Game 1 – Sat., June 4 – Laval at Springfield, 7:35
Game 2 – Sun., June 5 – Laval at Springfield, 5:05
Game 3 – Wed., June 8 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., June 10 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 11 – Springfield at Laval, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 13 – Laval at Springfield, 7:05
*Game 7 – Wed., June 15 – Laval at Springfield, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern
Game 1 – Fri., June 3 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Mon., June 6 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 8 – Chicago at Stockton, 9:30
Game 4 – Fri., June 10 – Chicago at Stockton, 10:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 11 – Chicago at Stockton, 9:00
*Game 6 – Tue., June 14 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 15 – Stockton at Chicago, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern
“We know we have a special group,” Laval Rocket defenseman Louis Belpedio told reporters yesterday.
The Rocket also have a tired group.
Rest is one of the most valuable tools needed for a long run in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and the Rocket earned a rare four-day break by eliminating the Rochester Americans with a three-game sweep in the North Division Finals last week, a series that ended with a triple-overtime win last Wednesday followed by a bus ride back to Laval.
After playing three games in four nights to complete the Rochester series, the Rocket will have had 10 days between games by the time they meet the Springfield Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals this Saturday at MassMutual Center.
This rest was needed. But break time was over yesterday as the Rocket returned to the Place Bell ice with an intense practice.
“It was an intense practice,” Belpedio said. “It was nice to have a few days off. A lot of guys get bumps and bruises throughout playoffs, and you get some time to rest and relax and reset a little bit. [It] was a good skate and just gives us the week to get ready for Springfield.”
In the Thunderbirds, who have not lost a game yet this postseason, the Rocket will face an opponent which is more than capable of playing a tough, abrasive game. Springfield defensemen average 6-foot-2 and 206 pounds and can all make for long nights for Laval’s speedy, mobile forwards, especially if the series goes long.
Belpedio believes that Laval can match that grit, however.
“Honestly, I think they’re kind of similar to us and can play both sides of the game,” Belpedio said. “You can be fast and skilled or you can play hard and gritty... I think that’s what makes playoff teams successful. It’s being able to balance that out, and for us ultimately we just want to play our game, not worry about what they’re doing, try to make them make adjustments, and just focus on us and go from there.
“I’m expecting it to be tight. Especially at this point in the playoffs, any team you play is going to be good, and you’ve just got to bring your ‘A’ game every night.”
American Hockey League teams always look for different edges, and that includes travel.
Already on the road and with their bags packed, the Stockton Heat are staying on the road this week after sweeping the Colorado Eagles in the Pacific Division Finals on Sunday night.
Rather than returning home only for a day or two, the Heat instead spent yesterday relaxing in Colorado. Today they will fly to Chicago, where they will be able to settle in early to prepare for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Friday night at Allstate Arena.
In Stanley Cup Playoff action last night, Chris Kreider scored twice, Mika Zibanejad recorded three assists and Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves as the New York Rangers defeated Carolina, 6-2 in Game 7 of their second-round series... Andrew Copp added a goal and an assist for the Rangers, and Filip Chytil and Ryan Strome also scored... New York advances to play Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference Final beginning Wednesday.
Watch the Calder Cup Playoffs on AHLTV
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2022 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 $29.99 for the entire postseason, or just $8.99 for a day pass. Visit AHLTV.com for details.