P-BRUINS AIM FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT HOME WIN
Providence Hosts Streaking Worcester to Continue Four-Game Week
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (11-7-1-0, 23 PTS, 2nd Atlantic) host the Worcester Sharks (10-8-0-0, 20 PTS, 4th Atlantic) this evening at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for their fourth of 10 match-ups during the 2008-09 season. The P-Bruins lead the set 2-1-0-0 through the first three games.
Providence is in the midst of a busy stretch, featuring seven games in 10 days. The P-Bruins are 3-2-0-0 over that span thus far and tonight face the Sharks for the first time in two weeks, a dominating 8-3 home win on November 14. Providence defenseman Matt Lashoff led all scorers with four points (g, 3a) in that game, earning a call-up to the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League five days later. Lashoff, however, was a healthy scratch for three games in Boston and was yesterday returned to Providence, where he has 13 points (3g, 10a) in 15 AHL games this season.
Worcester is in many ways a different club since that last meeting in Rhode Island. The Sharks have since reeled off five straight wins to climb in the Atlantic Division standings and they also feature two different goaltenders from the pair that allowed eight goals on 30 shots two Fridays ago. Gerald Coleman and Kyle Jones, a combined 1-3-0 in six man-games for Worcester, have been replaced by backstops Thomas Greiss and Talyor Dakers. Greiss is 5-5-0 with a 3.00 goals-against-average for the Sharks this season while Dakers has won all four starts he has made and posts a 2.25 GAA. Worcester's offense has also shined of late as Riley Armstrong shows four goals in his last three games and points in six straight (5g, 2a) overall. Meanwhile, rookie Steven Zalewski sports a three-game scoring run (2g, 3a) of his own.
The story of the game, though, just may be the return of NHL veteran Claude Lemieux. Lemieux, should he be added to Worcester's roster prior to the game, is eligible to play in his first North American game since playing for the Dallas Stars during the 2002-03 season. A 43-year-old veteran of 1,197 NHL games and a four-time Stanley Cup winner, Lemieux began his comeback to hockey earlier this season by playing in a pair of games for the China Sharks in the Asian League. He has been away from the game as a player for nearly five years and last skated in the AHL in 1985-86 for the Sherbrooke Canadiens.
Providence's offense continues to be led by blueliner Johnny Boychuk's 21 points, which is tied for first among AHL defensemen. Second-year Bruin Vladimir Sobotka ranks first on the club with eight goals. In net, Tuukka Rask leads the P-Bruins with six wins in 11 games while fellow net-minder Kevin Regan has not lost in five appearances at home this season. For Worcester, Warwick native Tom Cavanaugh leads eight double-digit scorers with 15 points. Cory Larose is tied with Riley Armstrong for first in goals on the team with nine while Ryan Vesce leads in assists with 12.
On special teams, the P-Bruins rank sixth in the AHL on the power play, converting 19.8% of the time. The Sharks are 15th with a 16.8% success rate. Providence has excelled at killing penalties, sitting third in the AHL on the penalty kill at 88.6% while Worcester is in 19th place at 82.2%.
Providence Bruins Promotional Nights, sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts and your New England Dodge Dealers, continue tonight Kids Hat Night. Providence will face-off with the Springfield Falcons in Massachusetts Saturday night at 7 p.m. before closing the weekend with the Hartford Wolf Pack in Rhode Island Sunday at 4:05 p.m. Sunday's contest is a Family Game where fans can purchase one ticket, one hot dog and one soda for one low price.
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.