AHL Morning Skate: April 20

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs
in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

Game 1 – 7:05 ET, AHL Live

The 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs get underway tonight when the puck drops on Game 1 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre… This is the third playoff meeting in the last four years between the Penguins and Bruins, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton winning a pair of Game 7’s in 2013 and 2014… Providence won four of six meetings between the teams during the regular season, including a 3-1 victory on Saturday night to all but lock up second place in the Atlantic Division… Providence placed three skaters — Seth Griffith (24-53-77), Alexander Khokhlachev (23-45-68) and Austin Czarnik (20-41-61) — among the AHL’s top 10 scorers in the regular season, and also had the league’s leading goal-scorer in Frank Vatrano (36-19-55)… Bruins netminder Jeremy Smith, who is 8-11 (2.44, .922) in 19 career Calder Cup Playoff contests, registered a .934 save percentage in 20 appearances with Providence after rejoining the team from Iowa in early February… Dustin Jeffrey (20-44-64) had 7-11-18 in 19 games after joining the Penguins in a trade from Arizona on Feb. 29… Carter Rowney put up 24-32-56 and a team-best plus-23 rating in 74 games for Wilkes-Barre… Pens defenseman Will O’Neill recorded 3-13-16 in 18 games with St. John’s during a run to the Calder Cup Finals in 2014… The Bruins were 29-7-4-3 (.756) over their final 43 games, good for the best record in the league since Jan. 1… Providence and Wilkes-Barre combined to score more shorthanded goals (3) than power-play goals (2) in their six-game season series… The Bruins were first in the AHL on the power play (22.6 percent) and second on the penalty kill (87.4 percent) in 2015-16… The Penguins have lost seven of their last 10 Game 1’s played at home; the Bruins are 9-11 all-time in Game 1’s on the road.

Atlantic Division Semifinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Providence at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Providence at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton at Providence, 7:05
*Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 25 – W-B/Scranton at Providence, 7:05
*Game 5 – Tue., Apr. 26 – W-B/Scranton at Providence, 7:05
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 1 – 8:00 ET, AHL Live

Rockford hosts Lake Erie in the opener of their best-of-five Central Division semifinal series tonight… The Monsters closed out the regular season with a 9-1-1-0 mark in their last 11 games, a stretch that began with back-to-back wins over the IceHogs on Mar. 24 and 25… Michael Chaput (16-29-45) had 4-4-8 in his last eight games for Lake Erie, and all four goals were game-winners… Lukas Sedlak (14-4-18) totaled four goals in his first 44 games for the Monsters this season before scoring 10 in the last 10 outings… Rockford stumbled through a 4-8-3-0 run before winning its final three games of the regular season to earn third place in the Central Division… Mac Carruth (6-5-2, 2.30, .926) was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week last week after stopping 77 of 79 shots in the three IceHogs victories… Drew MacIntyre (13-16-3, 3.08, .892) ranks fifth in AHL history in Calder Cup Playoff wins (42) and games (76) by a goaltender… IceHogs forward Pierre-Cedric Labrie, a Calder Cup winner with Norfolk in 2012, is coming off the first 20-goal season of his nine-year career… Rockford’s Vinnie Hinostroza (18-33-51) was one of four AHL rookies to lead his team in scoring in 2015-16, joining San Antonio’s Mikko Rantanen, San Diego’s Brandon Montour and Albany’s Matt Lorito… During the regular season, Lake Erie scored 17 goals in four home games vs. Rockford, but just three goals in four road games… Lake Erie is in the Calder Cup Playoffs for just the second time in the franchise’s nine seasons; the Monsters lost a seven-game series to Manitoba in the first round in 2011… Rockford is in the postseason for the second year in a row after sitting out the previous four springs.

Central Division Semifinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
C2-Lake Erie Monsters vs. C3-Rockford IceHogs

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 20 – Lake Erie at Rockford, 8:00
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Lake Erie at Rockford, 8:00
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Rockford at Lake Erie, 7:00
*Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Rockford at Lake Erie, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Rockford at Lake Erie, 7:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Welcome Back
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ run of 14 consecutive playoff appearances is tied for the fifth-longest streak in AHL history:

24 — Cleveland Barons, 1941 to 1964
17 — Hershey Bears, 1961 to 1977
16 — Rochester Americans, 1990 to 2005
15 — Montreal/Nova Scotia Voyageurs, 1970 to 1984
14 — Adirondack Red Wings, 1986 to 1999
14 — Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 2003 to present

Alumni Watch
Matt Murray, a Second Team AHL All-Star this season and the league’s outstanding goaltender and rookie in 2014-15, made 16 saves to earn the win in his Stanley Cup Playoff debut last night, backstopping Pittsburgh past the New York Rangers, 3-1… Nikita Kucherov scored twice and 2012 Calder Cup champion Ondrej Palat netted the game-winner late in the third period to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 win at Detroit… Brian Elliott stopped 39 shots as St. Louis defeated Chicago, 4-3… Anaheim shut out Nashville, 3-0, behind 27 saves from Frederik Andersen.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2016 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.