AHL Morning Skate: 5.4.22

Photo: Mark Nessia

A3-Providence Bruins vs. A6-Bridgeport Islanders
Game 2 – Tonight, 7:00 ET, AHLTV
(Bridgeport leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – Bridgeport 2, PROVIDENCE 1 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Wed., May 4 – Providence at Bridgeport, 7:00
*Game 3 – Fri., May 6 – Bridgeport at Providence, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The Bridgeport Islanders head home tonight with a chance to advance to the Atlantic Division semifinals after their 2-1 overtime victory in Providence on Monday... Arnaud Durandeau scored on a wraparound 9:56 into OT to give Bridgeport the Game 1 victory... Cory Schneider tied an AHL career high with 46 saves to earn his first overtime win during the Calder Cup Playoffs (1-9)... Defenseman Grant Hutton also scored for the Islanders, his first career playoff marker... Aatu Raty earned an assist on the winning goal, the first career North American point for the 19-year-old second-round draft pick... Jakub Lauko scored the Providence goal, his first since Nov. 20 to end a 40-game drought... Troy Grosenick stopped 30 of 32 shots for the Bruins... Providence defenseman Aaron Ness, who played 280 games with Bridgeport from 2011 to 2015, picked up an assist in Game 1... Bridgeport’s last three playoff wins have all come in OT; they have not won a regulation playoff game since 2010... The Islanders are vying for their first series victory since 2003; they have lost eight straight since... The Bruins were 2-3-1-3 over their last nine road games during the regular season.

A4-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. A5-Hershey Bears
Game 1 – Friday, 7:05 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Sun., May 8 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 3 – Mon., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

N4-Belleville Senators vs. N5-Rochester Americans
Game 1 – Tonight, 7:05 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – Belleville at Rochester, 7:05
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – Rochester at Belleville, 7:00
*Game 3 – Sun., May 8 –Rochester at Belleville, 3:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Belleville and Rochester open their first-round series tonight at Blue Cross Arena... The Senators went 11-4-1-0 down the stretch in the regular season to secure the fourth spot in the North Division, and their 5-2 win over Toronto on Apr. 30 allowed the Americans to clinch the fifth and final playoff berth... Belleville won five of the eight meetings between the clubs in 2021-22, including three of four in Rochester... The Amerks boast two of the top rookies in the AHL this season in leading scorer JJ Peterka (28-40-68) and Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award winner Jack Quinn (26-35-61)... Quinn had eight goals and 12 points in eight games against the Senators this season... Belleville is in the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time; Troy Mann’s club did finish first in the North Division during the shortened 2019-20 season... Jake Lucchini (20-31-51) led the Sens in scoring in 2021-22, including 10 points against the Amerks... Rochester is looking for its first series win since 2005; the franchise is 8-27 in its last 35 postseason games.

N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Laval Rocket
Game 1 – Friday, 7:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
Game 3 – Thu., May 12 – Syracuse at Laval, 7:00
*Game 4 – Sat., May 14 – Syracuse at Laval, 3:00
*Game 5 – Tue., May 17 – Laval at Syracuse, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

C4-Rockford IceHogs vs. C5-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Tonight, 8:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – Texas at Rockford, 8:00
*Game 3 – Sat., May 7 – Texas at Rockford, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Rockford and Texas get their best-of-three series underway tonight at BMO Harris Bank Center... It is a rematch of the 2018 Western Conference Finals, won by the Stars in six games... The teams also met in the 2010 and 2015 postseasons... The IceHogs used a 12-3-1-0 run from Mar. 15 to Apr. 19 to solidify a Calder Cup berth, while the Stars swept a four-game road trip to end the regular season, giving them the fifth and final spot in the Central Division draw... Lukas Reichel led Rockford with 21 goals, 36 assists and 57 points in 2021-22, setting a franchise rookie scoring record... Arvid Soderblom (21-15-2, 2.76, .919) started 15 of the last 19 games in the IceHogs cage... Anthony Louis (24-31-55), who began his pro career with two seasons in Rockford, set career highs in goals, assists and points to lead Texas in scoring in 2021-22... Curtis McKenzie has 24-29-53 in 73 career Calder Cup Playoff games, including three trips to the Finals and a championship with Texas in 2014... These teams split their eight-game season series.

C2-Manitoba Moose vs. C3-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Friday, 8:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Fri., May 6 – Manitoba at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 7 – Manitoba at Milwaukee, 7:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 11 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 8:00
*Game 4 – Fri., May 13 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 15 – Milwaukee at Manitoba, 3:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P2-Ontario Reign vs. P7-San Diego Gulls
Game 1 – Tonight, 10:00 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
Game 2 – Thu., May 5 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
*Game 3 – Mon., May 9 – San Diego at Ontario, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Ontario and San Diego write another chapter in their SoCal rivalry as they open their Pacific Division first round series tonight... It is the third Calder Cup Playoff meeting between the clubs; the Reign won in 2016, and the Gulls responded in 2017... Ontario finished second in the Pacific Division ― and third overall in the entire AHL ― with a 41-18-5-4 record (.669), including a 23-5-4-2 mark at Toyota Arena... Reign forward T.J. Tynan (14-84-98) finished second in the league scoring race, and his 84 assists tied for the third-most in a season in AHL history... Martin Frk (40-33-73) hit the 40-goal mark for Ontario; no Reign skater had even reached 30 previously... Tynan (2-18-20) and Frk (10-3-13) combined for 33 points in the 12-game season series with San Diego... Ontario set an AHL record by converting on 27.5 percent of their power-play opportunities... Alex Limoges (23-17-40) led San Diego with 23 goals this season, and was one of 11 Gulls skaters to hit double digits... Lukas Dostal had a .935 save percentage in three postseason appearances for San Diego during the 2021 Pacific Division playoffs... The Gulls went 7-0-0-1 from Mar. 11-26, but finished the 2021-22 regular season in a 2-8-2-2 skid.

P3-Colorado Eagles vs. P6-Henderson Silver Knights
Game 1 – Tonight, 9:05 ET, AHLTV

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – Henderson at Colorado, 9:05
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – Henderson at Colorado, 9:05
*Game 3 – Sat., May 7 – Henderson at Colorado, 9:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Colorado hosts Henderson in Game 1 of their best-of-three series tonight... The Eagles finished the season 16-6-1-0 in their last 23 games, claiming third place in the Pacific Division thanks to a pair of wins over Ontario to close out their schedule... The Silver Knights, who went 10-2-1-0 in April, enter the playoffs on a six-game winning streak... First Team AHL All-Star Jordan Gross (10-55-65) led all AHL defensemen in scoring in 2021-22, and Kiefer Sherwood (36-39-75) paced the Eagles in goals and points, earning recognition as a Second Team AHL All-Star... Dylan Sikura (33-40-73), who spent last season with Henderson, set career offensive highs for Colorado... Pavel Dorofeyev (27-25-52) led the Silver Knights in scoring... Jiri Patera (10-11-1, 2.76, .910) and Isaiah Saville (6-1-0, 2.05, .929) handled Henderson’s goaltending duties down the stretch... These teams have not seen each other since Henderson visited the Budweiser Events Center in mid-February; the Silver Knights won five of eight from the Eagles in the regular season.

P4-Bakersfield Condors vs. P5-Abbotsford Canucks
Game 2 – Tonight, 10:00 ET, AHLTV
(Bakersfield leads series, 1-0)

Game 1 – BAKERSFIELD 2, Abbotsford 1 (OT) | Recap
Game 2 – Wed., May 4 – Abbotsford at Bakersfield, 10:00
*Game 3 – Mon., May 9 – Abbotsford at Bakersfield, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

Shut out for more than 59 minutes last night, Bakersfield suddenly finds itself on the verge of advancing to the division semifinals after rallying for a 2-1 overtime victory over Abbotsford in Game 1... Seth Griffith scored with just 29.5 seconds left in regulation, spoiling Spencer Martin’s shutout bid on Bakersfield’s 41st shot of the night, and James Hamblin provided the game-winner 6:39 into OT... Stuart Skinner turned aside 30 shots for the Condors, improving to 6-0 for his AHL career in postseason overtime games... Making his AHL debut, Canucks forward Vasily Podkolzin broke a scoreless tie with 9:31 to go in the third period; Podkolzin, the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, collected 14 goals and 12 assists in 79 games with Vancouver in 2021-22... Martin finished with 45 saves for Abbotsford, taking his first defeat on the road in 2021-22 after going 10-0-0 during the regular season... Dylan Holloway earned an assist for Bakersfield in his pro playoff debut... A Canucks win tonight would force a deciding Game 3 next Monday.

Defenseman Mattias Norlinder is ready for another crack at postseason play, this time in the Calder Cup Playoffs with the Laval Rocket.

Norlinder, 22, has returned to Laval after a midseason transfer to Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League, where he picked up a pair of assists in 21 games. He then had six assists in nine games as the club advanced to the semi-final of the SHL postseason. Norlinder was on the ice with the Rocket on Tuesday morning as the club prepared to face the Syracuse Crunch in a best-of-five North Division Semifinal series that opens Friday night in central New York.

“I have the chance to win something,” Norlinder said Tuesday. “I’m excited to be here.”

Before Norlinder’s move back to Sweden in December, he played six games with the Rocket and had two points (one goal, one assist). He also dressed for six games with the parent Montreal Canadiens and grabbed one assist.

Norlinder said that he did not know whether he would be in head coach J-F Houle’s lineup for Game 1. Regardless, he sees a return to the American Hockey League as a positive for his long-term future with the Habs.

“If I’m in, I’m in,” Norlinder said. “If I’m not, [I will] keep grinding.

“I think it’s great for my development... I think this is a great opportunity for me for this season to do something good for [2022-23].”

For the Rocket, Norlinder’s return could help to offset the loss of rookie blueliner Justin Barron. Barron, a 2020 first-round draft pick who played 43 AHL games with Colorado this season before being acquired by Montreal, is out for the season with an ankle injury suffered in an NHL game last month.

A pair of Ottawa Senators first-round picks have joined the Belleville Senators, who open their postseason tonight in Rochester with Game 1 of their best-of-three first-round series with the Americans.

Forward Ridly Greig, chosen 28th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft by Ottawa, posted 63 points (26 goals, 37 assists) in just 39 games with Brandon (WHL) this season. The 19-year-old made his pro debut with Belleville last season, picking up one goal and two assists in seven games.

Another 19-year-old forward, Tyler Boucher, began the season as a freshman at Boston University before heading to Ottawa of the Ontario Hockey League. Boucher, the son of former Calder Cup winning goaltender Brian Boucher, went 10th overall to the Sens in the 2021 NHL Draft.

Connor Ingram’s recall to the Nashville Predators last week left a significant hole in net for the Milwaukee Admirals.

With Juuse Saros injured, Ingram remains in Nashville along with David Rittich. Ingram, who made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in relief during the Predators’ Game 1 loss to Colorado on Tuesday, played an AHL-high 55 games for Milwaukee, going 30-17-7 with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.

But goaltending help arrived on Tuesday when the Admirals signed Yaroslav Askarov to a professional tryout deal. The 11th overall pick by Nashville in the 2020 NHL Draft, the 19-year-old Askarov had split this season between SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL and their second-division affiliate in the VHL. He also represented Russia at the truncated 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship.

In addition to Askarov, Milwaukee also has Devin Cooley and Tomas Vomacka available as goaltending options as they prepare to open their Central Division Semifinal against Manitoba on Friday night.

Western Hockey League Player of the Year finalist Olen Zellweger has joined the San Diego Gulls for the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The 18-year-old defenseman went to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft and recorded 78 points (14 goals, 64 assists) in 55 WHL games for Everett this season, earning the league’s U.S. Division Player of the Year honor.

Zellweger is the second addition to the San Diego defense corps since the completion of the regular season. Simon Benoit, who played 53 games with Anaheim this season, has also joined San Diego for the postseason. The Gulls’ first-round best-of-three series with the Ontario Reign opens tonight.

“It’s great [to come to San Diego],” Benoit told the Gulls website. “They gave me the opportunity to play some more games. I’m just going to take those games and show what I can do.”

-- Patrick Williams

Louis Domingue, who made 22 appearances (10-9-2, 2.41, .924) for the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins this season, stopped all 17 shots he faced in 16:40 of sudden-death relief work to backstop Pittsburgh to a 4-3 triple-overtime win over the New York Rangers... Igor Shesterkin finished with 79 saves for the Rangers, the second-most in NHL history... Vitek Vanecek made 30 saves and earned his first career Stanley Cup Playoff victory in Washington’s 4-2 win over Florida... Mikko Rantanen dished out three assists in Colorado's 7-2 win over Nashville... Connor Ingram made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut and stopped 30 of 32 shots in relief for the Predators... Jacob Markstrom needed just 16 saves to earn the shutout in Calgary's 1-0 win over Dallas.

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.