P-BRUINS LOOK TO EXTEND POINT-STREAK
Providence Hosts Lowell in Sixth of 10 Regular Season Meetings
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (23-14-2-1, 49 PTS, 1st Atlantic) host the Lowell Devils (17-16-1-3, 38 PTS, 6th Atlantic) this afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' sixth of 10 regular season match-ups on the year. The Devils lead the series 3-2-0-0 after defeating the P-Bruins 8-1 at the Tsongas Arena on December 27, 2008. Only one of the five meetings thus far has been decided by fewer than two goals, Providence's 4-3 shootout win on opening night.
Providence enters today's contest with wins in its last five home games and points in five straight games overall (4-0-1-0). The P-Bruins last played on Friday night, beating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 4-1 at The Dunk. Jordan Knackstedt (g, a) and Martin St. Pierre (2a) led all scorers with two points apiece while Tuukka Rask made 26 saves for the win. The game marked the return of St. Pierre and Vladimir Sobotka from the Boston Bruins after lengthy National Hockey League call-ups. Sobotka added a goal in his first game back to extend his AHL point-streak to six games dating back to November 28, 2008. Missing from action on Friday night were wingers Martins Karsums and Byron Bitz. Both were recalled to Boston on Saturday morning and suited up for Boston's 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes later in the day. Karsums, appearing in his second career NHL game, and Bitz, making his NHL debut, both registered their first career NHL points with assists. Former P-Bruins David Krejci (g, 2a) and Matt Lashoff (a) also picked up points in Boston's victory.
Lowell is 2-1-0-0 on the week after a 3-2 home win over the Portland Pirates on Wednesday and a 7-3 victory in Portland on Friday. The Devils were edged 2-1 on the road Saturday night by the Worcester Sharks. Lowell is 8-9-1-1 when playing on foreign-ice this season while Providence leads the league with 16 home wins.
Among active players, the P-Bruins are led offensively by St. Pierre's 37 points, including a team-high 27 assists. Karsums paces all Providence players with 39 points, also leading the team with 16 goals. Sobotka is the active goals leader with 11, one ahead of St. Pierre, Jeremy Reich and Mikko Lehtonen. In net, Rask, recalled to Boston yesterday to back up Tim Thomas in the absence of Manny Fernandez before being returned to Rhode Island after the game, is 17-13-0 with three shutouts and a 2.42 goals-against-average on the year.
Jon DiSalvitore leads the Devils with 13 goals, 20 assists and 33 points. Jeff Frazee has seen the bulk of the action between the pipes, going 12-6-2 with two blankings and a 2.33 GAA in 21 games. Chad Wiseman (4g, 3a) and Tyler Eckford (7a) each have seven points against Providence on the year while Frazee is 3-1-0 with a 1.25 GAA and .964 save percentage in four outings.
On special teams, Providence ranks in the top 10 on both the power play (8th, 19.5%) and the penalty kill (6th, 84.5%). Lowell is 18th in the AHL with the man-advantage, converting 15.8% of the time, and 13th when short-handed at 83.5%.
Today is Vladimir Sobotka Poster Day with posters free to the first 1,500 fans in attendance. Providence is next in action on Wednesday at Lowell at 7 p.m. The P-Bruins then host Portland on Friday at 7:05 p.m. for Dunkin' Donuts Mug Night. Saturday, the P-Bruins travel to face the Hartford Wolf Pack at 8 p.m. Providence wraps up the four-game week on Sunday, hosting the Rochester Americans for Lukoil Thunderstick Night.
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.