Chirps from Center Ice

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

Weekend Preview: Pair of Threes

One of the two three in three weekends will be played by the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins this weekend when they host the Laval Rocket on Friday then hit the road to face the Hartford Wolf Pack Saturday and the Providence Bruins on Sunday afternoon.

Music to Set the Mood…

The 80’s were something else, man.

A Quote

If you run from a wolf, you may run into a bear.
– Lithuanian proverb

I like this one. I’ve got Hartford and Hershey pegged as the class of the Atlantic Division field early. If one doesn’t lead the other one will. Plus, it ties in nicely to the weekend of play with the Wolf Pack and Bruins.

The Setup

Laval, Hartford and Providence, all within the span of about 48 hours. A good test to see what kind of team we have under us.

About that… we really don’t know what kind of team we have under us just yet. They lost in overtime with 1.4 seconds left Saturday to Lehigh Valley and a power outage in Utica on Monday cut short what was at the time a 2-1 Comets lead. That game was suspended and will be completed January 24. So the Pens are technically still 0-0-1-0.

Laval hosted Springfield Wednesday and shut them out 2-0. Cayden Primeau had 34 saves. Last weekend the Rocket played the Belleville Senators in a home and home and lost in OT last Friday and straight up on Saturday.

Hartford was in Charlotte last weekend and were swept. They lost Friday in overtime 4-3 and Saturday straight up 3-1. The Checkers cumulatively went 3/10 on the power play in both games.

Providence looks really good, dropping Bridgeport 3-1 Friday and beating Springfield 4-3 Sunday. Keith Kinkaid stopped 42 shots Friday and Fabian Lysell had three assists Sunday. Bruins went 2/4 on the power play but Springfield also struck twice on the power play in six tries.

So we may not know what kind of team we have under us until next week.


The Pens enter the weekend 0-0-1-0 … Laval has a 1-1-1-0 record … Hartford is 0-1-1-0 and Providence shows 2-0-0-0. Early days.

Man, am I glad percentage points are gone for good.

Who’s Up? Who’s Down? Who’s Out?

Sam Houde took a skate to the face Saturday and missed Monday’s game in Utica….Chris Ortiz was sent to Wheeling Monday….Jonathan Gruden is day to day….Jordan Frasca is week to week….Jamie Devane has a middle body injury (that’s new) and they still need to evaluate. Coal Street sent goalie Taylor Gauthier down to Wheeling on Wednesday. No one is presently on recall to Pittsburgh.

What can we learn about the Penguins this week?

Three more tough opponents. I wanted to look at the production from the top six but when I did it was good, accounting for more than 80% of the offense. I wouldn’t expect any major shake ups to the top six. I would, however, shake up the defense. Laval isn’t going to be a pushover. Hartford had a bad weekend in Charlotte on the road but have their home opener and have a lot of great expectations this season. Providence looks elite, but it’s only two games.

Are we grinding for goals as we were last Saturday against the Phantoms or chasing the game with questionable defense from veteran leaders as we saw in parts in Utica?

The more I think of it, the more of a story the absence of Jonathan Gruden will be to this team. Penalty killer. Bottom six forward. Drink stirrer. Felix Robert ain’t walking through that door till Syracuse comes to town.

Who is in goal?

They gave Dustin Tokarski the start Saturday which was a shock to me. I think they go back to Filip Lindberg again Friday, Tokarski Saturday against his old team in Hartford and Lindberg Sunday in Providence. Flip it if Tokarski comes out first Friday. I don’t think anyone plays back to back.

The aforementioned Cayden Primeau gave up six against Troy Mann’s Belleville Senators on Friday. Kevin Poulin fared no better Saturday against the Senators. I think it’s Primeau’s start, especially coming off of the shutout Wednesday against the Thunderbirds, but there’s the whole travel and crossing the border you have to deal with so it may actually be Poulin’s start. I’m glad I don’t wager on these!

Louis Domingue will likely face off against his old team Saturday for the Wolf Pack’s home opener. Toss a coin for Kyle Keyser or Keith Kinkaid for the Bruins Sunday, who will also be playing their third game in as many nights, but all at home.

Who is running the show?

Conor O’Donnell and Amanda Tassoni have the assignment on Friday with Josh Cleary and Bill Lyons on the lines. Saturday up in Hartford, it’s Dre Barone and Mike Dietrich doling out penalties and Trevor Disbennett and Nick Briganti on the lines. Sunday in Providence, Dietrich again with Rob Hennessey and Dan Kelly and Stephen Drain on the lines.

Looking ahead…

Cleveland drops in for an ever popular weekday home game, Wednesday when they take on the Penguins at 7:05. Then the Pens stay in state with a Friday trip to Allentown to take on the Phantoms and then Hershey to visit the Bears Saturday.

Give us a bold prediction…

I’ll slowly warm up to work night home games.

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