AHL Game Preview: Penguins Return Home to Face Syracuse

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The Penguins return home after a six-game road trip vs. Syracuse Crunch. Photo credit: Amy's WBS Penguins Picture Page
Another American Hockey League (AHL) East Division battle tonight in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (WBS) host the Syracuse Crunch (SYR) at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EST.

The Penguins return home after a six game road trip in which they went 3-3-0-0 in a pair of three-in-threes. They find themselves in the thick of things in the race for the division, but four points separates the Pens from dropping to 4th place in the division and on the outside looking in on the playoffs.

The Crunch come into the game on a four game losing streak, needing to turn things around to get back into the division race, currently trailing leader Binghamton by 17 points. The Crunch are in last place in the division, trailing 4th place Hershey by 10 points. They are also 10 points out of a playoff spot coming into Wednesday night's action.

News, notes, expected lineups and more after the jump.

By The Numbers

WBS: 25-14-1-3, 54 points, Second Place East Division (4th - East)
Last Ten Games: 6-4-0-0

SYR: 17-18-2-4, 40 points, Fifth Place East Division (14th - East)
Last Ten Games: 4-4-1-1

WBS Leading Scorers: Tom Kostopoulos (15G-12A), Harry Zolnierczyk (13G-11A), Nick Drazenovic (8G-15A)

SYR Leading Scorers: Vlad Namestnikov (13G-17A), Brett Connolly (12G-17A), Cedric Paquette (12G-16A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

WBS - Eric Hartzell (8-3-1, 1.85 GAA, .927 SV%, 2 SO)
SYR - Kirsters Gudlevskis (10-7-2, 2.71 GAA, .901 SV%, 4 SO)

Lineup Notes

For the Penguins, they re-assigned defensemen Nick D'Agostino and Harrison Ruopp to the Wheeling Nailers and signed defenseman Barry Goers to a professional tryout contract. Forward Zach Sill had surgery in Pittsburgh and is not expected to miss the rest of the season after taking a skate blade cut his forearm in the 3rd period of the Pens game in Norfolk this past Saturday.

For the Crunch, injuries continue to pile up across the Tampa Bay organization. Crunch forwards Richard Panik and Eric Neilson, who was injured this morning at practice, as well as Andrej Sustr won't be in the Crunch lineup tonight against the Pens.

Expected Lines


Zolnierczyk - Drazenovic - Kostopoulos
Kuhnhackl - Torquato - Zlobin
Uher - Carman - Thompson
Farnham - Rowney/Manderson - Leblond

Samuelsson - Despres
Harrington - Mikkelson
Dumoulin - McNeill/Goers

WBS Scratches: Carter Rowney (healthy), Barry Goers (healthy), Adam Payerl (upper body), Zach Sill (upper body)

SYR Scratches: Eric Neilson, Richard Panik, Andrej Sustr


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