AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.
ATLANTIC DIVISION 1. Providence and Manchester will meet in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday 2. Hartford and Portland will meet in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday
EAST DIVISION 1. W-B/Scranton and Hershey will meet in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday
2. Philadelphia and Albany will meet in the first round of the playoffs, beginning Wednesday
NORTH DIVISION 1. Toronto has clinched first place, and clinches the regular-season conference title with
(a) a win vs. Manitoba and a Chicago loss (regulation/OT/SO) vs. Peoria, or
(b) an OT/SO loss vs. Manitoba and a Chicago regulation loss vs. Peoria
2. Syracuse clinches second place with
(a) a win vs. Hamilton, or (b) a Manitoba regulation loss, or (c) an OT/SO loss vs. Hamilton and a Manitoba OT/SO loss at Toronto, or (d) a regulation loss by two goals or fewer vs. Hamilton and a Manitoba OT/SO loss at Toronto
3. Manitoba clinches second place with
(a) a win at Toronto and a Syracuse loss (regulation/OT/SO) vs. Hamilton, or
(b) an OT/SO loss at Toronto and a Syracuse regulation loss by three goals or more vs. Hamilton
WEST DIVISION 1. Chicago has clinched first place, and clinches the regular-season conference title with
(a) a win vs. Iowa, or
(b) a Toronto regulation loss vs. Manitoba, or
(c) an OT/SO loss vs. Iowa and a Toronto OT/SO loss vs. Manitoba
2. Rockford clinches second place with:
(a) a point vs. Iowa
3. Sunday’s HOU-MIL winner clinches second place with:
(a) a Rockford regulation loss vs. Iowa
4. San Antonio clinches fourth place with:
(a) a win vs. QuadCity, or
(b) an OT/SO loss vs. QuadCity and a HOU or MIL regulation win
GAME NOTES (all times ET): Hartford at Bridgeport, Hartford visits intra-state rival Bridgeport this afternoon in the back end of a home-and-home… The Wolf Pack are tuning up for their 11th playoff appearance in as many seasons, while the Sound Tigers were eliminated from postseason contention with last night’s 5-2 loss to the Wolf Pack… Bridgeport has taken 11 points in the season series thus far to Hartford’s 10… The Pack enter at 10-1-0-2 in their last 13 contests, and a victory would give them their second 50-win season in team history and first since 2004-05… Rookie Artem Anisimov had a goal and two helpers in Hartford’s win last night, while Tim Jackman had both goals for the Sound Tigers… Bridgeport winger Jeff Tambellini is in a four-way tie for the league’s goal-scoring lead with 37.
Peoria at Chicago, In-state foes Peoria and Chicago wrap up their regular season this afternoon at the Allstate Arena… The Wolves are 6-3-0-0 against the Rivermen and can clinch home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs with a victory… Chicago teammates Jason Krog (37-73-110) and Brett Sterling (37-32-69) are tied with two other players for the league’s goal-scoring title… Krog, who has 31 points (12-19-31) in 16 career games vs. Peoria, is looking to become just the third player in AHL history to lead the league in goals, assists and points in the same season… Chicago has signed 2007 first-round draft pick Angelo Esposito to an amateur tryout… Jean-Guy Trudel has a point in five of his last six contests (2-7-9) for Peoria.
Manitoba at Toronto, Manitoba visits Toronto this afternoon in the finale of a three-game road swing to close the regular season… The Moose, who enter one point back of Syracuse for second place in the North Division, outscored Toronto 8-1 in taking a pair of victories at the MTS Centre last weekend… Second-year pro Jannik Hansen has five goals and 10 points against Manitoba this season, both team highs… The Marlies are 27-8-1-3 this year at Ricoh Coliseum… Rookie Jiri Tlusty has scored a goal and posted multiple points in all three games (4-5-9) since returning to the Marlies from the parent Maple Leafs… John Mitchell shows seven points (1-6-7) in his last three outings for Toronto.
Lowell at Providence, The AHL’s top overall team has its last tune-up for the playoffs on Sunday as Providence hosts Lowell in the finale of their 10-game season series… The Bruins have won eight of the first nine meetings (8-1-0-0) and are a perfect 4-0-0-0 against the Devils at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center… Rookie goaltender Kevin Regan, a University of New Hampshire product, turned in a 23-save shutout at Manchester in his professional debut on Saturday… The P-Bruins average 3.53 goals per game, second-most in the AHL… 2008 AHL All-Star Petr Vrana has played all 79 games for the Devils this year and shows a team-high 40 assists and 60 points.
Springfield at Worcester, Springfield and Worcester wrap up their seasons this afternoon at the DCUCenter… The Falcons (35-34-5-5, 80 points) will miss the playoffs but are assured of their highest point total since also posting 80 in the 1998-99 campaign… Rookie Liam Reddox and 2008 AHL All-Star Rob Schremp each has 10 points (3-7-10) in the season series against the Sharks, and Schremp has a goal in three of his last four outings overall (3-3-6)… The Sharks, also out of playoff contention, are looking for their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 15-18… Rookie Derek Joslin (0-4-4) and 2008 AHL All-Star Mike Iggulden (3-1-4) both have four-game scoring streaks.
Binghamton at Hershey, Binghamton visits the GiantCenter to take on Hershey in the teams’ eighth and final meeting of the season… The Bears are 5-1-0-1 against the Senators this season, but three of the victories have required either overtime or the shootout… Hershey clinched the East Division’s fourth and final playoff spot with a 5-2 win over Philadelphia last night, while Binghamton will miss the playoffs for the third straight year… The Bears’ Chris Bourque sports a seven-game scoring streak (8-7-15), and Kyle Wilson has a point in three straight games (2-2-4)… Captain Denis Hamel has a team-high 31 goals and 54 points for the B-Sens, who are 1-5-0-1 in their last seven contests.
Hamilton at Syracuse, Syracuse can clinch second place in the North Division with a win over Hamilton as the teams wrap up their season series… The Crunch have won 14 straight games, have a point in 22 straight (19-0-0-3), and are 23-1-0-5 in their last 29 contests… Syracuse is coming off consecutive shutouts, a 21-save effort by Karl Goehring in a 4-0 win at Rochester on Friday, and a 31-save performance by Adam Munro in a 1-0 squeaker over Binghamton last night… Joakim Lindstrom, who scored the game’s only goal on Saturday, has a team-high 11 points (3-8-11) in just five games against Hamilton… The Bulldogs will miss the playoffs a year after winning the Calder Cup… 2008 AHL All-Star Corey Locke sports 14 points (7-7-14) over his last six outings.
Albany at Philadelphia, It’s a first-round playoff preview at the Wachovia Spectrum this afternoon as Albany visits Philadelphia… The River Rats will finish third in the East Division and square off with the second-place Phantoms beginning Wednesday… Philadelphia has taken four of the teams’ first seven regular-season meetings this year (4-3-0-0), including all three tilts in the City of Brotherly Love… Rookie Kyle Greentree paces the Phantoms with 24 goals, while Jared Ross shows a team-high 62 points… 2007-08 AHL outstanding goaltender Michael Leighton ranks first in the league in save percentage (.931) and shutouts (7) for Albany, and he’s second in goals-against average (2.10).
Milwaukee at Houston, The logjam in the race for West Division playoff positioning will sort itself out a bit after Milwaukee and Houston tangle for the third time this weekend and eighth time on the season… The teams have split a pair of contests over the last two days and are currently part of a three-way tie with San Antonio for third place in the division, two points back of Rockford… Joel Ward (20-20-40) and Ryan Hamilton (20-19-39) are tied for the Aeros team lead in goals, and goaltender Nolan Schaefer‘s 2.07 GAA is tops in the league… Milwaukee’s Matt Ellison brings a four-game scoring streak (1-3-4) into today’s action.
Iowa at Rockford, 5:05 Rockford can clinch second place in the West Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a point in its meeting with Iowa today… The IceHogs are 5-2-0-0 against the Stars on the season… Rockford’s Petri Kontiola has four goals and 12 points in the first seven tilts of the season series, while rookie Jack Skille shows 10 points (5-5-10) in five games against Iowa