Chirps from Center Ice

A fan blog about the AHL's Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins

Weekend Preview: Ghost Bear Wolf

What is this, last week? Phantoms and Wolf Pack again? Again? It’s the third week in a row we’ve played these clowns!

Oh, hey, Providence. They are new.

Anyway, let’s get into this weeks preview.

The Setup

Last week the Pens hosted the Phantoms for a midweek game then took off to Hartford and Springfield for a weekend road trip. They got points out of all of the contests. They have points in five straight actually. Last week it was a 4-2 win at home against Lehigh Valley Wednesday, a 3-2 shootout loss in Hartford Friday and a 4-3 overtime win in Springfield on Saturday.

This week it’s a Wednesday jaunt down the PA Turnpike to Allentown followed by a Friday home game against Providence then a Saturday trip back up to Hartford.

The Phantoms played up in Utica last Friday then hosted Syracuse Saturday. They are still winless. They had leads they couldn’t hold onto in Utica and again at home against Syracuse. As mentioned in my AHL Power Rankings from just yesterday, this team stinks.

The Bruins hosted the Checkers Friday then traveled to Bridgeport Saturday. They beat the Checkers and lost to the Islanders. The Bruins are struggling too, but not on the level of the Phantoms.

Hartford hosted Charlotte Saturday then went trick or treating Sunday in Bridgeport. They lost to Charlotte but pasted Bridgeport Sunday.

I’m sick of Lehigh Valley and Hartford!

Just wait, after this week, you’ll be sick of Charlotte who the Penguins see four times in November. There are two more meetings with Providence in there too.

And we haven’t even gotten to Hershey yet, who isn’t even on the schedule until December.

The Records

Pens are 5-1-0-1, good for second in the Atlantic. Phantoms are 0-5-2-0, good for last. Wolf Pack are fourth (5-2-1-0) and Providence is seventh (2-3-1-1)

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out?

Anthony Angello is still, “day to day” with a lower body injury. I don’t know how you can say that with a straight face when, seven games into a season and already through a month, Angello has yet to appear in a contest. Joining him from Saturday were Michael Chaput and Jamie Devane, with day to day lower body injuries. Whether either are available this week is anyone’s guess. Kasper Bjorkqvist was returned from Pittsburgh on Saturday. Radim Zohorna was injured Saturday in Springfield. P.O. Joseph went up Sunday because two defensemen went in the COVID protocol. On Tuesday morning, Coal Street recalled Justin Almeida and signed Matt Alfaro to a PTO from the Wheeling Nailers.

Zohorna was injured on this hit that Tanner Kaspick laid on him and Kaspick was suspended for one game on Wednesday by the AHL.

Who’s in Goal?

It’s probably the same as it was last week, Filip Lindberg Wednesday, Louis Domingue Friday and then Lindberg again Saturday. For the opposition expect Felix Sandstrom Wednesday, Kyle Keyser for Providence on Friday and then likely Adam Huska for the Wolf Pack since Hartford will likely roll out Keith Kinkaid when they host Bridgeport the night prior on Friday.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

Are they lucky or good or a little of both? Forget about Lehigh Valley for a second. They make everyone look good. The Penguins were outplayed in Hartford last Friday and lucky to earn a point. The Penguins were outclassed in the third period up in Springfield and lucky enough to not blow the lead entirely and good enough to win in overtime. So maybe it’s a little of both, and that can be a good thing.

I still don’t think we get an answer because Providence hasn’t been playing the best of late either and the Penguins always manage to eke out a point against Hartford. There’s always next week.

Who’s running the show?

Scheduled refereess for this week is Reid Anderson and Mason Riley with Josh Cleary and Tom DellaFranco on the lines on Wednesday. On Friday in Wilkes-Barre, it’s Patrick Hanrahan (again, third time so far) and Stephen Hiff handing penalties with Jud Ritter and J.P. Waleski on the lines. Then Saturday in Hartford, Rob Hennessy and Michael Zyla get the officiating assignment with Kenneth Gates and Brent Colby on the lines.

Looking ahead…

Three straight home games. Rochester makes their only trip of the season on Wednesday, then Charlotte sets up shop for a Friday / Saturday series. I’d rather it flipped, having Charlotte here Wednesday and Friday, that way you get Rochester, a team that comes in every now and then, in front of more folks on a Saturday instead of about 2,000 on a goofy midweek Wednesday. But I don’t make the schedule.

Remember that those Saturday home games in Wilkes-Barre start at 6:05.

Give us a bold prediction…

Valtteri Puustinen breaks out in a major way this week and transfers that strong showing into AHL Player of the Week honors next week.

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