnierczyk - Gibbons - Kostopoulos
Thompson - Drazenovic - Kuhnhackl
Farnham - Carman - Leblond
Zlobin - Severyn - Sylvester

McNeill  - Samuelsson
Harrington  - Mikkelson
D'Agostino - Ruopp

Expected Scratches: Peter Merth, Dominik Uher, Adam Payerl and Denver Manderson


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