After two HUGE wins last weekend the Bears are on the road for a 3 in 3 this weekend. Tonight they are in Lowell to play the Devils. And hopefully they can get excited about playing the 6th best team in the Atlantic division.
Lowell is having some offensive troubles lately. First of all they are basically 3-7 in their last 10 home games (that includes 3 SO losses). So they aren't playing well at home. And honestly they aren't playing well at all in their last 10 either home or away. They are 2-8 in their last 10 overall and have scored more than 2 goals only twice....and they won both games. In the 10 games they have scored a whopping 14 goals and have allowed 32. You won't win too many with that kind of discrepancy.
During this poor stretch the Devils have scored 1 goal or less in 7 of 10 including 5 games in a row with only 1 goal. They are falling fast in the standings and are 6 points out of the playoffs right now.
Hershey on the other hand is where they have been all season....in first place. They fell out of first for a weekend but played some of their best hockey of 2009 and won 2 games to get back into first.
Now the question is can they play their best hockey against teams that aren't chasing them in the standings. After tonight they play Portland and Manchester and they need to win all of them to guarantee a first place position after the weekend. They are ONLY 1 point ahead of both Bridgeport and Wilkes Barre. So which Bears team will show up? The one that beat Wilkes Barre and Bridgeport last weekend or the team that lost to last place Springfield.
I am telling you now....don't be surprised if they don't dominate tonight and come out flat. AND also don't worry if they do. Sure they should want to dominate but even I am not as excited about tonight's game so I am sure the players aren't either.
Some minor changes to the roster this week. Keith Aucoin was reassigned and will be ready to go tonight. Michal Neuvirth is (probably) the #1 goaltender right now and will start tonight. And Quintin Laing is healthy....but he is in Washington for now.
record ~ 42-18-1-6 91 points
standings ~ 1st in East Division
playoff positioning - 1 pt ahead of 1st
most recent game ~ 3-2 Win vs Bridgeport, 3/20
last 5 games ~ 3-1-0-1
road record ~ 18-9-1-3
goals for ~ 255
goals against ~205
power play ~ 18.8% (8th)
penalty kill ~ 79.2% (28th)
record ~ 29-30-2-6 66 points
standings ~ 6th in Atlantic Division
playoff positioning ~ 6 pts behind 4th
most recent game ~ 1-0 Loss @ Hartford, 3/18
last 5 games ~ 1-4-0-0
home record ~ 15-12-0-5
goals for ~ 184
goals against ~ 210
power play ~ 16.1% (19th)
penalty kill ~ 81.5% (21st)
last time teams met - Hershey won 4-2 in Hershey on December 20.
Players to watch:
G Michal Neuvirth (30)- He returns to the Hershey lineup after spending a few weeks backing up Jose Theodore in Washington. He will be the goalie Hershey leans on for the rest of the regular season (and maybe longer) so he needs to be sharp every game.
C Keith Aucoin (11) - Some players come back after a recall and don't play as effectively. Surely Woods will put him back on the top line so he has to be ready to play. Will Woods keep his lines changed or will the MAG line return?
LW Chris Bourque (17) - He is hitting his stride at the right time. He has points in 7 straight games and has 4 goals and 7 assists in those games. Can he continue to produce into the playoffs?
RW Nicklas Bergfors (18) - He leads the team with 18 goals on the year and is one of the few players that has done anything in March. He has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last 4 games.
RW Jon DiSalvatore (14) - Team leader in points with 46 but he has struggled of late. He has only 1 goal and no assists in his last 10 games.
RW Matt Halischuk (28) - The rookie had an incredible February with 5 goals and 10 assists but in March he has only managed 1 goal.
LET'S GO BEARS!!!