AHL Morning Skate: Bruins, Sharks kick off Round 2

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.


Houston 5, PEORIA 2 (HOU wins series, 4-3)

1. Defenseman Maxim Noreau tallied his second game-winning goal of the series as Houston topped Peoria by a 5-2 count in Game 7 of their division semifinal.

2. Jonathan Filewich notched a goal for the Rivermen in the losing effort.

3. Goaltender Anton Khudobin stopped 19 of 21 shots to pick up the win in net for the Aeros.

Game 1 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Hartford Wolf Pack vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 16 – HARTFORD 2, Worcester 0
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – HARTFORD 5, Worcester 3
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 20 – WORCESTER 3, Hartford 2 (2OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 22 – WORCESTER 6, Hartford 0
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 23 – Worcester 3, HARTFORD 1
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 5, Hartford 3

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “B” (best-of-7)
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 15 – Portland 3, PROVIDENCE 0
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 17 – PROVIDENCE 2, Portland 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – Providence 5, PORTLAND 1
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 23 – Providence 2, PORTLAND 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 24 – PROVIDENCE 2, Portland 1

East Division Semifinal – Series “C” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E4-Philadelphia Phantoms

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 16 – Hershey 4, PHILADELPHIA 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – Hershey 6, PHILADELPHIA 2
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 22 – HERSHEY 3, Philadelphia 2
Game 4 – Fri., Apr. 24 – HERSHEY 1, Philadelphia 0

East Division Semifinal – Series “D” (best-of-7)
E2-Bridgeport Sound Tigers vs. E3-W-B/Scranton Penguins

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 17 – W-B/Scranton 3, BRIDGEPORT 2 (U)
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – W-B/Scranton 5, BRIDGEPORT 4 (OT) (U)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – Bridgeport 5, W-B/SCRANTON 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 22 – W-B/Scranton 2, BRIDGEPORT 1
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 24 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Bridgeport 2

North Division Semifinal – Series “E” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N4-Toronto Marlies
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 15 – Toronto 3, MANITOBA 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 17 – MANITOBA 4, Toronto 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – TORONTO 2, Manitoba 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 21 – Manitoba 5, TORONTO 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 23 – Manitoba 5, TORONTO 2
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 25 – MANITOBA 4, Toronto 2

North Division Semifinal – Series “F” (best-of-7)
N2-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 17 – Grand Rapids 4, HAMILTON 3
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – Grand Rapids 3, HAMILTON 1
Game 3 – Mon., Apr. 20 – Hamilton 5, GRAND RAPIDS 4
Game 4 – Wed., Apr. 22 – Hamilton 4, GRAND RAPIDS 3 (OT)
Game 5 – Fri., Apr. 24 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Hamilton 1
Game 6 – Sun., Apr. 26 – Grand Rapids 4, HAMILTON 1

West Division Semifinal – Series “G” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W4-Rockford IceHogs

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 16 – MILWAUKEE 3, Rockford 1
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 18 – MILWAUKEE 3, Rockford 1
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 19 – Milwaukee 3, ROCKFORD 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 21 – Milwaukee 4, ROCKFORD 1

West Division Semifinal – Series “H” (best-of-7)
W2-Peoria Rivermen vs. W3-Houston Aeros

Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 15 – PEORIA 6, Houston 4
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 17 – Houston 2, PEORIA 0
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 18 – HOUSTON 2, Peoria 1
Game 4 – Mon., Apr. 20 – Peoria 4, HOUSTON 3
Game 5 – Wed., Apr. 22 – HOUSTON 3, Peoria 2 (OT)
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 25 – PEORIA 2, Houston 1
Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 27 – Houston 5, PEORIA 2

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A2-Providence Bruins vs. A4-Worcester Sharks
Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 28 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 2 – Wed., May 6 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
Game 3 – Fri., May 8 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
Game 4 – Sat., May 9 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 5 – Mon., May 11 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
*Game 6 – Wed., May 13 – Providence at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 7 – Thu., May 14 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Game 1 – Sat., May 2 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 3 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 6 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., May 8 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Manitoba Moose vs. N3-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Fri., May 1 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 2 – Sat., May 2 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 3 – Mon., May 4 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Wed., May 6 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Fri., May 8 – Manitoba at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sun., May 10 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., May 12 – Grand Rapids at Manitoba, 8:30

West Division Finals – Series
“L” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W3-Houston Aeros
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 30 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 2 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 3 – Tue., May 5 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Thu., May 7 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
*Game 5 – Fri. or Sat., May 8 or 9 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Mon., May 11 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 13 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern
(U) at Uniondale, N.Y.

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 1 – Worcester at Providence, 7:05
The second round gets underway tonight with Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals, as Worcester travels down Route 146 to take on Providence at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center… Both teams are entering round two on four-game winning streaks; the Bruins dropped their first-round opener to Portland before reeling off four straight victories, while the Sharks fell into an 0-2 series hole before capturing the last four to oust first-place Hartford… Worcester’s Riley Armstrong brings a five-game scoring streak (0-8-8) into tonight’s contest and leads the team with his eight playoff points… Dan DaSilva was scoreless in the first three games of the Hartford series but registered six points (2-4-6) in the last three… Thomas Greiss, who has made 22 straight starts in net for the Sharks, stopped 118 of 124 shots (1.38, .952) during Worcester’s four straight wins to close the first round… Vladimir Sobotka (2-3-5) and Martin St. Pierre (1-4-5) paced the Bruins with five points apiece in their first-round ouster of Portland… Second-year goaltender Tuukka Rask surrendered only six goals in the five-game series, making 142 saves on 148 shots (1.20, .959)… Bruins rookie Mikko Lehtonen registered just one assist in the first round but racked up a team-high seven goals and 10 points in nine regular-season games against the Sharks… The cities of Providence and Worcester last clashed in the AHL postseason in 2001, when the Bruins ousted the Worcester IceCats in a seven-game division final series.


Bill Ballou, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
One of the odd twists of reality is that the best time of year to be a hockey player, or a hockey fan, is when the ice and snow are long gone. So the Worcester Sharks’ dressing room was a pretty happy place yesterday, two days after the team clinched a berth in the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs, and one day before it embarked on its series against the Providence Bruins. “This is when it’s fun,” coach Roy Sommer said. “It’s the best hockey of the year.” The Sharks-Bruins series opens tonight in Providence, then the teams get a week off because of building issues. This is not the worst thing in the world for Worcester; the Sharks almost can approach tonight’s match with a Game 7 mentality, knowing there are seven days of downtime coming to let the bumps and bruises heal.

Mark Divver, Providence Journal
Vladimir Sobotka probably will be in the Providence lineup Tuesday night when the Bruins and Worcester Sharks open the AHL Atlantic Division finals at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Sobotka, who is tied with Martin St. Pierre for the team lead in playoff scoring with five points, was hurt during the second period of Providence’s series-clinching, 2-1 win in Game Five against Portland Friday night and did not return for the third period. While the rest of the team went through a spirited 50-minute skate Monday morning, the 21-year-old from the Czech Republic took what coach Rob Murray described as a maintenance day – riding the stationary bike, stretching and doing light weight-lifting in the upstairs fitness center that overlooks the rink.

Dave Eminian, Peoria Journal Star
Manny Legace walked down the tunnel toward the Peoria Rivermen locker room after a disasterous first period Monday, stopped, and destroyed his stick in the hallway, leaving the pieces on the floor for every one of his teammates to walk past. Legace had a new stick, and the Rivermen picked up the pieces in a magnificent second period, but both ended up with a broken heart in the third as the Houston Aeros – held without a shot on goal for over 24 minutes – escaped with a 5-2 victory in Game 7 of the West Division semifinals at Carver Arena. That eliminated Peoria from the second postseason appearance in its AHL era and sent Houston to a division finals series against Milwaukee.

Dan Sernoffsky, Lebanon Daily News
The Hershey Bears had two days to savor their four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phantoms. Now they’re turning their focus to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Bears returned to practice yesterday to begin preparation for their best-of-seven East Division final series against the Penguins, a series that begins Saturday at Giant Center. “It’s gonna be a battle,” said goalie Michal Neuvirth, who turned in a stellar performance in posting a 1-0 shutout over the Phantoms in Friday’s deciding game of the first round series. “They’ve got a pretty good team, and we know it. I think every little thing is gonna count. We’ve got to be ready.” The series will mark the fourth straight season in which the Bears and Penguins have met in the playoffs.

Jonathan Bombulie, The Citizens’ Voice
When Jean-Michel Daoust packs up his things every September and heads off to training camp, he doesn’t expect to return back home until June. Long playoff runs are his specialty. “Every year I’m playing with good teams. That’s the main thing. I’m playing with teams that work hard and have good work habits and all that. Getting experience in the playoffs helps me a lot.” Daoust started this year’s playoffs as the Penguins’ fourth-line right wing. He threw his 5-foot-7 frame around with abandon, joining with Paul Bissonnette and rookie Joe Vitale to form the team’s most effective line combination in the last week of the regular season.

Gary Lawless, Winnipeg Free Press
Taking care of the Toronto Marlies in six games to secure a trip to the North Division Final has earned the Manitoba Moose a few days off, so let’s take a look at their strengths and weaknesses to date in the post-season. The Moose will return to practice today while head coach Scott Arniel and his assistants Jay Wells and Rick St. Croix analyze video in an effort to formulate a game plan for the incoming Grand Rapids Griffins. “It was a pretty exciting series and very physical. It got real emotional at times and I thought our guys did a great job of sticking to our game plan,” said Arniel. “It was a great series and now it’s time to move on and get ready for this one.” Action in the best-of-seven North Final begins Friday night with Game 1 at the MTS Centre.

Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Sun
With four wins in the bank, the Manitoba Moose are hoping to stay on the money when they hook up with an old flame in Round 2 of the AHL playoffs. The Moose, who dispatched the Toronto Marlies in a hard-fought opening round series, found out Sunday night they’ll be facing the Grand Rapids Griffins in the North Division final. This rivalry has heated up in the AHL as the two teams will be meeting for the third time in four seasons. The last two series went the distance, with the Griffins winning in the North Division final in 2006 after rallying back from a 4-1 deficit in Game 7 and the Moose countering in the North semi in 2007. “There’s a little bit of history there and there are some players left over on both teams,” Arniel said yesterday. “In the same sense, it’s a new year.”

Dave Boehler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Admirals coach Lane Lambert and assistant Brad Lauer were given one-year contract extensions with an option for the 2010-11 season by the parent Nashville Predators on Monday. “It was just a matter of whether or not the Nashville organization was happy with the job we’ve done,” said Lambert, whose contract was set to expire after this, his second season with the team. Lambert’s record is 93-51-3-13 for 202 points, the second-highest point total by a Milwaukee head coach in his first two years in franchise history. He helped the Admirals win the West Division this year with 107 points, which was tied for most in the American Hockey League.

2007 AHL All-Star Dustin Byfuglien tallied his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal and added two assists as Chicago eliminated Calgary with a 4-1 win in Game 6 last night… Kris Versteeg chipped in a pair of assists in the Blackhawks’ victory… Ryan Getzlaf posted a goal and a helper as Anaheim took a 4-1 win over San Jose to complete a six-game upset of the league-leading Sharks.

4 – Lower seeds who won their first-round series, the most in a Calder Cup Playoff since there were five upsets in the first round of the 2005 postseason… Worcester, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Grand Rapids and Houston all dispatched of higher-seeded opponents.

4 – Teams who lost Game 1 in the division semifinals and came back to win the series, the highest total since four Game 1 losers also prevailed in the 2004 division semifinals… Worcester, Providence, Manitoba and Houston all rallied from early series deficits to advance.

April 28, 2008Bates Battaglia breaks a tie with 58.1 seconds left in regulation, lifting Toronto to a dramatic 2-1 victory over San Antonio in Game 7 of their North Division semifinal… Trevor Frischmon scores at 8:35 of overtime as Syracuse eliminates Manitoba with a 3-2 win in Game 6 – Syracuse’s fourth OT victory of the series.

April 28, 2007Brian Boyle’s goal at 9:37 of the second overtime gives Manchester its first-ever series victory with a 3-2 decision in Game 6 at Worcester.

April 28, 2006Matt Ellis scores 11 seconds into the second overtime to give Grand Rapids a series-clinching 2-1 win in Game 5 at Toronto.

April 28, 1997Dennis Bonvie records a goal and an assist as Hamilton wraps up its best-of-five first-round series with a 3-1 win at Saint John in Game 5.

April 28, 1976 – Paul Woods’ goal at 2:20 of overtime gives Nova Scotia a 5-4 win over Hershey and its second Calder Cup championship in five years.

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.