With 21 regular season games remaining, the Phantoms are nine points away from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Lehigh Valley has the chance to knock that number down to seven as it takes on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers tonight in Allentown.
The Sound Tigers (21-29-5-1) are coming off a rough 7-0 loss to Wilkes-Barre last week at home. The former Northeast Division leaders started their season 10-3-1, but have dropped to the very bottom of the Eastern Conference, winning just 12 of their last 42 (!) contests, including their current nine-game losing streak, where they have been outscored 41-15.
While the Phantoms (25-23-6-1) have struggled at home in 2015, their last home contest against Binghamton last week broke their seven-game losing streak in Allentown thanks to an OT goal from Phantoms all-star Brandon Manning.
- Lehigh Valley is 1-0-1 against Bridgeport this season with a shootout loss in Allentown on Dec. 6 followed by a 5-3 victory in Connecticut the next day.
- The Phantoms are nine points behind eighth-place Providence with two games in-hand over the Bruins. Providence takes on first-place Hershey tonight in Rhode Island. With the Bears far from reach of the 12th ranked Phantoms, fans can root for a Hershey win over Providence, and a Lehigh Valley win over Bridgeport to put the Phantoms within seven points of that coveted eighth place playoff spot.
- The Phantoms have decided six of their last nine contests in (ugh) overtime, and 18 total this season-- the second most in the AHL. The Phantoms are 6-6 in games decided in OT, and 5-1 in shootouts this season. Their only shootout loss coming from Bridgeport.
- Shayne Gostisbehere's status this season is still up in the air with an apparent miscommunication between Gostisbehere, HC Terry Murray and Ron Hextall. Murray and Gostisbehere confirmed yesterday that the d-man would be shut down for the rest of the season to give time for proper rehabilitation. Hextall, however, said Ghost has a doctors appointment in two weeks which will decide his chance of playing again this season.