The Penguins and the Senators are even up at a game a piece in Round I of the Calder Cup Playoffs with Game III of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals being held tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Northeastern Pa. B-Sens and W-B/Scranton split this past weekend game’s in Binghamton with the Pens taking the opening contest 3-2 in OT and the Sens rallying back from being down by two to get the victory by a score of 4-3, that game also in overtime. This is the first game of two slated in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area with the other scheduled for Friday evening which either team can take in this short best of five game series, or split both contests and having the decider being played out in Binghamton this coming Monday.
After his club handed head coach Luke Richardson’s his first career playoff win in five tries last Saturday night along with the team’s first victory in their last nine playoff appearances against the Pens, the Sens will look to somehow squeeze out a win in the next two games at Mohegan Sun Arena where Binghamton has never won in the post season. They have scored a grand total of six goals in four games this past regular season but did have a win finishing up with a 1-3-0-0 record south of the border. I believe this team can really start something going forward in the playoffs as this will be a very good gut check for the club.
Big Boost for Bingo
There has been a Jim O’Brien sighting on the ice for the first time in a while as I had an oversight in my 4th Quarters Grades article indicating he was done for the season and was sent home. Guess he wasn’t after all as he was out with a lower body injury instead. Binghamton can sure utilize his speed and playoff experience right about now as O’B was lined up on the wing along with David Dziurzynski while Derek Grant centering during practice and I expect him to be playing despite only participating in two practice sessions as this is the playoffs afterall. Danny New has also returned on the ice after missing 22 games with a hand injury and will be ready if needed.
Binghamton’s power play leads the AHL in the post season with a whopping 42.9% succeeding in 3 for 7, while W/B-Scranton is in last place going 0 for 8. That puts the Senators tops on the PK while the Penguins in last at 57.1%. Cody Ceci, Stone and Da Costa each have 2 points on the man advantage in leading the Sens.
- Matt Puempel should be ready as he has also practiced this week after taking that rather awkward hit along the boards by Zach Sill during Friday night’s playoff opener and practiced on the top line.
- Mark Stone leads all players in two games with a +5 while Patrick Mullen, Stephane Da Costa and Cole Schneider are +4. Fredrik Claesson is -2. On the Pens side Tom Kostopoulos is a +3, as Adam Payerl and Anton Zlobin are +2. Simon Despres is -1.
- Peter Mannino and Andrew Hammond both are tied heading in at 2.58 GAA but Hammond out-edges Mannino in the SV% category by an .010%, .905 to .895. Numbers don’t lie as Hammond seems to have struggled in giving up a couple of softies while Mannino is just a victim of the Sens highly skilled offense, however both are real close on paper.
Defenseman Barry Goers tells the citizensvoice.com in about containing the Senators;
“They’re a quick transition team, so defensively, you have to make sure you’re really sound,” Goers said. “You can’t get caught out of position because they attack with a lot of speed. That’s really it. You have to make sure you’re on top of your game, positioning and being smart with the puck and making good plays. They’ll capitalize on turnovers and in transition.”
#BSens TWEET of the DAY
Congrats sens well deserved!!!! pic.twitter.com/gYfOYFNAKu
— Molly Hockey Hawley (@hockeyhawley84) April 30, 2014
Cover graphic art by Matt Trayling. Insert photo courtesy of Alicia Strauch.
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