The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are wasting no time preparing for tonight's game in Binghamton against the Senators.
Head coach John Hynes moved up Thursday's practice time to 8:15 a.m., and the team held a brisk hour-and-a-half session to start the day.
We wanted to switch the routine a little bit, Hynes said. An early practice extends the recovery time and gives us a little more time to relax the rest of today and come back ready for tomorrow.
That extra recovery time could be critical for the Penguins, who begin a three games-in-three days stretch tonight in Binghamton. They follow it up with a home matchup against Worcester and a Sunday trip to Connecticut to face the Whale.
It will be a busy weekend, but one with plenty of opportunity to turn around a recent losing skid that saw the Penguins drop 10 of their last 11 games.
Against Binghamton this season the Penguins are 1-3. The last loss was a disappointing 4-3 defeat that saw the Penguins blow a three-goal lead in the third period.
Still, despite the poor record against the Senators the Penguins haven't been outplayed. Two of the losses have come by a single goal and the other by two. The Penguins have only allowed nine Binghamton goals over the four games, and goaltender Jeff Zatkoff has an impressive 1.97 goals against average and a .929 save percentage against the Senators despite a 1-2 record.
When you look at the games we've played against them they've all been really competitive, Zatkoff said. Obviously our record isn't where we want it to be, but we see ourselves at the same level as them.
A persistent problem of late for the Penguins has been a lack of goal production. The Penguins have scored four goals in the last four games and have been shut out once in that span. Their 79 goals are tied with Norfolk for the fewest in the division and the power play is connecting at just 14.9 percent on the season.
But January is a new month, Zatkoff said, and the Penguins aren't thinking about the problems during the last year.
We have to find a way to win. It's been long enough now, he said. December is over with and this is a new month. We have to get two points and turn things around now.