What you need to know before the Devils and Penguins take to the Boardwalk Hall ice:
-Season: This is the 7th of 8 meetings between the two teams, with Wilkes-Barre up 6-0 so far. Last meeting on January 28th in Albany the Penguins pulled out a 4-1 win in Albany. The Devils as a franchise (including time in Lowell) still have yet to record a win against the Pens. After tonight the teams face off one more time, on March 23rd in Wilkes-Barre.
-Standings: Wilkes-Barre begins the day holding down first place in the East Division, checking in with a record of 36-14-0-0 and 72 points. Despite a recent 3 game losing streak, they still hold the best record in the AHL and have a 6 point lead over Hershey. After a shut out loss to Manchester, Albany checks in with a 18-27-0-3 record and 39 points. They are just 2 points ahead of Adirondack for the basement of the division…and the league as a whole. The Devils are on a 4 game losing streak and have lost 7 of their last 10.
-Scoring: 3 of the top 6 Penguins scorers, including leading scorer Dustin Jeffrey (17 G, 28 A) are on recall to Pittsburgh. On the current roster, winger Nick Johnson leads the way with 37 points (19 G, 18 A), followed by Brett Sterling with 36 points (17 G, 19 A). The goaltending situation may be back to normal if Brad Thiessen returns from injury as expected. If not, John Curry and rookie Patrick Killeen make up the goalie tandem, Curry more than likely getting the start. On the home side…with a shut out last game no changes at the top. Matt Anderson still leads Devils skaters with 32 points (16 G, 16 A) followed by Michael Swift with 28 points (16 G, 12 A). As long as no callups to New Jersey are necessary after Martin Brodeur tweaked his knee in Montreal on Sunday, I would assume Mike McKenna gets the nod in goal.
-Miscellaneous: This is the Devils’ third appearance in Atlantic City, where they are 1-1. It is a make up game from December 12th, when bad ice conditions at Boardwalk Hall forced a postponement. The Devils play one more time in New Jersey, February 27th against Norfolk.
UPDATE: Patrick Killeen has been returned to Wheeling, meaning that Brad Thiessen should be returning to the lineup for the Penguins. Martin Brodeur is not expected to play tomorrow in New Jersey, but hopefully the parent club will hold off on recalling a goalie (looks like McKenna to me) till after the game.
Game time 7 PM. I will be tweeting and following the AHL Live feed from home.