AHL Morning Skate: Critical games in Portland, Syracuse

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.


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


1. Alex Goligoski netted the eventual game-winning goal in the first period as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton edged Philadelphia, 3-2, in Game 3 of the East Division finals.

2. Goaltender John Curry stopped 22 of 24 shots for the Penguins, including 15 of 17 in the third period alone.

3. Lars Jonsson assisted on both of the Phantoms’ goals in a losing effort.


Game 3 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00 (SYR leads, 2-0)

Game 5 – Providence at Portland, 7:05 (Series tied, 2-2)


Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)

A1-Providence Bruins vs. A3-Portland Pirates || Preview

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 26 – PROVIDENCE 4, Portland 0

Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 27 – PROVIDENCE 7, Portland 1

Game 3 – Fri., May 2 – PORTLAND 4, Providence 3 (OT)

Game 4 – Sun., May 4 – PORTLAND 3, Providence 2 (OT)

Game 5 – Tue., May 6 – Providence at Portland, 7:05

Game 6 – Fri., May 9 – Portland at Providence, 7:05

*Game 7 – Sat., May 10 – Portland at Providence, 7:05


East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)

E1-W-B/Scranton Penguins vs. E2-Philadelphia Phantoms || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – Philadelphia 5, W-B/SCRANTON 2

Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – W-B/SCRANTON 5, Philadelphia 4 (OT)

Game 3 – Mon., May 5 – W-B/Scranton 3, PHILADELPHIA 2 (WC)

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – W-B/Scranton at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

*Game 6 – Sat., May 10 – W-B/Scranton at Philadelphia, 7:05 (WC)

*Game 7 – Tue., May 13 – Philadelphia at W-B/Scranton, 7:05


North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)

N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Syracuse Crunch || Preview

Game 1 – Fri., May 2 – Syracuse 5, TORONTO 1

Game 2 – Sun., May 4 – Syracuse 3, TORONTO 1

Game 3 – Tue., May 6 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00

*Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30

*Game 6 – Sat., May 10 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:30

*Game 7 – Mon., May 12 – Syracuse at Toronto, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)

W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Rockford IceHogs || Preview

Game 1 – Thu., May 1 – CHICAGO 4, Rockford 1

Game 2 – Sat., May 3 – CHICAGO 7, Rockford 3

Game 3 – Sun., May 4 – ROCKFORD 3, Chicago 1

Game 4 – Wed., May 7 – Chicago at Rockford, 8:05

Game 5 – Fri., May 9 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:30

*Game 6 – Sun., May 11 – Chicago at Rockford, 5:05

*Game 7 – Tue., May 13 – Rockford at Chicago, 8:00


*if necessary… All times Eastern… (WC) – Wachovia Center

GAME NOTES (all times ET):

Game 3 – Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00 (SYR leads, 2-0)

TV: Leafs TV, Time Warner Cable

After taking the first two games of the North Division finals in Toronto over the weekend, Syracuse welcomes the Marlies to the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter tonight for Game 3… The Crunch are coming off a 3-1 victory on Sunday, a game in which goaltender Karl Goehring stopped 44 of 45 shots in the winning effort… Goehring ranks first among active postseason goaltenders with a .943 save percentage and second with a 1.72 GAA in eight games (6-2)… Zenon Konopka, Derek MacKenzie and Mark Rycroft scored in the Game 3 victory for the Crunch… MacKenzie, a 2002 Calder Cup champion with Chicago, paces the Syracuse offense with five points (2-3-5) in this series and 10 points overall (4-6-10)… The Crunch are 3-for-9 (33.3 percent) on the power play through the first two games… All three of Syracuse’s home games in the opening round vs. Manitoba were decided in overtime… The Marlies are looking to rally and become the sixth team in AHL history to win a playoff series after dropping the first two games at home… Kris Newbury leads the Marlies with six points (2-4-6) in postseason play… Bates Battaglia scored Toronto’s only goal in Game 2, his third straight contest with a point (2-1-3)… Toronto has lost six straight games to the Crunch dating back to the regular season.


Game 5 – Providence at Portland, 7:05 (Series tied, 2-2)

Providence and Portland square off a pivotal Game 5 of the Atlantic Division finals tonight at the Cumberland County Civic Center… The Bruins had rolled to a 6-0 playoff record before the Pirates won the last two contests in overtime… Simon Ferguson was the OT hero for Portland in Sunday’s 3-2 victory in Game 4… His goal was assisted by Brendan Mikkelson, who had the overtime winner in Game 3 on Friday… Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 33 saves in Game 4 to earn his sixth consecutive win in net… Overall, the Pirates are 3-0 in overtime this playoff year, and all six of their postseason wins have been by a single goal… 2008 AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan has a team-high three goals (3-1-4) in the series, the only member of the Pirates with more than one… Drew Miller (0-4-4) joins Ryan with four points through the first four matches… The regular-season champion Bruins had won 15 of their previous 17 playoff overtime games before losing Games 3 and 4… Martins Karsums leads the Providence offense in this series with four goals (4-1-5), and he is tied for the team points lead with Pascal Pelletier (2-3-5) and Matt Lashoff (0-5-5)… Petteri Nokelainen shows three goals and four points over his last three contests… The Pirates have won all four of their postseason home games this year and six in a row dating back to 2006.


The American Hockey League announced on Monday that XM Satellite Radio and XM Canada will be carrying three games from the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs this week on their all-hockey Home Ice XM 204 channel. XM, which has previously carried the 2006, 2007 and 2008 AHL All-Star Games and the 2006 and 2007 Calder Cup Finals as well as regular-season AHL action, will carry Games 3 and 4 of the East Division Finals between the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Philadelphia Phantoms, and Game 3 of the North Division Finals between the Toronto Marlies and the Syracuse Crunch.





Tom Venesky, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

In Game 2, it took the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins nine minutes to get a shot on net. In Game 3 on Monday, it took them nine minutes to get a goal, the first of three as the Penguins withstood a late rush by the Philadelphia Phantoms to earn a 3-2 victory and take a 2-1 series advantage in the AHL East Division Finals. Alain Nasreddine and Connor James scored goals 12 seconds apart in the first period as the Penguins defense stifled the Phantoms, holding them to two shots.




Reed Schreck, Rockford Register Star

Mike Haviland briskly walked into his office minutes before practice one week ago. His face was a bit redder than usual from the quickened pace. He had just taken an early flight and then bus ride from O’Hare that morning. He immediately took off his dress shirt and slipped on a comfortable gray T-shirt before donning a sweat suit. He had to get out to the MetroCentre rink. The Rockford IceHogs he coaches were holding their initial preparation for their current AHL series with the Chicago Wolves, which resumes Wednesday with his team down 2-1 in the best-of-seven AHL series. Haviland understandably was in a bit of a rush that day. Again.




Tim Cronin, Southtown Star

It is a natural playoff showdown, one expected to turn a budding rivalry white hot. Except the Wolves wouldn’t let it happen. Or maybe it was the Rockford IceHogs, the Blackhawks’ farm team in the American Hockey League, that couldn’t make it happen on Saturday night. It took until Sunday afternoon for the IceHogs to wake up and smell the brine. Only then, 20 hours removed from an embarrassing loss in the Allstate Arena, Rockford scored a 3-1 victory over the Wolves, and goaltender Corey Crawford once again looked like himself.



Michael Traikos, National Post

Dale Mitchell was driving his 1993 Chrysler Dynasty downtown Monday morning when he heard something rattling from the rear of his car. It was the muffler. “It must have popped off at a red light,” he said. “I was dragging it along for quite a while.” Lucky for Mitchell, he no longer has to worry about sinking any more money into the oft-repaired, four-door sedan. After signing a three-year, entry-level contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday that is believed to be worth $1.35 million US, the teenaged prospect can now afford to upgrade. “The Dynasty is over,” he said. “I think I’ll have to look into getting something new now.”




Darren Eliot, SI.com

The Philadelphia Flyers finished last in the NHL a year ago. Now they are competing for a berth in the Stanley Cup Final. That fact taken alone is mind-boggling, but it reveals so much more about so many people in the Flyers’ organization. This ascension isn’t mere happenstance; nor a fluke, or a one-year phenomenon. Bringing it all together is John Stevens, promoted from the Flyers’ AHL affiliate where he guided the Philadelphia Phantoms to the Calder Cup – the culmination of five seasons behind their bench. The easy proof that Stevens is the right guy for the team is their Eastern Conference Finals appearance. The deeper truth – the reason his handling of this group will resonate for a long time – is that all of the Flyers’ young players improved this season under Stevens’ guidance.




Paul Friesen, Winnipeg Sun

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure Nigel Dawes would make it in the NHL. Oh, the Winnipegger had plenty of talent and speed to burn, you could see that as he twice suited up for Canada’s world junior team, winning gold in Grand Forks in 2005. But scoring 50 goals in a junior season, as Dawes did with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice, is one thing, making it in the NHL another, entirely. Especially when you’re 5-foot-8. But there was Dawes, scoring the goal that put the New York Rangers into overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday, solidifying his place in the best hockey league in the world. And while the Rangers went down to the Pens that day, ending their season two rounds too soon, you could see that for Dawes, this thing is just beginning.



Alex Edler posted a goal and two assists as Sweden rolled to a 9-0 victory over France on Monday at the IIHF World Championships in Quebec City… 2005 AHL All-Star Mikko Koivu chipped in a pair of assists to help Finland to a 3-2 win over Norway in Halifax.


80.0 – In Calder Cup Playoff history, in best-of-seven series tied 2-2, percentage of Game 5 winners that have gone on to win the series (80 of 100).


May 6, 2006Jordin Tootoo nets a natural hat trick in Milwaukee’s 7-0 win over Houston in Game 2 of their West Division final.


May 6, 1980 – Darryl Sutter scores 6:01 into overtime, giving New Brunswick a 3-2 win over Maine in Game 6 and sending the Hawks into the Calder Cup Finals.


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