Penguins vs. IceCaps - Series Storylines

Saturday, May 31, 2014
For the second time in franchise history, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins met the St. John's IceCaps in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Oddly enough, the series this year is playing out almost exactly like their previous meeting in the 2012 Eastern Conference Semifinals through the first four games.

Back in 2012, the Penguins and IceCaps split the first two games up in Newfoundland before the IceCaps came into Wilkes-Barre and won Games Three and Four, putting the Penguins in a 3-1 series hole and on the brink of elimination. The 2012 Penguins pulled out a double overtime win in Game Five in front of their home crowd and even took Game Six up in Newfoundland before coming up short in Game Seven. Can the Penguins do that again in 2014?

For the Penguins, it has been a far more physical series than their first and second round matches with Binghamton and Providence. The Pens came into the series already without their top center in Andrew Ebbett and arguably their most reliable defensive defenseman in Reid McNeill.

Add forwards Chuck Kobasew, Nick Drazenovic and Dominik Uher to the Penguins injured list this round and it's easy to see why the Pens are having trouble scoring goals and on the brink after just four games.

Ebbett and Kobasew did skate in yesterday's optional practice at the Toyota Sportsplex, but whether or not that means they can return to action tonight in Game Five remains to be seen. They're both likely game time decisions, but can their possible return turn the tides or is it a case of too little too late?

I'll be live from Mohegan Sun Arena tonight with all the latest in Game Five of the series. You can follow in-game updates every step of the way on our Twitter page - @H_P_Hockey. Check back here shortly following tonight's game for a recap of all the action.

Highland Park Hockey is the Town & Country Gazette's source for daily coverage of the American Hockey League (AHL). Let us be your source for the latest news/updates of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2014 Calder Cup Playoff run.

Series Story Lines

  • The power play has been the Achilles heel for the Penguins, currently 0-for-21 in the series through four games. This is where the losses of Ebbett, Kobasew and Drazenovic are most noticed.
  • To further prove my point that the Pens live and die by the power play, here's a look at the power play stats in their seven postseason wins vs. their eight postseason losses in the 2014 playoffs: In their eight losses in the postseason: 0-for-31. In their 7 wins: 10-for-43.
  • Current IceCaps forward and former Hershey Bears star Andrew Gordon continues to be a Penguin killer, with six points (2G-4A) in the four games this series. He leads the IceCaps in playoff scoring with 14 points (8G-6A) in 14 games.
  • A scoring change in a previous game took away a point from Conor Sheary, which ended his points scoring streak at four games. For awhile, his points scoring streak was listed at eight games before Wednesday's 5-0 loss in Game Three. Either way, Sheary has been a pleasant surprise for the Pens coming in undrafted out of UMass with 10 points (6G-4A) in 13 playoff games this year. 


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