AHL Morning Skate: 5.17.19

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s AHL Morning Skate.

Playoff Brackets | Today’s Scoreboard | League Stats | Series Infographics

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Game 1 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV

The Eastern Conference Finals open tonight as the AHL’s regular-season champions from Charlotte take on the defending Calder Cup champs from Toronto… The Checkers have followed their 51-win, 110-point regular season with a 7-1 record to start the playoffs, including a second-round sweep of Hershey…  The Marlies are still unbeaten after sweeping both Rochester and Cleveland, becoming the 15th team in AHL history to begin a postseason with at least seven straight wins… Toronto is making its fifth trip to the conference finals in the last eight seasons (and sixth in 12 years)… Charlotte has reached the conference finals for the first time since 2011, its inaugural season in the AHL… Checkers forward Andrew Poturalski (5-8-13) is tied for the AHL’s postseason scoring lead, with three fewer games played than Bakersfield’s Brad Malone (5-8-13)… Rookie forward Morgan Geekie (5-6-11) has points in all eight of Charlotte’s playoff games to date… Aleksi Saarela (6-4-10) scored six goals in four games during the division finals against Hershey; the Bears as a team scored seven… Poturalski (+12), Geekie (+11) and Saarela (+10) are also 1-2-3 in the league in plus/minus… Alex Nedeljkovic (6-1, 2.00, .916) has won his last five starts for the Checkers… After finishing second in the AHL with 79 points during the regular season, Jeremy Bracco (2-9-11) leads the Marlies in playoff scoring… Chris Mueller (5-4-9) has reached the AHL’s conference final round for the fourth time in his last six seasons (Toronto 2018, Hartford 2015, Texas 2014)… Kasimir Kaskisuo (7-0, 1.56, .949) has recorded 204 saves on 215 shots faced this postseason… Toronto is 9-for-23 on the power play (39.1 percent) during the playoffs, including a 7-for-15 clip in the second round vs. Cleveland… Charlotte is 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) with the man advantage… The Checkers have won 16 of their last 18 home games; the Marlies have won 13 of 15 on the road… Toronto is 10-0 over the last two postseasons in games when the series is tied.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
A1-Charlotte Checkers vs. N3-Toronto Marlies
Game 1 – Fri., May 17 – Toronto at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 18 – Toronto at Charlotte, 6:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 21 – Charlotte at Toronto, 7:00
Game 4 – Thu., May 23 – Charlotte at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 24 – Charlotte at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 26 – Toronto at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 28 – Toronto at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHLTV

Chicago and San Diego open the Western Conference Finals at Allstate Arena tonight… The Wolves are in the conference finals for the first time since 2008, and the fifth time overall since joining the AHL in 2001-02… The Gulls are making the first conference finals appearance by Anaheim’s top affiliate since the Portland Pirates reached the final four in 2008… Regular-season AHL MVP Daniel Carr (2-5-7) returned from an eight-week absence due to injury and led Chicago with seven points in six games during the Central Division Finals vs. Iowa… Curtis McKenzie (5-3-8), who led the league with 11 goals during the 2018 postseason, registered five goals in the last three games in net for the Wolves… Oscar Dansk (6-3, 2.28, .912) has started eight straight games for the Wolves… After finishing second in the league in offense during the regular season (3.51 goals per game), San Diego is averaging 4.20 goals per game this postseason… Adam Cracknell (6-6-12) and Sam Carrick (5-7-12) are pacing the Gulls in playoff scoring, and are both one point off the AHL scoring lead… Cracknell recorded 19-19-38 in 50 games with the Wolves over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons… Max Comtois (3-3-6) rejoined San Diego on Apr. 29 after his junior season ended in Drummondville (QMJHL) and produced six points in the second round vs. Bakersfield, including two game-winning goals… Jeff Glass (6-3, 2.25, .920) has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his 10 playoff appearances for the Gulls… Chicago has won five straight at home… San Diego is 4-1 on the road this postseason… Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins spent 260 games with the Wolves during his playing career, winning championships in 2000 (Turner Cup) and 2002 (Calder Cup)… This is the first meeting of the season between these teams.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
C1-Chicago Wolves vs. P3-San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Fri., May 17 – San Diego at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 18 – San Diego at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 22 – Chicago at San Diego, 10:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 24 – Chicago at San Diego, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 25 – Chicago at San Diego, 10:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 27 – San Diego at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 29 – San Diego at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Alumni Watch
In the Stanley Cup Playoffs last night, Providence Bruins alumni Patrice Bergeron (2g, 1a), David Pastrnak (1g, 2a), Brad Marchand (1g, 1a), David Krejci (1a) and Torey Krug (1a) accounted for all of the offense and 2008 AHL All-Star Tuukka Rask made 24 saves as Boston captured the Prince of Wales Trophy with a 4-0 win over Carolina.

In the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia yesterday, Anthony Mantha scored twice and Carter Hart made 21 saves in Canada’s 5-2 win over France… Dominik Simon tallied a goal and two assists as the Czech Republic defeated Latvia, 6-3… Elias Lindholm recorded a goal and two assists and 2015 Calder Cup champion Adrian Kempe scored a goal in Sweden’s 9-1 win over Austria… Harri Pesonen scored and Kevin Lankinen stopped 25 shots as Finland beat Denmark, 3-1.

Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2019 Calder Cup championship. AHLTV features live streaming of every AHL game in high definition on desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices, as well as OTT platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. A subscription is just $24.99 for the entire postseason, or just $7.99 for a day pass. Visit theahl.com/AHLTV for details.