Game 59 Preview: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley

Friday, March 4, 2016
Phantoms and Penguins renew their rivalry tonight at the PPL Center. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following me on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and now on Facebook (be sure to like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information this evening. Stay tuned here online after the game for a recap of the action.

You can help keep me on the road covering the Lehigh Valley Phantoms by making a donation via GoFundMe or PayPal.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms (27-26-2-3) welcome the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (33-18-4-1) into town tonight for their ninth meeting of the season. While the Penguins own the season series with a record of 4-3-1-0 against Lehigh Valley this season, the lineup they enter tonight's contest with is very much different than the last meeting between these two teams before the AHL's All-Star break.

Injuries and call ups are starting to catch up to the Penguins who are in second place now in the Atlantic Division for the first time in months. Goaltender Matt Murray, defenseman Derrick Pouliot and forwards Tom Kuhnhackl, Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson are all up with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Forwards Sahir Gill, Conor Sheary and Oskar Sundqvist are not 100% healthy.

The Penguins got a major boost at the trade deadline on Monday when Pittsburgh acquired former WBS forward Dustin Jeffrey from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Matia Marcantuoni. Jeffrey enters the weekend tied for ninth in the entire AHL in scoring.

Similar to Anthony Stolarz's franchise record 51 saves Wednesday, Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry stopped 47 shots in his team's last outing Sunday in Providence - one shy of the Penguins' franchise record. Another goaltender's duel could be on tap tonight.

For all the latest in-game updates and information, make sure you're following me on Twitter both at @TonyAndrock for Phantoms news/notes and @H_P_Hockey for Penguins news/notes. I'll have a recap of the action here online shortly following the game complete with reaction from the players and head coach Scott Gordon.

Some great follows for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins coverage are their two daily beat reporters Tom Venesky (@TLTomVenesky) and Seth Lasko (@CVSethLasko). Two of the best in the business.

News, notes, stats, numbers and a whole bunch more after the jump.

By The Numbers

LV: 58 games played, 27-26-2-3 = 59 points
7th Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 5-3-0-2
Streak: 2-0-0-0

WBS: 56 games played, 33-18-4-1 = 71 points
2nd Place - Atlantic Division
Last 10 Games: 3-4-3-0
Streak: 0-2-0-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV: 17.6% - 13th in AHL
WBS: 19.3% - 7th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV: 82.6% - 15th in AHL
WBS: 85.3% - 8th in AHL

Leading Scorers (Active)

LV:  Chris Conner (41GP, 12G-29A), Taylor Leier (53GP,18G-21A), Petr Straka (48GP, 17G-16A), Danick Martel (50GP, 20G-11A)

WBS: Dustin Jeffrey (45GP, 13G-33A), Conor Sheary (30GP, 7G-29A), Dominik Simon (50GP, 15G-20A), Carter Rowney (55GP, 14G-21A)

Starting Goaltenders

LV: Anthony Stolarz (19-12-5, 2.46 GAA, .920 SV%, 0 SO)
WBS: Tristan Jarry (11-6-3, 2.33 GAA, .922 SV%, 3 SO)

Season Series

This is the ninth of 12 scheduled meetings between Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season. The Penguins lead the season series with a 4-3-1-0 record against the Phantoms entering tonight's game.

Head to Head Scoring Leaders

LV: Mark Alt (7GP, 1G-2A), Taylor Leier (8GP, 3G-2A), Chris Connet (4GP, 2G-3A), Colin McDonald (6GP, 3G-1A)

WBS: Will O'Neill (8GP, 3G-6A), Dominik Simon (6GP, 2G-4A), Conor Sheary (6GP, 1G-7A), Tom Kostopoulos (8GP, 3G-3A),

Goalies Head to Head Stats

LV: Anthony Stolarz (4GP, 2-2-0, 3.72 GAA, .872 SV%, 0 SO)
      Martin Ouellette - No Stats

WBS: Tristan Jarry (3GP, 1-1-1, 2.62 GAA, .906 SV%, 1 SO)
           Brian Foster (1GP, 0-1-0, 3.09 GAA, .842 SV% 0 SO)

Season Series Schedule

Sat. 10/17, Lehigh Valley - 4 at W-B/Scranton - 6
Fri. 12/4, Lehigh Valley - 3 at W-B/Scranton - 1
Fri. 12/11, W-B/Scranton - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 0
Wed. 12/16, W-B/Scranton - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 0
Sun. 12/27, Lehigh Valley - 3 at W-B/Scranton - 0
Fri. 1/8, W-B/Scranton - 4 at Lehigh Valley - 3
Fri. 1/29, W-B/Scranton - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 4 (OT)
Sat. 1/30, Lehigh Valley - 5 at W-B/Scranton - 3
Fri. 3/4, W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Wed. 3/9, Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Fri. 4/8, Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Fri. 4/15. W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Anthony Stolarz will make his ninth straight start in net tonight for the Phantoms. He's 4-1-2 in his last seven starts with a 2.08 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

Jason LaBarbera has recovered from the puck that hit him on the bench last Friday against Hartford, but as first reported here he is dealing with a nagging injury from the last few weeks and will not dress this weekend. Martin Ouellette will serve as the team's backup goaltender.

Max Lamarche and Dalton Smith are the team's healthy scratches tonight. Jay Rosehill and Christian Marti, who were scratched Wednesday night, returned to the Phantoms' lineup.

Dalton Smith made his Phantoms' debut Wednesday night in Syracuse against his former team. Smith spent the better part of two seasons with the Crunch.

Chris Conner enters tonight's game riding an 11-game points scoring streak at home. His nine-game points streak overall ended in Wednesday night's shootout win.

Scratches: Kevin Sundher (lower body since 12/27), Michael Parks (upper body since 10/17), Max Lamarche (healthy), Dalton Smith (healthy), Jason LaBarbera (upper body), Tim Brent (hand/wrist surgery) and Logan Pyett (out indefinitely).

Lines (Starters in Bold/Italics):

Petr Straka - Cole Bardreau - Colin McDonald (C)
Taylor Leier (A) - Phil DeSimone - Chris Conner
Danick Martel - Kevin Goumas - Aaron Palushaj
Tyrell Goulbourne - Joe Rehkamp - Jay Rosehill

Davis Drewiske (A) - Christian Marti
Sam Morin - Mark Alt
Adam Comrie - Robert Hagg

Anthony Stolarz - Martin Ouellette

Recent Transactions

3/1: DEL - D Jesper Pettersson returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/29: DEL - C Nick Cousins recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
2/29: ADD - C Nick Cousins returned on loan from Philadelphia (NHL)
2/28: ADD - D Jesper Pettersson recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/26: DEL - RW Pavel Padakin returned on loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/22: ADD - LW Dalton Smith signed to a professional tryout contract (PTO)


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