P-BRUINS AIM TO EXTEND WIN STREAK TO FIVE
Providence Hosts San Antonio to Conclude Regular Season Series
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (29-19-2-1, 61 PTS, 1st Atlantic) host the San Antonio Rampage (22-30-2-2, 48 PTS, 7th West) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in the teams' last of two regular season meetings in 2008-09. The P-Bruins lead the season-series after defeating the Rampage 5-1 on November 1, 2008 at the AT&T Center. Providence captain Jeremy Reich recorded his first professional hat trick in the win for his first three goals of a now career-high 15 on the year. Rookie Brad Marchand added a personal-best three points with a goal and two assists, along with a plus-four rating. Tuukka Rask, meanwhile, earned the victory with 30 saves in net.
Rask and the P-Bruins have won four straight games, including their last three at home as Providence ranks tied for first in the AHL with 19 wins on home-ice. Mikko Lehtonen is a big part of the success with points in all four games, recently scoring two third-period goals in a 3-2 triumph over the Worcester Sharks last Sunday. Lehtonen now has seven of his 16 goals against the Sharks. On the other side, the Rampage are in the midst of a 26-day, 13-game road trip. Thus far, San Antonio is 1-2-2-1 through six contests, last falling 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday versus the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Rampage led the game 3-1 in the third frame before allowing three unanswered goals. San Antonio is only seven points out of a playoff spot in the West Division, remarkable after beginning the season 2-20-0-1. Since, the club is 20-10-2-1.
Providence's roster is down to 21 men after the Boston Bruins called up forwards Martins Karsums and Vladimir Sobotka during the week. Karsums has missed the P-Bruins' last five games, helping his native Latvian National Team qualify for the 2010 Olympics. In the tournament, Karsums registered four goals and three assists in Latvia's three wins.
On the year, All-Star Martin St. Pierre leads Providence with 43 points. Karsums, a fellow All-Star, is first with 17 goals, though Lehtonen's 16 scores paces all active players. St. Pierre and All-Star Johnny Boychuk are tied for the team-high with 31 assists. In the crease, Rask is 21-15-0 with three shutouts and a 2.43 goals-against-average.
Rookie Chad Kolarik paces San Antonio with 37 points. Former P-Bruin Jeff Hoggan, currently with the Phoenix Coyotes, leads the Rampage with 18 goals, two ahead of All-Star rookie Brett MacLean. Kolarik and David Spina each possess 23 assists. Between the pipes, Josh Tordjman is 19-19-2 with four blankings and a 2.54 GAA.
On special teams, Providence sits fifth in the AHL on the power play, converting 19.4% of the time. San Antonio has the league's 13th-best power play at 17.8% but they have the top-ranked road man-advantage at 22.9%. The P-Bruins have dipped to 12th on the penalty kill, succeeding 83.6% of the time, while the Rampage are fifth, killing penalties at an 85.5% clip.
Tonight is Matt Hunwick Bobblehead Night as Providence Bruins Promotional Nights continue. Tomorrow, the P-Bruins face-off with the Portland Pirates on Valentine's Day at 7 p.m. Providence then wraps up the three-game weekend on Sunday, welcoming the Manitoba Moose 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.