It doesn't really matter that tonight's opponent is in last place in the East Division and has the worst road record in the AHL.
All that matters to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins when they take on the Norfolk Admirals tonight is playing their game the right way.
And if that happens, the Penguins hope to get a much-needed win and put more distance between themselves and last place Norfolk.
Before the game, the records and stats don't come into effect, said head coach John Hynes. What comes into effect is who plays better for 60 minutes. It doesn't really matter what is going on with each team going into the game. It's really about your performance.
The Penguins enter tonight's home contest losers of two-in-a-row to Hershey and with only one win in their last nine games. With first place Syracuse coming to town on Monday, a win against Norfolk would provide a welcome momentum boost.
But despite Norfolk's poor record, the Penguins know a win isn't automatic.
We can't afford to overlook anyone in this league, especially with the lapse we've been in lately, said winger Bobby Farnham. But we've done a lot of good things and everyone will be ready to play. Norfolk's going to be in for quite a game.
One reason why the Admirals can't be taken lightly is, despite scoring only 73 goals on the season, they do have firepower in forwards Peter Holland (11-16-27) and Kyle Palmieri, who had seven goals in five games against the Penguins last season.
We know we have a real good team coming in here that's gone through a lot of ups and downs, but is dangerous, Hynes said.
The Penguins have posted a 5-11 record against East Division opponents this season but, despite nearing the halfway point, have yet to face the Admirals.
Considering their last six games have all come against either Binghamton, Hershey or Syracuse, perhaps a new face is what the Penguins need to turn things around.
It's a little odd to see a division opponent for the first time this late, but it's probably welcoming for both teams, Hynes said.
But we need to make sure we learned some lessons and regroup after our last two games. We're not thinking about the future, our record or the standings, just Norfolk.
- Hynes said injured winger and leading scorer Beau Bennett is probable to return either tonight or Monday. The Penguins are 1-3 since Bennett has been out of the lineup.