The Binghamton Senators take on the Hershey Bears in Binghamton tonight. Here's what you need to know and what to watch for (reminder: links or discussions of illegal streams are not allowed on Silver Seven, and will be deleted):
The B-Sens currently sit atop the East Division of the Eastern Conference, tied with the Norfolk Admirals with 4 points. The Senators are 2-0-0, with wins over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins, 2-1, and my hometown Rochester Amerks, 3-1.
Robin Lehner (#40) - The story so far in Binghamton, Lehner has been rock solid in his two starts, going 2-0-0 with a ridiculous 1.00GAA and .971 save percentage. This comes after a somewhat shaky preseason where Lehner also went undefeated but let in some... questionable goals. Not so in the regular season. Bro... was ON. His intended partner, Nathan Lawson, was reassigned to the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL today, which should mean Ben Bishop has arrived in Bingo and is ready to play, but there's no way head coach can ride anyone but Lehner right now. Lehner needs to continue to play at a high level to hold Bishop off. It will be interesting to see how he performs with a different backup in place.
Mika Zibanejad (#93) Has been really outstanding and has all of zero points to show for it. The numbers do not reflect his play. You will know Zibanejad has made a decision when you see him hit the afterburners.
David Dziurzynski (#22) - Derek Grant (#21) - Mark Stone (#16) - This line has started both games so far. Dziurzynski is Binghamton's leading scorer with 2G, 1A through two games. I felt Stone was largely invisible in the first game, while our own Bobby Kelly was impressed with how he played against Rochester.
Jakob Silfverberg (#33) - Ooh Ah scored a very nice goal against the Penguins, but still can be found on the perimeter as he adjusts to the North American game.
Andre Benoit (#61) - Jared Cowen (#4) - The top pairing defensively in Binghamton, Benoit is the team captain, and you'll see much of the team's game flow through him. Interestingly, although Benoit is the puck-mover, it is Cowen who has scored all of the points between the two, with three assists while Benoit has no points. Cowen had been scrambley as he tried to do too much, but appears to be settling into his role nicely.
The Power Play - Has not been good, with one goal in 11 chances. That's going to have to change if Binghamton wants to keep winning.
I hate these guys. Yes, they're owned by the chocolate company. Did you know the Hershey Bears are the longest-operating team in the AHL? They've been around since 1938, but I still hate them. The Bears are the minor league affiliate of the Washington Captials, and are currently at the bottom of the East Division with a record of 0-1-0. That was a 4-3 loss to the Syracuse Crunch, who I also hate. Upstate New York is a bitter place, I guess.
Braden Holtby (#1, what a jerk) - Yes, that Braden Holtby. (YEAH! NICKELBACK!) The guy who everyone could not stop talking about in the playoffs last year. He's seen some quality competition in his short career, so there's nothing Binghamton can really throw at him that should faze him.
Ryan Potulny (#22) - An integral part of the B-Sens' Cup run in 2010-11, we know he can light it up. Binghamton's slower defensemen who haven't had an opportunity to see Potulny's skills up close could be caught off guard.
And that's all I know about Hershey.
Enjoy the game!