Binghamton Senators and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are separated by a single point (with the Sens having a game in hand) will battle for divisional rights as first place is at stake when the two rivals lace up for tonight’s contest at the Arena. The Pens are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Hershey while the Sens are reeling in a loss to Hamilton 5-4 in OT despite being up by three early at Ottawa’s CTC last Saturday night. Mike Hoffman is returning after his sizzling performance at the AHL All-Star Classic by receiving the AHL’s ‘Player of the Game‘ award after recording a goal and two assists in the AHL’s 7-2 win over Farjestad BK.
(29-15-1-3) 62 pts
First in East Division
(28-16-2-3) 61 pts
Second in East Division
Hammond / Greenham
Injured Reserve: Goalie Nathan Lawson, flu.
Healthy: Forward Derek Grant, Matt Puempel and Buddy Robinson, Defenseman Mike Sdao.
The Pens have erased a five point lead and cut it to one as they are over their latest scoring slump and have added forward Brian Gibbons from Pittsburgh. Both Norfolk and Hershey are tied for third with 58 points as the most talented division in the league is tightening up big time. A pair of losses could see the Sens drop to fourth place as the crucial weekend plays out.
Binghamton has to play 60 minutes as they have lost their last two games that should have been easy wins. In the past two games saw lowly Portland’s 5-1 win was just an overall lazy effort while the defense took the night off and last Saturday’s 5-4 loss in OT to Hamilton, although a better effort, another example of a Sens collapse after being up 3-0. The additions of forwards Mark Stone and Stephane Da Costa along with Grant should provide some help to stabilize the offense.
Andrew Hammond, in net for both losses, needs to step up and now is the time for there is a race that the Sens should have opened up on. The defense has to give Andrew better support in front of the net and in clearing the bodies for Hammond to have any success. Lawson has been riddled with injuries/flu lately and can’t be depended on but currently he’s the only option in net. I would expect a better effort out of Puempel than the one up in Ottawa which was disappointing to me seeing how management was looking at our prospect’s and it was his time to shine. UPDATE: Grant and Puempel stuck in Philly and will not play.
Players To Watch For
W/B-Scranton: Forwards Tom Kostopoulos (18g 14a 46gms) and Harry Zolnierczyk (16g 12a 39gms), Defenseman Brendan Mikkelson (3g 22a 48gms).
Binghamton: Forwards Hoffman (25g 33a 46gms), Da Costa (12g 26a 38gms) and Stone (9g 9a 19gms).
Penguins have won two out of three games played with the last a 4-1 win at W/B-S. There is five games left between the two clubs including tonight’s contest.
- Current Percentage of Binghamton reaching the playoffs: 96.5%
- Overall position (out of 100%) : 8th in the league
- Won or loss after last game +/-: -0.1 (L to Hamilton 5-4).
Sens Tweet of the Day
Ciao Newfoundland! What an experience. I had an amazing time! Thanks for all the support! #AHLAllStar
— Mike Hoffman (@MHoffy68) February 13, 2014
Cover photo courtesy of Jeff Ulmer.