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Assists vs. Bridgeport lifted Minard out of slump notebook

Pens winger was scratched from a game a week earlier after weak three-game string.

Minard

WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Right wing Jonathan Filewich wasn’t the only member of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to snap out of a slump in last Saturday’s 6-1 rout of Bridgeport.

Penguins winger Chris Minard, who’d been scratched from the lineup a week earlier after going scoreless with a minus-1 rating in three games, picked up a pair of assists.

Minard, 25, set up Jeff Taffe’s second and third goals of the game.

“The coach was obviously sending a message,” said Minard, who sat out the Penguins’ Oct. 14 game at Philadelphia. “I wasn’t playing great. I just try to keep my head up and work hard and hopefully things will start going my way again.”

Not that Minard expects every night to be like opening night, when he registered a hat trick in his Penguins’ debut.

“Hat tricks don’t come too often,” he said. “Sometimes you have those games where everything you shoot goes in. I hope people don’t expect that to happen every night because it’s not going to happen every night. You just want to play a complete game and pitch in now and then.”

For Minard, now and then has been more often than not.

Last season, while playing for the Lowell Devils, Minard scored 32 goals in just 65 games.

Indeed, only once in the five years since he turned pro has Minard scored fewer than 25 goals in a season. That was his rookie year, when he scored 15. Since then it’s been 39, 49, 26 and 32.

“I like to shoot,” Minard said. “Everybody knows I like to shoot. I also like to go to the net and get rebounds. That’s where goal-scorers get their goals.”

Curry earns ECHL honors

John Curry, the free agent goalie the Penguins signed last summer and then shipped to the ECHL, was named that league’s Goalie of the Week on Tuesday.

Curry, a Hobey Baker finalist a year ago with Boston University, had a 0.97 GAA and a .966 save percentage after winning his first two pro starts with the Las Vegas Wranglers late last week.

After a 3-2 win over Stockton on Tuesday, Curry was 3-0 with a 1.31 GAA and a .953 save percentage.

Wheeling’s David Brown, who many expected to start for the AHL Pens this season, was also nominated for the award.

Brown stopped 43 of 45 shots in a 4-2 win over Johnstown to pick up his first pro victory.

Friday night at ‘The Office’

Brian Baumgartner and Angela Kinsey, part of the cast of NBC’s “The Office,” will be at tonight’s game with Albany.

Baumgartner, who plays Kevin Malone, and Kinsey, who plays Angela Martin, are in the area for this weekend’s “Office Convention.”

Up next On the web

Albany (3-2-0-1) at

Penguins (3-3-0-0)

When: 7:05 p.m., today

Where: Wachovia Arena, Wilkes-Barre Twp.

On the air: Radio – WQFM 92.1 and 100.5 (pregame starts at 6:40 p.m.)

On the Web: www.b2now.com

Last meeting: Penguins 4, Albany 3 (March 18, 2007)

Penguins vs. Albany (last season): Penguins won season series 5-1

Scouting the River Rats: The River Rats lost their two top players on recall to Carolina earlier this week. Neither C Keith Aucoin (72 assists and 99 points last season) nor LW Ryan Bayda (29 goals) will be in the lineup when the Rats face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. LW Trevor Gillies, serving a six-game suspension from the end of last season, will be eligible to play tonight.

Keep an eye on: For the Penguins – LW Ryan Stone returns to the lineup after being scratched from last week’s game at Bridgeport for an off-ice incident. F or the River Rats – C Jamie Johnson nearly had a hat trick in Albany’s 3-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday.

For more coverage of the Penguins, read Kelly Tomlinson’s blog at www.timesleader.com

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