AHL Morning Skate: Bruins out to bounce back

Every game day from now until the end of the Calder Cup Playoffs, the AHL Morning Skate takes 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.

No games scheduled

Hershey 6, PROVIDENCE 4 (HER leads series, 2-1)
HOUSTON 4, Manitoba 3 (2OT) (MTB leads series, 3-2)

1. Tony Hrkac tallied a pair of goals – including the game-winner in the second overtime – as Houston avoided elimination again with a 4-3 win over Manitoba in Game 5.

2. AHL MVP Alexandre Giroux scored twice to help Hershey rally past Providence for a 6-4 victory and a 2-1 series lead.

3. Goaltender Matt Climie stopped 45 of 48 shots in his first AHL start of the season for Houston.

Game 4 – Hershey at Providence, 7:05 (HER leads series, 2-1)

Complete Results || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A2-Providence Bruins
|| Preview
Game 1 – Sat., May 16 – Providence 3, HERSHEY 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 17 – HERSHEY 2, Providence 1
Game 3 – Fri., May 22 – Hershey 6, PROVIDENCE 4
Game 4 – Sun., May 24 – Hershey at Providence, 7:05
Game 5 – Mon., May 25 – Hershey at Providence, 4:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 27 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., May 28 – Providence at Hershey, 7:00

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. W3-Houston Aeros
|| Preview
Game 1 – Fri., May 15 – MANITOBA 2, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sat., May 16 – MANITOBA 5, Houston 2
Game 3 – Mon., May 18 – Manitoba 4, HOUSTON 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 20 – HOUSTON 5, Manitoba 4 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., May 22 – HOUSTON 4, Manitoba 3 (2OT)
Game 6 – Mon., May 25 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 27 – Houston at Manitoba, 8:30

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 4 – Hershey at Providence, 7:05 (HER leads series, 2-1)
Webcast: AHL Live (www.ahllive.com)
Satellite Radio: XM 204, Sirius 208
Holding a 2-1 series lead, Hershey looks to put a firm grip on the Eastern Conference Finals tonight when it visits Providence for Game 4 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center… The Bears rallied back from deficits of 3-0 and 4-2 in Game 3 on Friday, scoring four unanswered third-period goals to take a stunning 6-4 victory… Graham Mink tallied the game-winning goal with 6:02 to play, redirecting a shot from the point by Bryan Helmer past Bruins goaltender Tuukka RaskAlexandre Giroux scored twice for the Bears, and the AHL MVP now has a point in five straight games (4-3-7) and is tied for second in the league with eight goals this postseason (8-8-16)… Hershey also received goals from Chris Bourque, Andrew Gordon and Helmer, who now has two tallies in 14 playoff games after registering two in 63 regular-season contests this year… Keith Aucoin, who reached the conference finals as a member of the P-Bruins in 2005, posted two assists for Hershey on Friday and has a point in four of his last five contests (1-5-6)… Bears rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth (10-4, 2.07, .929) picked up the win with 24 saves… Hershey won its first game this postseason when trailing after two periods (1-3) and handed Providence its first loss when leading after 40 minutes (9-1)… The Bruins fell despite going 3-for-4 on the power play, which improved them to 6-for-10 (60.0 percent) for the series and 28.1 percent in the playoffs… Providence defenseman Jeff Penner scored two power-play goals and assisted on another in Game 3, and he now has a team-high three goals and five points against Hershey after totaling five points in the first two rounds… Peter Schaefer also scored with the man advantage Friday, and rookie Zach Hamill ended a 19-game drought with his first goal since Mar. 29… Martin St. Pierre’s two assists give him points in four of his last five outings (2-4-6), while rookie Brad Marchand (6-7-13) was held off the scoresheet for just the fourth time in 14 postseason tilts… Prior to Friday, Rask had not allowed as many as six goals in a game since a 6-4 loss at Toronto on Mar. 4… Hershey’s four goals in the third period of Game 3 were more than they had scored in any of their previous eight games… The Bears killed off all 22 shorthanded situations in the first round vs. Philadelphia, but have allowed 14 goals in 44 chances since (68.2 percent)… The Bruins are trailing in a series for the first time since losing Game 1 to Portland in the first round.


Tim Leone, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Quintin Laing looked tired as he perched on a seat in front his locker after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. But, as David Letterman likes to say, it was a good kind of tired. “I felt like I’ve had eight weeks off,” Laing said. “The pace was a lot faster. Things were coming at me pretty quick. It was kind of tough to get into the quickness of the game. Taking the body was kind of tiring. I just had to play a little bit smarter than usual.” The Hershey Bears winger, originally ruled out for the season after suffering a spleen injury in March, returned to the lineup Friday night in a 6-4 victory over the Providence Bruins at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Kirk Luedeke, New England Hockey Journal
Matt Marquardt is no stranger to extended postseason runs and, after working through a long injury layoff last month, is starting to make his presence felt for the Providence Bruins in all zones. The rookie winger and North Bay, Ont., native scored his first career AHL playoff goal, the decisive marker in his team’s 3-2 victory against the Hershey Bears in Game 1. Like Marquardt’s size (6-foot-3, 230-pounds), the win was huge because it took some pressure off the club, who dropped the second game by a 2-1 score and then lost 6-4 in Game 3 on Friday.

Lindsay Kramer, NHL.com
Rookie defenseman John Carlson was tossed into the fray of the Hershey Bears’ playoff run with the hopes that he would make an immediate impact. Bears forward Andrew Gordon can vouch for just how heavy that impact can be. Gordon had the misfortune of finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time in Game 6 of the East Division finals vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Specifically, Gordon was in front of the Penguins’ net on a power play when a hard blast off Carlson’s stick crashed into his skate. “It left a dent in my laces, that’s for sure,” Gordon marveled days later. “If John is going to be shooting from there, I have to know it’s coming.”

Tim Campbell, Winnipeg Free Press
The pressure is now squarely on the Manitoba Moose. Their 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven AHL Western Conference final with the Houston Aeros has dwindled to 3-2 after a pair of overtime losses Wednesday and Friday in Houston. So it’s back to the MTS Centre for Game 6 and another chance to close the deal on Monday, not a terrible fate despite the disappointment of the last two games. Certainly the Moose are under the gun to finish the task. Aside from trailing the Toronto Marlies 2-1 in the opening round, this is the first true dose of adversity the regular-season champions have faced in a month. Pressure, to this point, has not seemed to bother the Moose.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
Heading back to Winnipeg looked like a foregone conclusion and eventually, it was. But not before a ridiculous rally. With the Houston Aeros holding a seemingly insurmountable 3-1 lead in the final minute of Game 5 of the Western Conference final on Friday night, the situation looked bleak for the Manitoba Moose. But Jason Krog scored with 21 seconds left in regulation to make things interesting and Mark Cullen potted the equalizer with two seconds left on the clock to tie the game and send it to overtime. “It was awesome, that was really fun,” Cullen said after arriving in Winnipeg yesterday afternoon. “We never gave up and that says a lot about our team. It was disheartening to lose after such an exciting (finish) but we’ll be all right.”

Andrew J. Ferraro, Houston Chronicle
When Mark Cullen scored the Manitoba Moose’s third goal Friday night with just two ticks left on the clock, it looked like the Aeros’ season soon would be over. Cullen only tied the game when he beat Matt Climie just 20 seconds after Jason Krog made it 3-2. But when the teams returned to the bench to start overtime, the Aeros looked a bit shocked. The Moose came out firing, but Climie made save after save, setting up Tony Hrkac’s second-overtime winner to force Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. After making 25 straight saves in three relief appearances, Climie got his first start Friday and earned the win by stopping 45 of 48 shots, including 18 in OT.

The American Hockey League has announced that several games from the Calder Cup Playoff conference finals will be airing live on the NHL Home Ice channel on Sirius XM Radio and XM Canada, including tonight’s Game 4 from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

1994 Calder Cup champion Sergei Gonchar posted a pair of assists and 2004 Calder Cup finalist Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves as Pittsburgh took a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 6-2 win over Carolina last night… Patrick Sharp, who scored in double-overtime of Game 2 of the 2005 Calder Cup Finals for the Philadelphia Phantoms, gave Chicago a 4-3 win over Detroit with his goal 1:52 into OT on Friday night.

– Goals scored by Hershey’s Alexandre Giroux since opening night, tied for the second-most in AHL history for a single regular-season and postseason combined… Stephan Lebeau netted 71 for the Sherbrooke Canadiens in 1988-89.

4 – New England natives on Hershey’s roster: Keith Aucoin (Waltham, Mass.), Chris Bourque (Boston, Mass.), Graham Mink (Stowe, Vt.), and John Carlson (Natick, Mass.).

May 24, 2008
Tim Brent’s goal with 30.7 seconds remaining in the third period of Game 7 snaps a tie and sends Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to the Calder Cup Finals with a 3-2 win over Portland.

May 24, 2006Bobby Ryan scores his first professional goal as Portland wins Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 5-3 over Hershey.

May 24, 2002Bob Nardella scores with 2.7 seconds left in regulation and Andreas Karlsson follows up 13:58 into overtime as Chicago beats Bridgeport, 5-4, in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals.

May 24, 1998Martin St. Louis picks up a goal and an assist as the Saint John Flames win the Eastern Conference championship with a 7-3 decision over Hartford.

May 24, 1996Dwayne Roloson stops 31 shots to lead Saint John to a 4-1 win at Portland, evening up their conference final series at two games apiece.

May 24, 1991Michel Picard’s goal six minutes into the third period stands up as the game-winner as Springfield defeats Rochester, 5-3, to capture its second straight Calder Cup championship.

May 24, 1985 – The Sherbrooke Canadiens, led by 19-year-old goaltender Patrick Roy, win the Calder Cup with a 3-1 win over Baltimore.

Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2009 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live continues to bring AHL action to your computer all postseason long with live video webcasts and highlights of every AHL game, as well as behind-the-scenes features and interviews in the Video On Demand section… Visit theahl.com or ahllive.com for details.