P-BRUINS HOST LIGHT TWO-GAME WEEKEND
Providence Welcomes in Lowell for Season's First Meeting Tonight
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (2-2-0-0, 4 PTS, T-4th Atlantic) host the Lowell Devils (1-1-1-0, 3 PTS, 6th Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in the teams' first of 10 regular season meetings in 2009-10. The P-Bruins were 5-5-0-0 against the Devils a year ago and hold an all-time 17-12-1-0 record against them.
Providence has dropped its last two games by a combined 7-4 margin after winning its first two games of the season behind an 11-5 output. A consistent bright spot for the P-Bruins has been their power play, converting in all four games this year and on eight of their last 19 chances for an impressive 42.1% efficiency. On the top line, Brad Marchand has scored five goals to lead his team, including at least one goal in every game this season. His linemate Vladimir Sobotka has steadily given the team a point-per-game with one goal and three assists. On the defensive end, some changes are expected tonight with Drew Fata suspended for the next four games, which will keep him out until October 30. News came down from the league of the veteran's suspension during the week after reviewing tape of an incident between he and Portland Pirates captain Brad Larsen late in last Saturday's game. Fata's absence could mean the return of either Jeff Penner or Rob Kwiet, both of whom have missed time this season.
Lowell last played last Sunday, a 4-0 shutout of the Pirates in Mike McKenna's Devils debut. The team had previously allowed nine goals in the first two games of the year. The Devils endured significant roster turnover from 2008-09, losing Jon DiSalvatore (Houston - AHL), Nicklas Bergfors (New Jersey - NHL), Rod Pelley (New Jersey), Pascal Rheaume, Matt Halischuk (New Jersey) and Barry Tallackson (Peoria - AHL). Back, however, are Russian standouts Vladimir Zharkov and Alexander Vasyunov, as well as goalie Jeff Frazee, who went 28-22-6 with a 2.62 goals-against-average in 58 games. New to the fold are former Providence College Friars star Matt Taormina, who leads Lowell with five points (2g, 3a), and former P-Bruins center Ben Walter, a three-time 20-goal scorer in the AHL. McKenna, meanwhile, was a 24-game winner for Portland in 2007-08.
On special teams, the P-Bruins are tied for third in the league at 30.8% on the power play and rank 19th at 77.3% on the penalty kill. The Devils have struggled with the man-advantage at 11.1%, tied for 21st in the AHL, and sit 18th when short-handed at 77.8%.
Providence plays only once more this weekend, hosting Brad Marchand Poster Night on Sunday against Portland at 4:05 p.m. To purchase 2009-10 season tickets, Flex Tix or individual game tickets, please call the P-Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com.