DIVISION RIVALS MATCH UP AT THE DUNK
Providence Hosts Worcester to Close Out Two-Game Weekend
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (28-19-2-1, 59 PTS, 1st Atlantic) host the Worcester Sharks (27-21-0-2, 56 PTS, 3rd Atlantic) this afternoon at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in the teams' seventh of 10 regular season meetings in 2008-09. The P-Bruins lead the season-series 5-0-1-0 and the all-time series 20-6-2. The clubs last matched up one week ago as Providence edged Worcester 2-1 on Super Bowl Sunday.
Both the P-Bruins and Sharks enter today's game after having Saturday off. Providence defeated the then AHL-leading Manitoba Moose on Friday night at The Dunk, 3-2 in a shootout to improve to 8-3 in extra-session games this year. Tuukka Rask earned the win with 28 saves in his first start since returning from the Boston Bruins, extending the P-Bruins' win-streak to three games. Worcester, meanwhile, dropped its contest 3-2 on the road Friday evening against the Manchester Monarchs. The Sharks have points in seven of their last 10 games with a 6-3-0-1 mark. Worcester, however, has struggled on the road at 11-13-0-1 overall while Providence ranks among the league's best with an 18-8-0-0 home record.
Providence is led offensively by Martin St. Pierre's 42 points, including a team-high 30 assists. Martins Karsums, currently with the Latvian National Team, paces the P-Bruins with 17 goals. Captain Jeremy Reich leads all active players with 16 goals. Between the pipes, Rask is 20-15-0 with three shutouts and a 2.44 goals-against-average. The goalie's 20 wins are second-best in the league. On the other side, Worcester's Ryan Vesce is riding a 15-game AHL point-streak (8g, 16a) and he leads the Sharks with 52 points, tied for fourth in the AHL. Vesce's 36 assists rank tied for third in the league. Cory Larose is first on the squad with 17 goals. In net, Thomas Greiss is 17-13-2 with a 2.67 GAA while seeing the bulk of the playing time.
Head-to-head this season, Matt Lashoff, who played in his 200th professional game on Friday, leads all scorers in the series with nine points (2g, 7a) against the Sharks. Mikko Lehtonen is first with five goals. Rask has won four of five decisions with a 2.33 GAA and a .937 save percentage. Worcester is led by Steven Zalewski's five points (2g, 3a). Greiss is 1-3-1 in his five outings.
On special teams, Providence continues to rank in the top 10 on both the power play (6th, 19.0%) and the penalty kill (8th, 84.2%). Worcester, however, sits in the lower-third of the league in both categories at 24th (14.9%) with the man-advantage and 20th (81.6%) when short-handed.
Today is Amica Lip Balm Night as Providence Bruins Promotional Nights continue. Providence returns to action on Friday for Matt Hunwick Bobblehead Night as the P-Bruins host the San Antonio Rampage at 7:05 p.m. Providence then faces off with the Portland Pirates on Valentine's Day, Saturday at 7 p.m. The P-Bruins wrap up the three-game weekend on Sunday, welcoming Manitoba back into The Dunk at 4:05 p.m. The game features a special Kid's Hat Night giveaway.
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.
On behalf of the Good Neighbor Energy Fund, the Providence Bruins would like to thank all you fans for your help in providing energy assistance to thousands of families this winter. Thank you and "Warm Thy Neighbor."