2008-09 RECORD: 14-9-0-1, 29 points, (8-1-0-0 home, 6-8-0-1 road), fourth place, North Division
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
Friday, December 12 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (13-10-1-1, 28 points), fourth place, East Division
Saturday, December 13 vs. Toronto (11-10-0-2, 24 points), fifth place, North Division
LAST WEEK'S RESULT
Thursday, December 4 - SAN ANTONIO 3, Crunch 0
Saturday, December 6 - HOUSTON 4, Crunch 3
HOME TEAM IN CAPS
FILATOV FINDING SCORING TOUCH AGAIN: It has been an up and down season thus far for 18-year old rookie Nikita Filatov.
His professional career got off to a hot start when he scored two goals in his first two games on October 10 and 11 vs. Rochester. His excellent play was noticed by Columbus and they recalled him on October 15 when an injury occurred. Filatov went on to score his first NHL goal in his first NHL game on October 17 vs. Nashville.
Even after being returned to Syracuse on October 28, Filatov continued his fine play, notching nine points (3g, 6a), in his next seven games.
Unfortunately, Filatov's play slowed down considerably after that and he was held without a point in six straight games from November 14 – 22, registering a minus-3 plus-minus rating in the process.
Over his last five games, Filatov has started contributing again offensively with five points (2g, 3a). He scored his first goal in 10 games on November 29 @ Albany.
A native of Moscow, Russia, Filatov was drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round, sixth overall, in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
CLICK HERE TO VIEW NIKITA FILATOV'S PRE-GAME ROUTINE
CRUNCH HOPPING ON THE C-BUS: There have been many players over the years that have played for the Crunch and gone on to contribute in Columbus, but this year might be the most significant in terms of contributions from Syracuse graduates that the Blue Jackets have ever seen.
So far this season, former Crunch center Derick Brassard has exceeded expectations and is currently tied for the NHL lead in rookie scoring with 22 points (9g, 13a) through 26 games. For his outstanding play, Brassard was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for October, an honor which he won twice at the AHL level with Syracuse in the months of October and April last season.
Last year, Brassard appeared in 42 games with the Crunch, tallying 15 goals, 36 assists and 51 penalty minutes. He also skated in all 13 playoff games with Syracuse, notching 13 points (4g, 9a).
After skating in 195 games for the Crunch over the past three seasons, defenseman Marc Methot has proven himself to be a valuable asset on the blueline for the Jackets this season.
Methot has provided a stabilizing defensive force on the backend and has also been surprisingly offensive, contributing eight points (3g, 5a), with a plus-8 rating in 21 games. During his time in Syracuse, Methot racked up nine goals, 33 assists and 253 penalty minutes.
When healthy, right wing Derek Dorsett has been a feisty sparkplug that was leading the NHL in penalty minutes before he was sent down to Syracuse on November 18.
Before breaking his finger in a fight with Phoenix's Daniel Carcillo on November 26 after being recalled, Dorsett had recorded two points (1g, 1a) in 12 games with the Jackets and was gaining more ice time with every contest.
THIS WEEK'S OPPONENTS:
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON PENGUINS (PITTSBURGH PENGUINS): The Crunch welcome the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to the War Memorial at Oncenter Friday for their first visit of the season and third of eight overall meetings between the two clubs. The Crunch took the first game on November 16, 4-3, thanks to a late third period goal from Derek MacKenzie. The Penguins defeated the Crunch three days later, 3-0, again at Wachovia Arena. Mike York leads all players with three points (0g, 3a) in the season series, while four players on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (Connor James, Chris Minard, Janne Pesonen and Ryan Stone), have tallied 2 points (1g, 1a), each.
TORONTO MARLIES (TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS): The Toronto Marlies make their second visit in as many weeks to the War Memorial at Oncenter for the second of eight overall meetings between these two clubs. Syracuse took a 5-1 decision back on November 28 on the strength of three points (2g, 1a), from Craig MacDonald. Dan LaCosta stopped 43 of 44 shots in the victory and Staffan Kronwall had the only goal for the Marlies.
ROCHESTER AMERICANS (FLORIDA PANTHERS): The Crunch make their second visit of the season to Rochester on Sunday for the fourth of 12 overall games between these two teams. The Crunch are 3-0-0-0 against the Amerks this year and have won 13 straight decisions against their I-90 rivals dating back to last season. Six players (Maksim Mayorov, Adam Pineault, Andrey Plekhanov, Tom Sestito, Clay Wilson and Mike York), have notched four points each against Rochester this season, while Dan LaCosta has gone 3-0-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. With 13 consecutive wins against the Amerks, the Crunch are now 66-70-15 against Rochester all-time.
Crunch captain Dan Smith played in his 100th game as a member of the Crunch on Saturday night @ Houston… The Crunch broke an 88 minute, 29 second scoring drought with Kevin Harvey's marker at 17:28 of the first period Saturday @ Houston… The Crunch has now lost three games in a row overall and four straight on the road, both season-highs… Syracuse has now played 15 of its first 24 games on the road… The Crunch's power play is just three for its last 51 (5.88%)… Nikita Filatov, Craig MacDonald and Alexandre Picard all saw their respective three-game point-scoring streaks come to an end with Thursday's shut out loss to San Antonio… Filatov has five points (2g, 3a), over his last five games.