Game I of this back to back road series is being held tonight in southern Virginia as the Binghamton Senators and the Norfolk Admirals face yet another critical showdown within a week as first place is again up for grabs between the two clubs in the East. Senators are coming off a lackadaisical effort in Albany on Wednesday losing 2-1, while Norfolk is back on track winning their last two.
This weekend won’t be easy as Binghamton is 6-11-1-0 over the last five years at the Scope Arena where they just seem to have difficulties. Lost in the mix, but not forgotten, is W/B-Scranton who is tied with the Admirals for second as they travel up north tonight to Syracuse to take on the last place Crunch.
(36-21-1-4) 77 pts
First in East Division
(34-21-1-7) 76 pts
Third in East Division
Andre Petersson, the Admirals’ sudden leading scorer via a trade, was out with an injury as he missed his last game but looks to return against his former team at some point this weekend. Emerson Etem, their second leading scorer, is on recall with parent club Anaheim as well as Rickard Rakell, their fourth leading scorer. However, it looks like Norfolk has some good, solid depth that can replace those important role players as they continue to roll out the W’s in their absence.
Like I mentioned earlier Norfolk, Virginia hasn’t been a kind place for Binghamton in the past. If they can some how come out of it with a split, then we should breathe easier because losing both games will obviously not bode well in their jockeying in the Eastern Conference. Also need a little help from Syracuse tonight. Ugh!
Fredrik Claesson continues his remarkable, steady play as he has not missed a game all season and leads the league with a +37. Good positional, stay at home d-man that likes to take the body and is reliable on killing penalties as you will always find number 3 on the ice whether the team is down a man or two.
Matt Puempel has arrived and is producing in leading the club in scoring with 24 goals and is currently 15th in points amongst all rookies with 37. He also leads the AHL with 13 power play goals in the rookie category as his potent, quick one timer is effective from anywhere in the offensive zone. It’s been a blast watching his development unfold as I knew I saw potential in him from that late spring addition last season and into the first round playoffs.
Btw, did I really just ask Syracuse for some help?
Players To Watch For
Norfolk: Forwards Max Friberg (14g 18a 61gms) and Devante Smith-Pelly(24g 16a 50gms), Defenseman Kevin Gagne (2g 15a 58gms).
Binghamton: Forward Stephane Da Costa (15g 38a 51gms) and David Dziurzynski (8g 11a 54gms), Defenseman Chris Wideman (7g 34a 60gms).
Sens are 3-1-0-0 this season against the Admirals with four games remaining, both in Norfolk this weekend and two remaining in Binghamton.
Current Playoff Picture
- Percentage of reaching the playoffs: 98.1%
- Overall position (out of 100%) : 9th in the league
- Won or loss after last game +/-: -1.0 (L to Albany).
Sens Tweet of the Day
Hockey people are the best! pic.twitter.com/Qo1C007R37
— Matt Puempel (@mpuempel) March 20, 2014
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Cover photo courtesy of Matt Trayling.