HISTORIC MATCH-UP TONIGHT AT THE DUNK
Providence Hosts Abbostford in First-Ever Meeting Between Teams
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (27-25-3-0, 57 PTS, 6th Atlantic) host the Abbotsford Heat (26-23-4-4, 60 PTS, 4th North) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' first-ever match-up and first of four regular season meetings in 2009-10. The clubs will square off again this weekend on Sunday before battling twice in British Columbia in early-March.
The P-Bruins enter tonight's contest having won four of their last five games and seven of 10 overall to climb to in the Atlantic standings, where they sit just two points out of a potential playoff spot with still 25 games remaining in the regular season. Providence saw its four-game winning streak come to an end last Sunday, falling 7-4 to the Syracuse Crunch. Prior, the P-Bruins had out-scored their opponents by a 21-7 margin over the four victories.
The Heat are a first-year AHL franchise and the top affiliate of the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames. Abbotsford's recent hot streak, a 5-0-0-1 stretch dating back to February 5, has raised the club to playoff contention, where it currently occupies the last postseason slot in the North. The Heat are in the midst of a season-long nine-game East Coast road trip, which has started at 3-0-0-0. Abbotsford is in the Atlantic for the rest of the swing, including two meetings with each Providence, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Worcester Sharks. Abbotsford last played on Monday, a 5-1 over the Toronto Marlies. The Heat have out-scored their opponents 19-12 over their six-game unbeaten-in-regulation streak.
Providence is led offensively by PlanetUSA All-Star Mikko Lehtonen's 20 goals and 45 points, while both he and fellow PlanetUSA All-Star Andy Wozniewski share the team-lead at 25 assists apiece. Brad Marchand paces the squard with a plus-17 rating in only 27 games. Trent Whitfield leads several streaking P-Bruins with points in five straight games (2g, 6a). In net, Dany Sabourin is 21-18-0 with three shutouts, a 2.48 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage. On the other side, Abbotsford Canadian All-Star Jason Jaffray shows 18 goals, 23 assists, 41 points and a plus-16 rating to lead the Heat across the board. Teammates Cam Cunning (4g, a) and Staffan Kronwall (5a) have both been on fire with points in four consecutive contests. Between the pipes, Matt Keetley (9-7-1, 2.69 GAA, .909 SV%) and David Shantz (6-5-1, 3.01 GAA, .890 SV%) have virtually split time, though Shantz has been in net for seven of Abbotsford's last eight games.
On special teams, Providence ranks 17th (17.5%) in the AHL on the power play and 21st (80.7%) on the penalty kill. Abbotsford, meanwhile, is 24th (14.5%) on the man-advantage and 28th (79.1%) when short-handed.
Providence is at the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday for a 7 p.m. start. The P-Bruins return to The Dunk to take on the Heat at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday for Andrew Bodnarchuk Poster Night. Posters are free to the first 1,000 fans. 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.