Providence Hosts Bridgeport with Both Teams Riding Point-Streaks

Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (22-14-2-1, 47 PTS, 1st Atlantic) host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (23-9-2-2, 50 PTS, 2nd East) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' first of two regular season match-ups on the year. The P-Bruins and Sound Tigers are scheduled to meet again on March 21 at the Arena at Harbor Yard.

Both teams enter play tonight riding point-streaks with Providence at 3-0-1-0 over its last four games and Bridgeport 2-0-1-0 in its previous three. The P-Bruins have won four straight games at home, however, and sit 15-4-0-0 at The Dunk. Providence's 15 wins on home-ice are tied for first in the AHL with the Manitoba Moose. Bridgeport, meanwhile, has been impressive on foreign-ice at 11-6-1-1.

Providence has had a busy week, beginning Tuesday and Wednesday with a trio of All-Star selections. On Tuesday, Johnny Boychuk was named a starting defenseman for the Canadian team in the upcoming 2009 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Charter Communications, slated for January 26 at the DCU Center. The All-Star nod is Boychuk's first while teammate Martin St. Pierre was selected for the fourth straight season after starting in each of the last two years. He was named a reserve for the Canadian squad. Martins Karsums was added to the festivities on Wednesday, named a PlanetUSA reserve forward for his first career All-Star selection.

The P-Bruins went on to play Wednesday night, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Manchester Monarchs after tying the game at two with 1:37 remaining in regulation on Karsums' team-high 16th goal of the year. Brad Marchand added a pair of points in the defeat as Providence dropped to 0-2-1-1 on the year against Manchester.

This morning, Providence received reinforcements from the north after St. Pierre and Vladimir Sobotka were assigned by the Boston Bruins. St. Pierre recorded three points (g, 2a) in nine games with the parent club while Sobotka added two points (g, a) in 15 contests for Boston over two separate recalls. Both are having productive AHL campaigns. St. Pierre has registered 35 points (10g, 25a) in 30 games for Providence to Sobotka's 21 points (10g, 11a) in 17 tilts.

Bridgeport played on Wednesday as well, improving to 5-2 in shootouts on the year after a 4-3 home win over the Houston Aeros. Kurtis McLean scored twice in the game, snapping a seven-game goal-scoring drought. Former P-Bruins 2006-07 Most Valuable Player Ben Walter has been hot for the Sound Tigers with points in each of his last six contests (g, 6a) while All-Star Mike Iggulden is on a four-game scoring streak (g, 4a).

Along with Walter, the Sound Tigers have three additional former P-Bruins of recent years: 2007-08 All-Star defenseman Brett Skinner and 2006-07 Providence forwards Sean Bentivoglio and Dennis Packard.

Karsums paces Providence's offense with 16 goals and 39 points. Boychuk and St. Pierre are tied for the club-lead in assists with 25 apiece. In net, Tuukka Rask is 16-13-0 with three shutouts and a 2.47 goals-against-average. Iggulden tops the Bridgeport offense with 40 points, including an active team-high 16 goals. McLean is tops on the club with 28 helpers, tied for third in the league. Between the pipes, Peter Mannino is 9-7-2 with a 3.03 GAA while Nathan Lawson is 7-1-0 in nine contests, showing a 1.70 GAA.

On special teams, Providence ranks in the top 10 on both the power play (7th, 19.9%) and the penalty kill (T-8th, 84.3%). The P-Bruins are second, however, with 41 power play goals scored. Bridgeport is third in the AHL with the man-advantage, converting 20.6% of the time, and 14th on the penalty kill at 82.9%.

Tonight is Zach Hamill Bobblehead Night, courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts, your New England Dodge Dealers, Lukoil, 2nd Time Around Sports, WEEI, NBC 10 and Your Sports Memorabilia Store.

Providence has a rare Saturday off tomorrow but returns to action on Sunday by welcoming the Lowell Devils into town at 4:05 p.m. for Vladimir Sobotka Poster Day.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com. Tickets may be purchased in person by visiting the Dunkin' Donuts Center Box Office or all TicketMaster outlets.