Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview: Stuffed Checkers

After mining three out of a possible four points in Springfield and Providence last weekend, its a quick turnaround and a visit to North Carolina for the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins who face off against the Charlotte Checkers in midweek action before heading home for Thanksgiving and rematching with the Providence Bruins at home Saturday night.

The Setup

The power play drought ended on the first one awarded last weekend which snapped an 0/36 skid that the Penguins were on. Drew O’Connor, fresh down form Pittsburgh made an immediate impact across both contests that the Penguins played in, scoring three goals. A 5-4 shootout loss in Springfield was followed up by a pretty good 3-1 win in Providence.

The Pens travel down to North Carolina for a Tuesday / Wednesday night set against the Checkers. The Penguins are 1-2 against the Checkers so far this season and 1-1 against Saturday’s opponent, the Providence Bruins.

The Checkers were in Hershey Sunday after becoming just another notch on the Utica Comets belt Friday. The Comets dismantled the Checkers 4-1. On Sunday in Hershey, the Checkers were beaten by the Bears 4-2.

Providence was last in action last Saturday against the Penguins but will have played in Hershey on Wednesday and in Bridgeport on Friday.

The Records

The Penguins are 7-6-0-2, good for .533 percentage points and 5th in the Atlantic Division. The Checkers are 7-7-1-0, in sixth and .500 and the Bruins, at the time this hits the blog Tuesday, are 6-5-2-1 and good for .536 percentage points, but this will change by the time the Bruins hit the ice in Wilkes-Barre Saturday having played in two more games.

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out?

Anthony Angello continues to flip flop from day to day, week to week, to day to day with his lower body injury. Who the hell knows.

Filip Lindberg is week to week with a lower body injury. The Penguins have made no transactions so far this week, giving the wire a break.

What can we learn from the Penguins this week?

If Drew O’Connor plays in all three games, how much does he factor in to the result? Do the Pens pull out a win with him going scoreless and with three shots or does the offense run through him? That isn’t going to be good once he’s inevitably recalled leaving the Penguins back at square one again.

There has been some continuity with the defense corps, which is good. Regardless of what happens up front, it should be interesting to see how the defense tries to contain the Checkers offense and how much of that plays into the ultimate outcome of the games this week. I’d like to see a shutout thrown in here somewhere.

Who’s in Goal?

I don’t want to think that the Penguins drive Louis Domingue until the wheels fall off but they made a liar out of me last weekend when I said that with him seeing 39 shots in Springfield there was little chance he started the next night in Providence. Not only did he do that, he went out and won too.

Do I think Domingue gets both games in Charlotte? Maybe. Is it a foregone conclusion that Tommy Nappier is just there for show? Maybe, too. He has to get his reps in but if you want to ride the hot hand and keep Domingue’s workload to a minimum Tuesday, why not go directly back to him Wednesday? It’s possible that head coach J.D. Forrest does just that.

For the Checkers you will see Joey Daccord and Christopher Gibson in some form or fashion on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Providence has a brutal at Hershey Wednesday, at Bridgeport Friday then at Wilkes-Barre Saturday at 6:05 on their schedule this week. It’s a hellish week of work, so who knows this far out who they go with Saturday. It’s either Troy Grosenick, working his way back from injury or Kyle Keyser, who the Pens saw on Saturday.

Who is running the show?

Referees Brett Roeland and Cody Beach get the two day assignment from the AHL as do linesmen Brian Pincus and Scott Senger. You aren’t having refs shuffle in and out there on back to back games. They send who they need to and then its onto the next city.

For Saturday in Wilkes-Barre, Mason Riley and Jim Curtin get the assignment and Tom George and Tom DellaFranco will handle the lines.

Looking ahead...

I don’t want to. The next time the Penguins hit the ice after this week it will be December already and time for snow. Speaking of snow and cold, the Penguins will travel to the coldest spot in the Eastern Conference next Friday when they face off against the Syracuse Crunch, then it’s back home again next Saturday night against the Charlotte Checkers and then get ready, the Hershey Bears make their debut on the schedule for the Penguins and in a big way. Four out of the next five are against the Bears, who the Penguins will see six times total in the month of December.

Give us a bold prediction…

You won’t shovel any snow until January. Happy Thanksgiving.

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