Game 49 Preview: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Phantoms and Penguins set to battle tonight in Wilkes-Barre. Photo: Nina Weiss/Highland Park Hockey
Phantoms/Penguins - Round Four

Editor's Note: I'll have full coverage of tonight's Phantoms game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton , live from the Mohegan Sun Arena! The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. ET, but make sure you're following along on Twitter -> @TonyAndrock and Facebook (be sure to like the Facebook page!) for all the latest updates and information.

Stay tuned here online after the game for a recap of the action. Don't forget to subscribe to Highland Park Hockey's YouTube channel for post-game interviews with AHL hockey players.

WILKES-BARRE - There's no love lost between these two bitter rivals in the Atlantic Division, and it's only fitting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (32-14-2) take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (36-11-3) on Valentine's Day tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

In fact, the previous meeting between the two teams 10 days ago saw the Penguins make up for two defeats at the hands of the Phantoms earlier this season in a 7-1 blowout on their home ice in Wilkes-Barre.

With the Phantoms and Penguins boasting the top two records in the Atlantic Division, Eastern Conference and the entire American Hockey League (AHL) these marquee matchups will be a bit of a focal point for these two teams down the stretch. The outcome of the 12-game season series between these two teams will likely shape the Atlantic Division playoff picture.

Entering tonight's game, the Penguins have a nine-point cushion on Lehigh Valley for the top spot in the division - though the Phantoms have two games in hand and several head-to-head matchups against the Penguins that could help them narrow the gap.

After the jump, a full preview of everything you need to know in advance of tonight's game.

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Written by: Tony Androckitis, Twitter/Facebook

By The Numbers

LV: 48 games played, 32-14-2-0 = 66 points
2nd Place Atlantic Division
Streak: 0-1-0-0
Last Ten Games: 6-4-0-0

WBS: 50 games played, 36-11-3-0 = 75 points
1st Place Atlantic  Division
Streak: 2-0-0-0
Last Ten Games: 7-3-0-0

Special Teams

Power Play

LV - 53-for-231: 22.9% = 5th in AHL
WBS - 38-for-214:17.8% = 16th in AHL

Penalty Kill

LV - 153-for-185: 82.7% = 11th in AHL
WBS - 172-for-200: 86.0% = 2nd in AHL

Leading Scorers

LV:  Chris Conner (48GP, 15G-24A), T.J. Brennan (48GP, 13G-25A) and Greg Carey (48GP, 22G-13A) and Andy Miele (37GP, 5G-29A)

WBS: Tom Kostopoulos (50GP, 18G-21A), David Warsofsky (35GP, 11G-25A), Oskar Sundqvist (44GP, 14G-19A) and Kevin Porter (46GP, 8G-24A)

Expected Starting Goaltenders

LV: Alex Lyon (31GP, 20-9-2, 2.63 GAA, .911 SV%, 3 SO)
WBS: Tristan Jarry (30GP, 21-8-1, 2.26 GAA, .920 SV%, 1 SO)

Season Series

This is just the fourth of 12 meetings between the Phantoms and Penguins this season. The Phantoms have the edge in the season series 2-1 with a pair of home wins in gritty, physical affairs between bitter rivals but the Penguins dominated the Phantoms 10 days ago in Wilkes-Barre. The rivalry should only continue to heat up as the Phantoms will face the Penguins 9 more times in their final 28 games of the regular season.

Season Series Schedule

Wednesday, November 16th: W-B/Scranton -1 at Lehigh Valley - 4
Friday, January 20th: W-B/Scranton - 3 at Lehigh Valley - 5
Saturday, February 4th: Lehigh Valley - 1 at W-B/Scranton - 7
Tuesday, February 14th: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, February 25th: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 8th: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday, March 17th: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 18th: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 25th: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday, April 1st: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday, April 7th: W-B/Scranton at Lehigh Valley - 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday, April 12th: Lehigh Valley at W-B/Scranton - 7:05 p.m. ET

Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Roster Notes

Alex Lyon is expected to get the start in net tonight against St. John's, coming off a 27-save shutout Wednesday night against Binghamton. Anthony Stolarz picked up the win last night.

Scott Laughton is likely to miss his second straight game after an awkward collision in the middle of the 2nd period  Friday caused him to miss the third period. Steven Swavely was called up from Reading, and will likely slot into the lineup again tonight.

Taylor Leier will more than likely miss his sixth straight game with an undisclosed injury he re-aggravated before last Friday's game in Albany. He was seen getting on the ice after Phantoms' practice Monday afternoon, skating with other injured forwards Scott Laughton and Boyd Gordon.

Boyd Gordon, who left in the 1st period of Wednesday's win against Binghamton after a sliding BSens' forward crunched into his legs in the corner boards, is expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury.

Expected Scratches: Taylor Leier (undisclosed injury) Boyd Gordon (lower body), Reece Willcox (healthy) and Scott Laughton (undisclosed injury)

Expected Lines:

Mark Zengerle - Corban Knight - Colin McDonald
Danick Martel - Chris McCarthy - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Greg Carey - Andy Miele - Chris Conner
Steven Swavely - Radel Fazleev - Cole Bardreau

T.J. Brennan - Robert Hagg
Will O'Neill - Mark Alt
Sam Morin - Travis Sanheim

Alex Lyon - Anthony Stolarz

Recent Transactions

2/13: ADD - D Reece Willcox reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) from Reading (ECHL)
2/12: DEL - D Reece Willcox reassigned by Philadelphia (NHL) to Reading (ECHL)
2/11: ADD - F Steven Swavely recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/10: ADD - F Chris McCarthy recalled from loan to Reading (ECHL)
2/10: DEL - F Jordan Weal recalled from loan by Philadelphia (NHL)
2/2: DEL - F Kevin Sundher released from his standard player contract (SPC)


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