P-BRUINS TAKE AIM AT THREE GAME WIN STREAK
The Providence Bruins (25-24-3-0, 53 PTS, 7th Atlantic) host the Hartford Wolf Pack (25-20-3-4, 57 PTS, 5th Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' eighth of 10 regular season meetings in 2009-10. On the year, the P-Bruins are 2-3-2-0 against the Sharks, including 1-2-1-0 in Rhode Island.
Providence enters one of its biggest games of the season to date riding a two-game winning streak following last weekend's offensive surge against the Worcester Sharks. In a home-and-home series, the P-Bruins out-scored the Sharks 11-5, receiving significant individual contributions from Mikko Lehtonen (3g, 2a) and Trent Whitfield (2g, a). Goalies Dany Sabourin and Kevin Regan each earned a victory and neither has allowed more than three goals in a game since January 24. Hartford, meanwhile, is 2-0-1 over its last three games, all on the road, following a five-game losing skid. Tonight's game could have substantial playoff implications despite each team showing 28 games remaining in the regular season. If the season ended today, the Wolf Pack would qualify for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic, using it to cross-over to the East Division. Providence is four points back of Hartford in the standings and can pull to within two points with a regulation win.
The P-Bruins continue to be led offensively by Lehtonen's 42 points, including team-highs of 17 goals and 25 assists. The PlanetUSA All-Star has nine points (5g, 4a) over his last five games. In net, Sabourin is 20-17-0 with three shutouts, a 2.42 goals-against-average and a .919 save percentage. On the other side, the Wolf Pack are paced by Canadian All-Star Corey Locke's 59 points, including 20 goals and 39 helpers. His points total is good for third in the AHL. Between the pipes, rookie Chad Johnson, recently back from the New York Rangers, is 14-8-2 with three blankings, a 2.03 GAA and .930 save percentage for Hartford.
In the season-series, Hartford's Dale Weise leads all scorers with nine points, while Lehtonen bests Providence with seven, including six goals. In the crease, Sabourin is 1-2-0 with a 3.28 GAA versus the Wolf Pack. Johnson is 4-2-0 with a 2.26 GAA against the P-Bruins.
On special teams, Providence is 18th (17.1%) in the league on the power play and 17th (81.7%) on the penalty kill, while Hartford is 15th (17.7%) with the man-advantage and 21st (81.0%) when short-handed.
On Saturday, the P-Bruins travel to face the Springfield Falcons at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Valentine's Day, Providence hosts the Syracuse Crunch for Kids Hat Night at 4:05 p.m. Hats are free to the first 1,000 kids age 12 and under. To purchase 2009-10 season tickets, Flex Tix or individual game tickets, please call the Providence Bruins ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at www.providencebruins.com.