P-BRUINS AIM TO PUSH WIN STREAK TO FIVE
Providence and Albany Match-Up for Second and Final Time of the Year
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (38-24-2-4, 82 PTS, T-1st Atlantic) host the Albany River Rats (29-31-3-3, 64 PTS, 6th East) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in the teams' second and final regular season meeting in 2008-09. The P-Bruins captured the only other match-up 4-3 in overtime on November 8, 2008 at the Times Union Center. Vladmir Sobotka scored the winner in that contest for Providence while Kevin Regan earned the win in net.
Providence enters tonight's game having won its last four games overall as well as four straight on home-ice. The P-Bruins boast the best win total in the Atlantic with 23 while Albany has struggled on the road to the tune of a 12-19-0-2 record. During Providence's win streak, the club has out-scored its opponents at a 14-7 clip. Goalie Tuukka Rask has claimed victory in all four games, raising his sophomore record to 29-19-2 in 50 games. His 29 wins place him second in the league.
Albany has lost three straight games to all but fall out of postseason contention, getting out-scored 16-7 along the way. The squad currently sits 18 points behind the Binghamton Senators for fourth in the East, as well as nine points back of the Philadelphia Phantoms for fifth. The Rats have had to deal with a flurry of roster moves, 17 in all, since a devastating early-morning bus crash on February 19 following a 3-2 road shootout loss to the Lowell Devils. The accident has forced four players out of the lineup for the remainder of the season and Albany has since compiled a 5-6-0-0 record.
Providence has had a busy week of its own on the transaction wire, releasing defenseman Bryan Miller from his Professional Tryout Agreement, recalling center Levi Nelson and goalie Kevin Nastiuk from the ECHL and adding defenseman Victor Bartley on an Amateur Tryout Agreement. Nelson and Nastiuk were both away from Providence for roughly one month, excelling at the lower level. Nelson registered two goals and an assist in eight games for the Reading Royals while Nastiuk won five of six decisions, including a shutout, for the Alaska Aces. Bartley, meanwhile, prepares for his first pro experience after parts of six seasons in the Western Hockey League for the Regina Pats and Kamloops Blazers. The undrafted rookie totaled 46 points (15g, 31a) in 72 games for Regina as the club's captain this season.
The P-Bruins are led this year by All-Star Martin St. Pierre's 58 points, including a team-high 44 assists. Rookie Mikko Lehtonen paces the squad in goals with 25. All-Star defenseman Johnny Boychuk (17g, 38a) and first-year forward Brad Marchand (16g, 36a) are also members of the 50-point club. Albany's Jakub Petruzalek has 49 points, leading the Rats with 32 assists. Jerome Samson, with goals in four straight games, and Pat Dwyer each have 20 goals. Albany goals-leader Michael Ryan, with 25 to his credit, is currently in the National Hockey League with the parent Carolina Hurricanes. In net, Justin Peters has a 15-24-4 record in 45 games while Daniel Manzato shows a 14-9-0 mark in 27 outings.
On special teams, Providence sits tied for 14th in the league on the power play at 17.0% and 19th on the penalty kill at 81.9%. On the other side, Albany is 23rd in the AHL with the man-advantage at 15.2% and eighth when short-handed at 84.5%.
Tonight features a St. Patrick's T-Shirt giveaway as Providence Bruins Promotional Nights continue. The T-shirts are free to the first 2,000 fans in attendance, courtesy of Griggs & Browne, Supercuts, Washington Trust and ABC 6. The P-Bruins take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Connecticut on Saturday at 7 p.m. before returning home on Sunday to host the Hartford Wolf Pack for a Family Game at 4:05 p.m. Fans can purchase one ticket, hot dog and soda for one low price.
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 www.providencebruins.com. Tickets may be purchased in person by visiting the Dunkin' Donuts Center Box Office or all TicketMaster outlets.