WEEKEND PREVIEW – CHECKERS vs. PENGUINS

February 29, 2024 Nick Hart
BY CONOR DOHERTY

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Charlotte Checkers have traveled up north to visit Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza for back-to-back games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. So far, the teams have met each other six times this season, but not since the calendar flipped to 2024. Now, as the calendar reads March and the weather warming up, it’s time for the Penguins and Checkers to wrap up the season series with the two final game in Northeast Pennsylvania.

With the Checkers only four points behind the Penguins in the Atlantic Division, both teams will be eyeing important wins over one another in the weekend series.

Preview of the Playoffs to Come for the Penguins

In what could be a playoff preview, these two teams have played each other about as even as possible. The Checkers have scored two more goals in the six games than the Penguins (30-28) and had more power play success, but the Penguins have controlled five-on-five play, scoring 26 of their 28 goals at even strength.

The season series has been highly competitive, split three games apiece. In all six matchups, the magic number has been the fourth goal. In all six games, the team that has scored at least four goals is 6-0-0-0. Home ice hasn’t given either club the edge, either. The Penguins and Checkers split decisions evenly at Bojangles Coliseum, 2-2-0-0. In NEPA, the teams enter the weekend 1-1-0-0 against one another.

Rasmus Asplund leads the Checkers with seven points (1G-6A) in the series. When playing against teams other than the Penguins, the Swedish forward has registered five goals and 17 assists, totaling 22 points. On the Penguins’ side, Jonathan Gruden’s four points (3G-1A) leads all skaters in points against the Checkers.

Don’t Miss the Next Game

Tonight’s game also features a rare matchup between two teams that are paced in points by defensemen. The Penguins’ Ty Smith has held the team’s lead in assists for months, and his 31 points are the most among active players on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton roster. Lucas Carlsson has fostered a reputation as one of the top offensive defensemen in the AHL with his performance over the past several seasons, and he is living up to that billing again this season. His 39 points not only leads all Checkers, but also ranks second among league blueliners. With 15 goals, he leads all defensemen outright.

We have more head-to-head stats breakdowns included below. All stats and rankings are as of Feb. 29…

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