As the Marlies continue their tour of the Eastern Conference, their next stop is the home of the Penguins.
Now, before everyone gets tongue-tied, I’ll help you out with the town name. The Penguins reside almost right in between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; spelled Wilkes-Barre you’ll want to pronounce it WILLKS-BAR. The Scranton on the end honours the town 30 minutes away (made popular over recent times by The Office).
Now enough with the geography lesson, let’s switch to math.
Having lost their past two on the road, the Marlies visit Wilkes-Barre for the first time since 2010 for a Saturday night matchup at Mohegan Sun Arena. As of present the two teams are in similar situations; both boast strong home records, the Penguins having won the past three on familiar ice; Toronto’s fifth place conference ranking is near matched by Wilkes-Barre’s sixth spot. Even when it comes to penalty minutes the Marlies 343 puts them in 10th while the Penguins are in 11th with 333.
Want to know more? Here are my notes ahead of the game:
- Mike Kostka and Jake Gardiner – ranked the league’s third and seventh top point producing defenders – place higher than any other pair from any one team
- Kostka has eight points in the past five road games
- Matt Frattin leads the AHL with 4 goals in 3 games and his 40% shooting percentage is by far the league’s best
- Marlies will square off against former teammate Phil Dupuis for the first time, also keep an eye out for Simon Despres who won the Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs
- Goal scoring will be at a premium as the Penguins have allowed an average of only 2.19 goals per game, third best in the AHL
In a change to the team’s original broadcast schedule, Saturday’s game will not be on TSN 1050. Rather catch Jon Abbott’s voice on AHL Live starting at 7:00pm as he brings you all the action. If you’re a fan of the blue and white living in the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton area, tune into the game on MyNetwork TV.
As a side note, it was recently released that the Marlies December 1st & 8th home games will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet.
Find me on twitter (@chansler) as I’ll post lineup news and notes as it becomes available…. and remember, ‘WILLKS-BAR.’
Ben Scrivens is to get the nod in goal marking the netminder’s fifth straight start. Other lineup changes could see Korbinian Holzer and Greg McKegg draw out of the lineup as Simon Gysbers and Kenny Ryan are rotated in.
EXPECTED MARLIES LINEUP
IN GOAL: #30 Ben Scrivens
Kadri – Aucoin – Ashton
Deschamps – Colborne – Frattin
Hamilton – Zigomanis – Ryan
D’Amigo – Acton – Scott
Gardiner – Kostka
Fraser – Blacker
Ranger – Gysbers