Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview – More, Canada!

The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins took a split in Toronto earlier in the week and now look to wrap up the Canadian trip with wins in Belleville Friday and Laval on Saturday afternoon.

What did the Penguins do on Tuesday that they didn’t do on Wednesday? Wednesday was a lot of standing around and getting made a fool by Josh Ho-Sang and Nick Robertson. Tuesday was generating traffic in front of Michael Hutchinson’s goal and getting deflections for goals.

The Penguins didn’t make any lineup changes Wednesday. Toronto made a bunch. Tuesday’s Penguins never adjusted to Wednesday’s Marlies.

The Setup

A Friday game in Belleville then a Saturday afternoon game in Laval. The players are looking forward to the game against the Rocket because a lot of friends and family are going to be in attendance for the game. Well, they better show up.

The Senators beat the Rocket 2-1 on Wednesday in a shootout. Cayden Primeau stopped 40 shots.

Laval hosts Lehigh Valley on Friday.

The Records

Pens are sixth in the Atlantic, 27-25-4-4 good for a .517 points percentage.

The Belleville Senators are 29-23-3-0 and have a .555 points percentage. They are in sixth in the North Division. The Laval Rocket are second in the North with a 28-21-3-1 and a .566 points percentage.

Who’s Up, Who’s Down, Who’s Out?

Radim Zohorna is up, Juuso Riikola returned Tuesday. Taylor Fedun is not on the trip. Filip Hallander is day to day. No one is up from Wheeling. Filip Lindberg is done for the year.

Who’s in Goal?

I’d go Tommy Nappier Friday and Louis Domingue Saturday. Domingue got shelled Wednesday and was out there on his own. At some point, Domingue is going to need a break. Use it against the team lower in the standings, no matter how tight those standings are.

I don’t see any reason why Mads Sogaard doesn’t get the nod for Troy Mann on Friday and Kevin Poulin for Jean-François Houle on Saturday.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

It is getting tight. There is not a lot of margin for error. Hershey nullified the game in hand victory the Pens achieved on Tuesday with winning Wednesday. It’s a six point deficit to Hershey at fifth, and just a two point lead over Bridgeport for a playoff spot.

Have to beat Belleville. Have to beat Laval. There is no, “well maybe” here or out of town scoreboard watching and hoping.

How? Move your feet. Something they didn’t do much of Wednesday. Go back and watch those goals the Marlies scored. The Marlies were the bus pulling up to the station and the Penguins were the passengers. You can’t do that. Louis Domingue has you primed to move up in the standings and you leave him on an island to get shelled all night and provide him no offensive support.

Who is running the show?

Kyle Lekun and Graedy Hamilton, who the Penguins saw Wednesday, have the referee duties on Friday with Kevin Hastings and Tommy Hughes on the lines. On Saturday afternoon (the game begins at 3) Mike Campbell and Mackenzie Nichol get the assignment and Vincent Bigras and Maxime Bédard work the lines.

Looking ahead…

Pens return home for a Wednesday game against the Hartford Wolf Pack then travel to Allentown for a Friday game against the Phantoms then host Bridgeport on Saturday.

Give us a bold prediction…

Strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride to the finish.

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