“All 7 and we’ll watch [Pens] fall
They stand in the way of [Phantoms]
And we will smoke them all”
This is a big one. Tonight’s game has the potential to set the tone for the season series with the Penguins, who are the best team in the division thus far. Here’s what you need to know to get ready for tonight’s game:
The Phantoms had three games last weekend–starting Friday night in Utica against a struggling Comets team where they took care of business. Saturday at PPL Center they schooled a very powerful Toronto team 7-2. Sunday afternoon they shuffled down to Hershey to take care of business there as well, by a 3-1 tally. The three wins in three days extended the Phantoms win streak to 6–all coming in regulation time. The Friday and Sunday wins were both with Alex Lyon in goal.
If the Marlies were the best team in the AHL when they came in here last weekend (they had just beaten the Pens 3-0 in Wilkes Barre) then the Penguins are right now. We’ll see this team plenty more times this season, but tonight’s battle may just set the tone for all those games, depending on what happens. This should be a good one–a chance to reach seven straight wins by stepping over the Pens on our climb to the top.
Phantoms have the advantage in Power Play rank tonight: 5 to 17
Penguins have the advantage in Penalty Kill rank: 1 to 14
- F Scott Laughton has been officially loaned to the Phantoms, and should continue to center the top line for now.
- F Andy Miele, the former top-line center, missed practice yesterday; I don’t expect him to play tonight.
- D Robert Hagg didn’t practice yesterday either, and I likewise don’t expect him tonight. If you recall, he got a puck up under the mask and needed stitches; he continues to suffer headaches I’ve heard.
- G Anthonly Stolarz should be in Philadelphia for the next 4 to 6 weeks due to the injury to G Michal Neuvirth. He’ll likely get a start or two this time. G Martin Ouellette has been called up from Reading to back up Alex Lyon.
The Royals are 6-6-0-1 and in the middle of the pack in the ECHL standings having lost four in a row. It’s a particularly difficult schedule, which has them in Manchester tonight. They’ve acquired a new goalie, via trade, which will confirm what we know from above: Marty Ouellette is a Phantom for the foreseeable future.
The Penguins are built on defense. And, surprise, they have quality goaltending too! With the top PK in the league, they’ll arrive in downtown Allentown for a match-up with the Phantoms and their powerful power play. That, and if the Phantoms can get an early lead, may decide this game.
Puck Drop: 7:05PM
Tickets: Seats remain for this game, but are limited; purchase before heading downtown. There are also good seats–glass and club–available on the secondary market for this mid-week tilt.
Parking: A couple updates: There still may be limits on credit card usage at some of the facilities. Pre-purchase parking online or bring $6 cash. The Government Deck at 4th/Hamilton is now standard ticket/pay on exit during events, and shuttles may or may not be running. The “State Lot” or what I call the Symphony Hall lot, at 6th and Linden is now closed for a construction project. For parking in that area use the Transportation Center with entry on Sixth Street northbound one way, left lane. The sixth street entrance to the Community Deck just South of Hamilton has reopened–you can enter there now, as well as the Walnut Street entrance.
Media Kit: penguins-111616
Promotions: “Pink in the Rink” for breast cancer awareness. The ice will not be colored pink. There’s a T-Shirt, but I’m not sure it’s for everybody–perhaps certain ticket sales promotion.
Broadcast Information: Service Electric TV-2 for video; 1470-AM radio; 89.9-FM in arena; IHeartRadio or Phantoms365 on mobile; Phantomshockey.com online.
PreGame/PostGame/Downtown: Radio pre-game goes live at 6:20PM for your drive downtown. TV pre-game goes Live at 6:30PM from the sound stage at Chickie’s and Pete’s.
I didn’t make it downtown for the Saturday game, so that’s one missed game for me this season. Tonight I’m planning on Hook, but details aren’t firm at press time.
What To Watch
- I suppose Lyon saw the writing on the wall Sunday in Hershey, knowing the starting job would be his whilst Stolie will be in Philly, but here he comes home knowing it’s up to him. How will he respond?
- Can Laughton continue his points pace on that top line?
- Can the Phantoms Power Play master the very difficult Penguins Penalty Kill?
- Can the Phantoms score first? They are 5-0 when leading after the first period and 7-0 when leading after the second. Plus, this isn’t the type of team you want to try to come from behind on, given their defense and goaltending.
- Both Wilkes Barre goalies are good again, so no breaks with either Tristan Jarry (6-2, 1.76, .935) or Casey DeSmith (4-0, 1.00, .963) and Pens netminders have traditionally played exceedingly well at the PPL Center.
- Watch for the crowd to get into it tonight, regardless of size. I’ve been very impressed with the vocal-ness this season, even when it wan’t terribly crowded. This is another reason to try to get an early goal: Keep the crowd in it.
- Watch the Pens’ Jean-Sebastian Dea. The dude is a fourth line talent, but plays the Phantoms like he’s Mario Lemieux. Might be good to put a body on him early.
Get your chores done around the house this weekend, in preparation for Thanksgiving (already?!?) because the Phantoms will be on the road for Providence and Bridgeport, Friday and Saturday respectively. I’m temped to visit Binghamton on the eve of Thanksgiving because that’s close to the old homestead. But, probably not.
The Phantoms return home to the PPL Center on “Black Friday” for a rematch with “Bimmington” and the next night for Hartford.
See you at the arena,