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AHL Morning Skate: May 21

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the Calder Cup Playoffs
in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

   
Game 1 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live

The third round of the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs kicks off tonight with Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between Manchester and Hartford at the Verizon Wireless Arena… Both teams enter the series rested: the Monarchs are back in action after an eight-day layoff following their five-game victory over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while the Wolf Pack have been off since eliminating Hershey in Game 6 on Friday… Manchester is making its third appearance in the conference finals (2007, 2010), while Hartford is making its fourth (1998, 2000, 2004)… The teams have met in the playoffs twice before, with the Wolf Pack winning a best-of-five series in 2002 and a best-of-seven in 2006, going the distance in both series… The Monarchs’ top line of Jordan Weal (10-5-15), Michael Mersch (6-7-13) and Brian O’Neill (6-5-11) has scored 22 of the team’s 35 goals this postseason… David Van der Gulik (2-4-6) had a point in each of Manchester’s five second-round games vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Jean-Francois Berube (7-3, 2.33, .898) has faced a league-low 24.5 shots on goal per game in the playoffs… Chris Bourque (4-10-14) had 1-7-8 over the Wolf Pack’s last three games vs. Hershey, all Hartford wins… Bourque now ranks fifth all-time in assists (67) and tied for seventh in points (92) in Calder Cup Playoff history… Joey Crabb (4-3-7) was scoreless in five first-round games against Providence but had points in all six contests against Hershey… Marek Hrivik (3-5-8) scored his first three goals of the postseason in the series-clinching Game 6… Yann Danis (7-4, 1.97, .931) has the highest postseason save percentage of any goalie remaining in the conference finals… The Monarchs have won 11 in a row (5-0 in the playoffs) on home ice, and 32 of their last 37… The Wolf Pack are 3-2 on the road this postseason… Manchester’s power play, first in the league in the regular season, is just 6-for-39 (15.4 percent) in 10 playoff games… Hartford has scored three shorthanded goals in its last four games after scoring six in its first 83 this season… Manchester was 3-0-0-1 vs. Hartford in the regular season.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
1-Manchester Monarchs vs. 3-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Thu., May 21 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 23 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 26 – Manchester at Hartford, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 27 – Manchester at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 30 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 31 – Manchester at Hartford, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., June 2 – Hartford at Manchester, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Last Night’s Recaps/Highlights
Markstrom, Comets win Game 7 duel
Shutting the Door
Last night, Utica’s Jacob Markstrom became the 11th goaltender in AHL history to post a shutout in a Game 7, and joined Johnny Bower as the only ones to do so in a 1-0 victory:

2015 – Jacob Markstrom (Utica vs. Oklahoma City, 1-0)
2013 – Brad Thiessen (W-B/Scranton at Providence, 5-0)
2010 – David Shantz (Abbotsford at Rochester, 2-0)
2009 – Michal Neuvirth (Hershey vs. W-B/Scranton, 3-0)
2008 – Scott Munroe (Philadelphia vs. Albany, 2-0)
2003 – Johan Holmqvist (Houston at Hamilton, 3-0)
2002 – Rick DiPietro (Bridgeport vs. Hamilton, 3-0)
1997 – Steve Passmore (Hamilton at St. John’s, 3-0)
1996 – Ron Tugnutt (Portland at Saint John, 5-0)
1953 – Johnny Bower (Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh, 1-0 OT)
1947 – Gord Henry (Hershey vs. Pittsburgh, 5-0)

West Finals Set
The Western Conference Finals get underway Sunday night with the Utica Comets hosting the Grand Rapids Griffins in Game 1.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
1-Utica Comets vs. 2-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Sun., May 24 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
Game 2 – Mon., May 25 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
Game 3 – Thu., May 28 – Utica at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 29 – Utica at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 31 – Utica at Grand Rapids, 5:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 2 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 3 – Grand Rapids at Utica, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Working Overtime
There have been 14 overtime games played in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs so far… Home teams are 7-7:

May 14 – Grand Rapids 2, ROCKFORD 1 (Tyler Bertuzzi, 0:13)
May 13 – Hartford 5, HERSHEY 4 (Chris Mueller, 11:39)
May 8 – UTICA 2, Oklahoma City 1 (Alexandre Grenier, 3:32)
May 7 – Oklahoma City 2, UTICA 1 (Curtis Hamilton, 60:16)
May 6 – MANCHESTER 4, W-B/Scranton 3 (Zach O’Brien, 44:13)
May 6 – Hartford 2, HERSHEY 1 (Chris Bourque, 16:47)
May 1 – Chicago 4, UTICA 3 (Joel Edmundson, 2:19)
*May 1 – HARTFORD 3, Providence 2 (Tommy Hughes, 4:35)
*Apr. 29 – ROCKFORD 3, Texas 2 (Stephen Johns, 0:23)
*Apr. 29 – Oklahoma City 2, SAN ANTONIO 1 (Jujhar Khaira, 5:01)
Apr. 29 – UTICA 2, Chicago 1 (Darren Archibald, 10:58)
Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 2, Hartford 1 (Seth Griffith, 42:00)
Apr. 25 – OKLAHOMA CITY 4, San Antonio 3 (Connor Jones, 4:01)
Apr. 22 – Utica 3, CHICAGO 2 (Bobby Sanguinetti, 23:10)
  *series clincher

Alumni Watch
Nikita Kucherov, who had 13-11-24 in 17 games with Syracuse last season, scored 3:33 into overtime as Tampa Bay defeated the N.Y. Rangers, 6-5, in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Final last night… Ondrej Palat, the AHL’s leading scorer during the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs, scored twice for the Lightning, and fellow 2012 Calder Cup champions Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn also scored… Jesper Fast, who recorded nine points in 11 AHL games with Hartford earlier this season, scored twice for the Rangers.
AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2015 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.