AHL Morning Skate: April 24, 2008

AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take a spin around the AHL ice with recaps and previews, news and notes, facts and figures, and the top headlines from around the American Hockey League.


HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT) (WBS leads, 3-1)

MILWAUKEE 2, Chicago 0 (Series tied, 2-2)

Toronto 3, SAN ANTONIO 2 (Series tied, 2-2)


1. Alexandre Giroux scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner just 20 seconds into overtime, as Hershey kept its playoff run alive with a 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

2. Two-time AHL All-Star Pekka Rinne posted a 37-save shutout to help Milwaukee over Chicago, 2-0, evening their West Division semifinal at two games apiece.

3. Scott Clemmensen stopped 34 of 26 shots in net for Toronto as the Marlies tied up their North Division semifinal with a 3-2 win at San Antonio.


Game 5 – Philadelphia at Albany, 7:00 (Series tied, 2-2)

Game 5 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 2-2)

Game 4 – Rockford at Houston, 8:05 (RFD leads, 2-1)

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Providence Bruins vs. A4-Manchester Monarchs || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – PROVIDENCE 3, Manchester 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PROVIDENCE 2, Manchester 0
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Providence 3, MANCHESTER 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 21 –  Providence 3, MANCHESTER 2 (OT)

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Hartford Wolf Pack vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – HARTFORD 3, Portland 1
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 17 – Portland 3, HARTFORD 2 (2OT)
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 19 – PORTLAND 3, Hartford 2
Game 4 – Sun., Apr. 20 – PORTLAND 4, Hartford 3
Game 5 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Portland 3, HARTFORD 2

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E4-Hershey Bears || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – W-B/Scranton 2, HERSHEY 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – W-B/SCRANTON 6, Hershey 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Hershey 1
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – HERSHEY 3, W-B/Scranton 2 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., Apr. 27 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 5:05

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Philadelphia Phantoms vs. E3-Albany River Rats || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – ALBANY 4, Philadelphia 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – PHILADELPHIA 3, Albany 0
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Albany 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Philadelphia 2, ALBANY 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Philadelphia at Albany, 7:00
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Albany at Philadelphia, 1:05 (WC)
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Albany at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)


North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. W5-San Antonio Rampage || Preview
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – TORONTO 4, San Antonio 3
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – San Antonio 6, TORONTO 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 21 – SAN ANTONIO 3, Toronto 2
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Toronto 3, SAN ANTONIO 2
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Toronto at San Antonio, 8:00
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – San Antonio at Toronto, 4:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – San Antonio at Toronto, 7:30

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Syracuse Crunch vs. N3-Manitoba Moose || Preview
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – SYRACUSE 2, Manitoba 1 (OT)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Manitoba 3, SYRACUSE 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Syracuse 2, MANITOBA 1 (OT)
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 5 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Syracuse at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Tue., Apr. 29 – Manitoba at Syracuse, 7:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W4-Milwaukee Admirals || Preview

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 16 – Milwaukee 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 18 – CHICAGO 2, Milwaukee 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 20 – Chicago 4, MILWAUKEE 3 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 23 – MILWAUKEE 2, Chicago 0
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 26 – Chicago at Milwaukee, 8:30
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Rockford IceHogs vs. W3-Houston Aeros || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 18 – ROCKFORD 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 19 – Houston 1, ROCKFORD 0 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 22 – Rockford 2, HOUSTON 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 24 – Rockford at Houston, 8:05
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Rockford at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 27 – Houston at Rockford, 5:05
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 28 – Houston at Rockford, 8:05


*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 5 –
Philadelphia at Albany, 7:00 (Series tied, 2-2)

Philadelphia and Albany continue their back-and-forth East Division semifinal series tonight at the Times Union Center… Going back to the regular season, the teams have alternated wins over their last 11 meetings… The Phantoms tied the series up on Tuesday with a 2-1 victory, sparked by rookie Kyle Greentree’s two-point effort (1-1-2), including the eventual game-winning goal… Scott Munroe stopped 30 of 31 shots in the winning effort for Philadelphia, only allowing a goal to Albany’s Jakub Petruzalek just two minutes after the opening face-off… Despite missing Game 1, Pete Zingoni has a team-high three points (2-1-3) for the Phantoms in the series… River Rats goaltender Michael Leighton has stopped 138 of 143 shots (1.26 GAA, .965 save percentage) through four games.


Game 5 – Milwaukee at Chicago, 8:00 (Series tied, 2-2)

Fresh off a 2-0 home-ice win in Game 4 on Wednesday, Milwaukee travels south for Game 5 of its West Division semifinal against Chicago tonight… Admirals goaltender Pekka Rinne stopped all 37 shots sent his way to record his fourth career Calder Cup Playoff shutout and first since Game 3 of the 2006 finals at Hershey… Rich Peverley, who skated in six Stanley Cup Playoff games for parent-club Nashville this year, netted a second-period goal for Milwaukee, and Antti Pihlstrom added insurance late in the final stanza… The Admirals’ Josh Langfeld was scoreless in Game 4, but still leads the AHL with five playoff goals and is tied for second with six points… Wolves forward Jason Krog, who led the league with 39 regular-season goals, has yet to score in this series… Krog does have a team-high four assists, and Jesse Schultz leads Chicago with three goals… Darren Haydar is still sitting on 99 career Calder Cup Playoff points.


Game 4 – Rockford at Houston, 8:05 (RFD leads, 2-1)

Rockford and Houston clash at the Toyota Center ice tonight for Game 4 of their West Division semifinal, the first of four games in five nights if the series winds up going the distance… The defensive struggle has featured only eight goals combined in more than 10 periods of play… The IceHogs took a 2-1 win in Game 3 on Tuesday on a goal by Derek Nesbitt at the 17:14 mark of the third period… Rockford, which held a 34-16 shots advantage in that game, also received a goal from Petri KontiolaMarco Rosa netted the Aeros’ lone goal in the Game 3 defeat… The AHL’s two leaders in playoff goals-against average are in this series: Houston’s Barry Brust (0.82) and Rockford’s Corey Crawford (0.87)… The IceHogs’ Martin St. Pierre and Kris Versteeg lead all scorers with three points apiece, each posting a goal and two assists… The teams are a combined 0-for-21 on the power play.



Tom Reed, Columbus Dispatch

Joakim Lindstrom’s celebration of a winning goal was momentarily interrupted Friday night by a thunderous shoulder check from teammate Alexandre Picard. “It was just the emotion of the moment,” Picard said of his decision to playfully run Lindstrom after a 2-1, series-opening win over the Manitoba Moose. “I got a little excited because we won and it was such a great shot.” This is how they roll in Syracuse, home to a tight-knit, tightly wound bunch that leads the American Hockey League in penalty minutes, fighting majors and colorful characters. “A lot of people have a romantic view of how hockey used to be played,” Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson said. “If you want to see it, it’s on display in Syracuse.”



Robert Lee, Providence Journal

After posting a league-best 55-18-3-4 regular-season record, the Providence Bruins kept the momentum going in the semifinals of the Atlantic Division playoffs by sweeping Manchester in four games. And the P-Bruins don’t want their outstanding season to end until they are holding the Calder Cup. “It’s just been an outstanding year,” said Providence coach Scott Gordon, the AHL Coach of the Year. “The players are the ones that have allowed us to have the success that we’ve had because of their willingness to be prepared and get themselves ready to play every game. “Pretty consistently, every guy has brought their ‘A’ game, and as a result we’ve had a level of consistency that, as a team, I’ve never seen.”




Reed Schreck, Rockford Register-Star

Chicago Blackhawks rookie standout Patrick Kane was impressed by callups from the Rockford IceHogs who joined him this past NHL season. There were lots of them, as 20 players performed for both organizations in 2007-08. “Coming up, we didn’t know what to expect from them,” he said at a recent visit to the MetroCentre. “They probably expected it to take some time to help the team. But guys like (Dave) Bolland, (Jordan) Hendry, (Cam) Barker and (Dustin) Byfuglien did their jobs this year – and even the guys who filled in for a few games like (Kris) Versteeg and those guys did their jobs. The future looks really great. There’s a lot of good young kids with the players they have in Rockford. We’re going to be a really good team in a couple of years.”




Dan Sernoffsky, York Daily Record

The Hershey Bears aren’t ready for hibernation just yet. Shaking off whatever frustration they may have felt when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tied the game at with just 18.2 seconds left in regulation, the Bears rebounded to score just 20 seconds into overtime. The result was a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Giant Center, and the Bears staved off elimination in the best-of-seven East Division semifinal series, although they continue to face an uphill battle. The Penguins lead the series, 3-1, and will have the chance to close out the Bears on home ice in Game 5 Friday night at Wilkes-Barre’s Wachovia Arena. “That’s what playoff hockey’s all about,” Hershey coach Bob Woods said, “those OT wins. We’d have loved to have got it done in regulation, but give Wilkes-Barre credit. They don’t quit. They battled right to the end.”




Dave Boehler, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Milwaukee fans are used to seeing Pekka Rinne win games. It’s been awhile since they saw Rich Peverley add to the cause. Rinne stopped all 37 shots by Chicago and Peverley, in his first game with Milwaukee since returning from the parent Nashville Predators, scored the winning goal in the Admirals’ 2-0 victory over the Wolves Wednesday night at the Bradley Center. “To go down, 3-1, we would’ve been behind the 8-ball a little bit,” said Peverley, who played in a total of 39 games in three stints in Nashville. Rinne made 16 saves in the final period, playing in front of several coaches and front-office members of the Predators after they lost to Detroit in the first-round of the National Hockey League playoffs.




Phil Janack, Daily Gazette

Four games into their first-round Calder Cup playoff series, the Albany River Rats and Philadelphia Phantoms have alternated wins and momentum. Tonight offers the chance for control. Albany hosts Game 5 at 7 at the Times Union Center in a best-of-seven series that is tied at 2-2. The winner will have the chance to close it out in Game 6 Saturday in Philadelphia; the loser will have to do something as yet undone: win back-to-back games. “They’ve got a good team and we’ve got a good team. It’s just a matter of us playing our systems and not getting away from it,” Rats alternate captain Trevor Gillies said following Wednesday’s noon practice. “I have a lot of faith in the room and our team that we’re going to come through and get this done.”




Kirk Penton, Winnipeg Sun

Mike Keane had been filling Nolan Baumgartner in on all the happenings in Mooseland for the past two weeks. Baumgartner will now get to see it for himself after the Dallas Stars reassigned him to the Manitoba Moose yesterday. Dallas originally lent Baumgartner to Manitoba on Feb. 27, and the Moose were 14-2-2 with him in the lineup. The Stars took him back, however, on April 8 due to injuries on their blue line. The belief was Baumgartner wouldn’t return to Manitoba until Dallas was eliminated from the NHL playoffs, but Sergei Zubov has recovered from several injuries and is expected to play in the second round. That gives the Stars plenty of options on the blue line, so they did the Moose a solid. “It was a nice move by them,” Moose head coach Scott Arniel said. “It was something they didn’t have to do.”




Andrew J. Ferraro, Houston Chronicle