Wednesday, July 23, 2014





Penguins strive to be Sens-sational


February 19. 2013 10:45PM
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Last season, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won seven out of 10 contests against the Binghamton Senators.


Two of the wins were by shutout and the Penguins held Binghamton to three goals or less in eight of the 10 times they played last year.


Tonight, the Penguins will look to re-establish that track record when they face the Senators on the road at 7 p.m.


So far, in three contests against their East Division rival, the Penguins have had little success. Their only win came courtesy of a 1-0 shootout victory, and the Penguins have only mustered two goals in regulation against Binghamton goaltenders.


It's a far cry from last season, but with seven more matchups to go, the Penguins have plenty of time to turn things around, beginning tonight.


Aside from their head-to-head record against Binghamton and the crucial points that come with beating a division opponent, the Penguins will also try to snap a five-game winless streak – which matches the longest losing skid of head coach John Hynes' career with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.


During the losing skid the Penguins have been without several key players, including starting goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, defenseman Simon Despres.


While a paltry power play that's connected just twice in 27 chances (7.4 percent) over the last five games is partly to blame for the lack of success, along with an offense in general that's been outscored 22-to-11 in the same span, the Penguins may receive some help in their own net.


Zatkoff practiced Tuesday and Hynes indicated he's close to returning to the lineup.


Later in the afternoon Tuesday, Zatkoff's return seemed even more likely when the Penguins released goaltender Ryan Zapolski from his PTO. That leaves Zatkoff and Brad Thiessen as the only two netminders on the team.


If Zatkoff does get the start tonight, it will give the Penguins a huge boost against a Binghamton offense that may not be tops in the AHL but does have decent scoring depth.


In his two starts this season against the Senators, Zatkoff is 1-1 with a 0.97 goals against average and a .965 save percentage. He's allowed only two goals on 57 shots and has a shutout against Binghamton.


Notes

• While the Penguins power play has struggled lately, the penalty kill on the road has been exceptional. The Penguins penalty kill has allowed only five power play goals in 11 road games and leads the league at 91.5 percent.


• When winger Steve MacIntyre is in the lineup, the Penguins are 10-3-0-1.


• The Penguins trail the Senators by two points for second place in the East Division.




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