AHL Morning Skate: 5.4.18

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s AHL Morning Skate.

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

Game 1 – Friday, 7:05 ET, AHL Live

The top two offenses in the AHL this season open the Atlantic Division Finals tonight as Lehigh Valley hosts Charlotte… The Phantoms averaged 3.42 goals per game during the regular season, second only to the Checkers’ 3.45… Charlotte’s three-game sweep of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the opening round made it 10 consecutive victories for the Checkers since their last loss, a 4-3 overtime defeat at Rochester on Mar. 30… Included in that streak were a pair of wins over the Phantoms, 3-1 on Apr. 3 and 6-1 on Apr. 4… Lehigh Valley got past Providence in four games in the first round, the franchise’s first series victory since 2008… Chris Conner (2-3-5) and Danick Martel (2-3-5) are tied for the Phantoms’ postseason scoring lead… Oskar Lindblom recorded 2-1-3 in two games last round after rejoining Lehigh Valley from the Philadelphia Flyers… Alex Lyon (2-1, 2.76, .930) made 49 saves in the series-clinching Game 4 overtime win against Providence last Saturday… Greg McKegg (1-4-5) paced the offense in the Checkers’ first-round sweep, their first series win since 2011… Alex Nedeljkovic (3-0, 1.97, .929) allowed six goals on 84 shots in the series… The Checkers outscored the Penguins 10-1 in the third period and overtime of their three first-round games… Charlotte, ranked third in the AHL on the power play in the regular season (20.4 percent), was just 1-for-15 in the first round… The Phantoms are 19-1-1-1 in their last 22 games at PPL Center.

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Lehigh Valley Phantoms vs. A3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Fri., May 4 – Charlotte at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
Game 2 – Sat., May 5 – Charlotte at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
Game 3 – Tue., May 8 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 9 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 12 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 6:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 14 – Charlotte at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 15 – Charlotte at Lehigh Valley, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – Saturday, 4:00 ET, AHL Live
(TOR leads series, 1-0)

North Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Syracuse Crunch
Game 1 – Thu., May 3 – TORONTO 6, Syracuse 4 | Recap
Game 2 – Sat., May 5 – Syracuse at Toronto, 4:00
Game 3 – Sun., May 6 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 8 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 12 – Syracuse at Toronto, 4:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 14 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 16 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

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Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHL Live

Both lower seeds advanced in the Central Division playoff draw, setting up Game 1 between Manitoba and Rockford in Winnipeg tonight… The IceHogs are 5-1-0 in their last six visits to Bell MTS Place, including a pair of wins over the Moose there back in late March… Rockford has been off since completing a three-game sweep of Chicago with a triple-overtime victory in Game 3 last Thursday… Manitoba eliminated the defending Calder Cup champions with a Game 5 decision in Grand Rapids on Monday… The Moose scored 14 goals in their three wins vs. the Griffins, but just one goal combined in their two losses… Chase De Leo (2-5-7) was Manitoba’s leading scorer in the opening round… Eric Comrie (3-2, 2.82, .922) had a .943 save percentage over the last three games to help send the Moose to the division finals… Patrice Cormier‘s goal in Game 5 on Monday was his first point of the playoffs after he set career highs with 22 goals and 43 points in the regular season… Rockford, now 17-5-1-1 in its last 24 games overall, got 111 saves on 117 shots from Collin Delia (3-0, 1.52, .949) in the opening round… Chris DiDomenico (2-3-5) and Adam Clendening (1-4-5) have each recorded a team-high five points for the IceHogs, and Victor Ejdsell (2-2-4) is coming off a two-goal effort in the Game 3 clincher in Chicago… Rockford, ranked 25th in the AHL on the power play (15.6 percent) in the regular season, was 7-for-18 (38.9 percent) in the first round.

Central Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
C3-Manitoba Moose vs. C4-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Fri., May 4 – Rockford at Manitoba, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 5 – Rockford at Manitoba, 5:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 9 – Manitoba at Rockford, 8:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 11 – Manitoba at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 12 – Manitoba at Rockford, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 15 – Rockford at Manitoba, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 16 – Rockford at Manitoba, 8:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 2 – Tonight, 10:05 ET, AHL Live
(TUC leads series, 1-0)

Texas looks to even up the Pacific Division Finals as Tucson hosts Game 2 tonight… Michael Bunting (3-1-4) was the hero for the Roadrunners in the series opener on Wednesday night, scoring his second goal of the night at 8:53 of overtime to give the home team a 2-1 victory… It was Bunting’s second game-winning goal of the playoffs and made a winner out of Adin Hill (4-1, 1.56, .942), who finished with 23 saves after seeing his bid for an unprecedented third consecutive postseason shutout fall less than four minutes short… Hill improved to 8-2-1 (1.79, .930) in his last 12 starts… Mario Kempe (4-3-7) picked up an assist for Tucson in Game 1, giving him points in all five outings this postseason… Brian Flynn (3-1-4) scored the Stars’ only goal of the series opener, tying the game with 3:35 to go in the third period… Mike McKenna (3-2, 1.70, .955) stopped 34 of 36 shots in Game 1; Bunting’s second-period goal ended McKenna’s streak of 110 consecutive saves over a span of 166:05… Nine of Texas’s last 14 games have gone past regulation.

Pacific Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
P1-Tucson Roadrunners vs. P2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Wed., May 2 – TUCSON 2, Texas 1 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Fri., May 4 – Texas at Tucson, 10:05
Game 3 – Mon., May 7 – Tucson at Texas, 8:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 9 – Tucson at Texas, 8:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 11 – Tucson at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 13 – Texas at Tucson, 10:05
*Game 7 – Mon., May 14 – Texas at Tucson, 10:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Alumni Watch
In last night’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2017 AHL All-Rookie forward Jake Guentzel scored twice — his 20th and 21st points of the postseason — to lead Pittsburgh to a 3-1 win over Washington in Game 4… Guentzel joined Mario Lemieux as the only players in NHL history with at least 10 goals in each of their first two postseason appearances… Former AHL All-Stars P.K. Subban and Ryan Hartman scored for Nashville in the Predators’ 2-1 win at Winnipeg in Game 4.

Working Overtime
There have been 7 overtime games played in the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs so far:

May 2TUCSON 2, Texas 1Michael Bunting8:53
Apr. 28LEHIGH VALLEY 4, Providence 3Maxim Lamarche18:36
Apr. 26Rockford 4, CHICAGO 3Victor Ejdsell57:22
Apr. 22Texas 5, ONTARIO 4Samuel Laberge37:38
Apr. 21TORONTO 3, Utica 2Chris Mueller17:48
Apr. 20CHARLOTTE 3, W-B/Scranton 2Lucas Wallmark3:18
Apr. 19TEXAS 4, Ontario 3Brian Flynn1:55

On This Date
May 4, 1989 – Randy McKay scores 3:05 into the second overtime period to give Adirondack a 7-6 win over New Haven in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 4, 1973 – The Cincinnati Swords defeat Nova Scotia, 7-3, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals, snapping the Voyageurs’ 12-game postseason winning streak.

May 4, 1968 – The Rochester Americans win the Calder Cup for the third time in four years, finishing off the Quebec Aces with a 4-2 win in Game 6.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2018 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.