P-BRUINS BACK HOME AFTER 6-GAME TRIP
Providence Hosts Chicago Tonight in Final Regular Season Meeting
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (6-2-1-0, 13 PTS, 2nd Atlantic) play host to the Chicago Wolves (7-2-1-1, 16 PTS, 1st West) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for their final regular season meeting in 2008-09 and also a rematch of the top regular season clubs of 2007-08. The Wolves took the clubs' only other match-up this year on October 29, a 6-0 Chicago victory at the Allstate Arena.
Providence is back at The Dunk tonight following a six-game road trip, during which time the P-Bruins went 3-2-1-0 after concluding the swing with a 5-1 win over the San Antonio Rampage last Saturday night. In the win, Providence captain Jeremy Reich netted his first career hat trick in nine seasons as a pro while rookie Brad Marchand added a goal and two assists for his first professional multiple-point outing. Meanwhile, Tuukka Rask (5-2-0, 2.32 GAA, .923 save percentage) earned the win in net with 30 saves. Prior to going on the road, the P-Bruins began the season with three home games, all wins.
Chicago comes into Rhode Island beginning a six-game road trip of its own, five of the contests against teams outside of the West Division. The Wolves, winners of two in a row, have enjoyed a stifling defense this year, allowing a league-low 1.55 goals per game and just four goals over their last four contests. Two instrumental parts of the Chicago defense have changed since the Wolves and P-Bruins last battled in Illinois with goalie Ondrej Pavelec and blueliner Boris Valabik now in the National Hockey League with the Atlanta Thrashers. In Chicago's win over Providence, the 21-year-old Pavelec produced a 35-save shutout and Valabik registered a goal and two assists. Wolves goalies Robert Gherson (1-0-0, 1.00 GAA) and Dan Turple (1-0-0, 1.00 GAA) have each seen one game between the pipes since Pavelec's recall. Pavelec, 2-0-0 for Atlanta and the reigning Reebok X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month (5-3-1, 1.54 GAA, .947 save percentage, two shutouts in October), had started the season's opening nine games.
The P-Bruins are led offensively by defenseman Johnny Boychuk's 13 points (2g, 11a). The first-year Bruin has a point in all but one game this season. Providence forwards Martins Karsums, Wacey Rabbit, Reich and Martin St. Pierre each pace the club with three goals. The Wolves are led by Joe Motzko's nine points, including two goals, two of which came against Providence. Matt Anderson is second with seven points, helped by five assists.
Special teams will prove to be a point of interest in tonight's game as both clubs have been experiencing a power outage on the power play. Providence, first in the AHL on the man-advantage at 23.5%, has failed to score in its last 14 extra-man opportunities while Chicago is scoreless in its last 17 power play chances. The Wolves have had trouble in that area all year, ranking last in the 29-team circuit at 5.1%. On the penalty kill, the P-Bruins are fifth in the AHL at 90.4% after fending off the last 16 penalties they have been assessed. The Wolves rank eighth on the PK at 87.9%.
The first 2,000 fans in attendance tonight will receive free Rhode Island Reds hats, courtesy of Amica Insurance and East Providence Fuel Oil.
Providence continues its weekend on the road Saturday evening at the Times Union Center against the Albany River Rats at 7:00 p.m. before returning home Sunday afternoon to host the Philadelphia Phantoms at 4:05 p.m. Sunday is Kids T-Shirt Day and the first 1,000 kids age 12 and under will receive a free P-Bruins shirt, courtesy of Shaw's and Wendy's. Providence Bruins Promotional Nights are presented by Dunkin' Donuts and your New England Dodge Dealers.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins 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.