Five points currently separate the sixth-place Manchester Monarchs from the 13th-place St. John's Ice Caps in the Eastern Conference standings of the American Hockey League.
This weekend the Monarchs look to elevate and distance themselves from the pack when they visit Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday and Hershey Saturday in a pair of 7:05 p.m. starts.
Manchester (21-19-2-2, 46 points) at the moment, is looking down at seventh-ranked Wilkes-Barre (21-18-2-1, 45 points) and ninth-ranked Hershey (20-19-2-2, 44 points). The Penguins have played two fewer games than Manchester and Hershey has played one fewer game than the Monarchs.
Wilkes-Barre handed Manchester a 3-0 setback at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Nov. 2. Hershey has not played Manchester and will make an appearance in the Queen City on March 23.
Linden Vey leads the Monarchs in overall team scoring with 11 goals and 26 assists while Tyler Toffoli leads the team with 20 goals and is second in scoring with 33 points.
In the American Hockey League All-Star game in Providence, R.I., Toffoli had a goal and one assist for the Eastern Conference team that lost to the Western Conference, 7-6.
Manchester's next home game is Saturday, Feb. 9 against Providence at 7 p.m.