P-BRUINS FACE MUST-WIN CHALLENGE WITH SHARKS
Providence has 13 Games Left, Sitting Nine Points Out of a Playoff Spot
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (30-32-3-2, 65 PTS, 5th Atlantic) host the Worcester Sharks (31-24-4-8, 74 PTS, T-3rd Atlantic) tonight at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the ninth of 12 meetings in 2010-11 between the Route 146 rivals. On the year, the P-Bruins are 2-4-1-1 versus the Sharks and 1-2-0-1 against them in Rhode Island.
Providence dropped the season series-finale against Bridgeport on Sunday, losing 5-1 at home. Jordan Smotherman had the lone goal for the P-Bruins as the Sound Tigers scored five unanswered goals to close the game, including three on the power play. The defeat was Providence's second in a row, following four straight wins.
The Sharks have won three of their last four contests, including a home-and-home sweep of Connecticut last weekend. If the season ended today, though, Worcester would just miss the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Whale currently hold the tie-breaker over the Sharks, and the Binghamton Senators -fifth place in the East Division with 75 points - would cross over into the Atlantic for the postseason.
Providence, meanwhile, has 13 games remaining in the regular season, including nine against Worcester, Connecticut, Binghamton and Springfield, all teams the P-Bruins are competing with for two available spots. The P-Bruins trail a spot by nine points entering the weekend.
The P-Bruins have two new additions to the line-up and one departure from the team entering play tonight. Defenseman Maury Edwards was released from his Amateur Tryout Agreement as he left to join Lake Erie. Blue-liner Kevan Miller and center Kyle MacKinnon, a former Providence College Friar, each signed on.
Jamie Arniel's 41 points are a P-Bruins team-high, while Max Sauve is first on the team with 19 lamp-lighters. Zach Hamill leads the P-Bruins in helpers with 30. Sharks right winger Jonathan Cheechoo leads his team with 47 points, 18 goals and 29 assists.
Providence goalie Anton Khudobin is 23-13-1 with a 2.54 GAA and .911 save percentage on the 2010-11 season, with six games under his belt in Providence. Michael Hutchinson is 10-9-1 with one shutout, a 3.25 GAA and a .900 save percentage. Worcester goalie Alex Stalock leads the club in every category, but is out for the rest of the season due to an injury. Among active Sharks goaltenders, Carter Hutton has a team-best 7-3-2 record, 2.90 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
Sharks forward Benn Ferriero leads all skaters in the season series with three goals and six points. Arniel is tied with Smotherman and ex-Bruin Jeff Penner for the most goals against the Sharks with two, and he also has the most assists (3) and points (5). For Worcester, Dan DaSilva, Sean Sullivan and Justin Braun have a team-leading four assists against Providence this season.
Hutchinson is the only active P-Bruins goalie with experience against the Sharks this season. He is 0-2-1 versus Worcester with a 3.29 GAA and .907 save percentage. Hutton has a 2-0-0 mark against Providence, featuring a 0.50 GAA and .983 save percentage.
On special teams, the P-Bruins rank 29th (13%) in the league on the power play and 28th (78%) when short-handed. The Sharks are 18th (17.4%) on the man advantage and 24th (79.8%) on the penalty kill.
The P-Bruins travel to Hartford on Saturday for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Whale. They will be back at home at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday to host Portland on St. Patty's Poster Night with posters free to the first 1,000 fans. 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 providencebruins.com.
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