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.
Game 7 – Texas 6, CHICAGO 5 (OT) (TEX wins series, 4-3)
TUESDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Rookie Jamie Benn scored his team-leading eighth goal of the playoffs 4:57 into overtime to give Texas a 6-5 win at Chicago in Game 7 of the West Division Finals.
2. Spencer Machacek recorded two goals for the Wolves, who suffered their first loss in a winner-take-all playoff game since joining the AHL (6-1).
3. Defenseman Maxime Fortunus had a game-high three points (1-2-3) as the Stars recovered from deficits of 2-0, 4-2 and 5-4 to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 1 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3
Game 2 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Manchester 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 30 – MANCHESTER 5, Worcester 0
Game 4 – Sat., May 1 – Worcester 3, MANCHESTER 2
Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester 1, WORCESTER 0
Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – MANCHESTER 2, Worcester 1 (OT)
East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. E2-Albany River Rats
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 24 – HERSHEY 4, Albany 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 25 – HERSHEY 6, Albany 3
Game 3 – Tue., Apr. 27 – Hershey 6, ALBANY 5 (OT)
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Hershey 5, ALBANY 4 (OT)
North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. vs. N3-Abbotsford Heat
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 29 – Abbotsford 3, HAMILTON 2
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – HAMILTON 3, Abbotsford 1
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Hamilton 3, ABBOTSFORD 2
Game 4 – Thu., May 6 – ABBOTSFORD 4, Hamilton 1
Game 5 – Sat., May 8 – Hamilton 5, ABBOTSFORD 2
Game 6 – Mon., May 10 – HAMILTON 4, Abbotsford 0
West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Chicago Wolves vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 30 – Texas 4, CHICAGO 3 (OT)
Game 2 – Sun., May 2 – CHICAGO 4, Texas 3 (2OT)
Game 3 – Tue., May 4 – Chicago 5, TEXAS 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 5 – TEXAS 3, Chicago 2
Game 5 – Fri., May 7 – TEXAS 5, Chicago 3
Game 6 – Sun., May 9 – CHICAGO 2, Texas 0
Game 7 – Tue., May 11 – Texas 6, CHICAGO 5 (OT)
Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs
Game 1 – Wed., May 12 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., May 15 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Mon., May 17 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 18 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 20 – Hershey at Manchester, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 22 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sun., May 23 – Manchester at Hershey, 5:00
Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. W2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Fri., May 14 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 2 – Sun., May 16 – Texas at Hamilton, 2:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 19 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
Game 4 – Fri., May 21 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:30
*Game 5 – Sat., May 22 – Hamilton at Texas, 8:00
*Game 6 – Mon., May 24 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Wed., May 26 – Texas at Hamilton, 7:30
*if necessary… All times Eastern
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 1 – Manchester at Hershey, 7:00
After 12 days of hibernation, the Hershey Bears return to the ice tonight and host Manchester in Game 1 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Finals… Hershey, which is 8-1 overall this postseason, has been idle since finishing off a four-game division finals sweep of Albany on Apr. 29… The Bears are 5-0 at home in the playoffs and have won 10 straight and 34 of their last 35 games at Giant Center dating back to the regular season… Hershey and Manchester split their two-game regular-season series, but the teams have not met since the Bears collected a 4-1 win in New Hampshire on Nov. 7… It’s been seven months and a day since the Monarchs’ lone visit to Giant Center this season, a 2-1 victory on Oct. 11 in their fourth game of the season… Bears forward Chris Bourque totaled 4-7-11 in the second round vs. Albany and is riding a five-game scoring streak overall (4-8-12)… AHL MVP Keith Aucoin has registered a point in all nine playoff games thus far (1-12-13), and his 12 assists lead the league… Alexandre Giroux has netted a goal in three straight contests (4-2-6) and shows a point in five straight (5-4-9) and eight of nine overall (10-7-17) to lead all AHL scorers in both goals and points… Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth, last spring’s Calder Cup Playoffs MVP, has yet to suffer a loss this postseason (6-0, 2.42, .890)… This series will pit Hershey’s league-best playoff offense (4.44 goals scored per game) against Manchester’s top-ranked defense (1.50 goals allowed per game)… The key cog in the Monarchs’ defensive effort is Baz Bastien Award winner Jonathan Bernier, who has a 1.48 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage while playing all 10 postseason games for Manchester (8-2)… Bud Holloway is riding a 10-game scoring streak (6-5-11) to begin the playoffs, and he is the only Monarchs skater to enter this series with a double-digit point total… Gabe Gauthier had a point in four straight tilts (3-1-4) to close the Monarchs’ division finals ouster of Worcester… Gauthier and John Zeiler are the only Monarchs remaining from the squad which was swept by Hershey in the 2007 conference finals… The Bears return Bourque, Giroux, Andrew Joudrey and Kyle Wilson from that series… The Bears have already authored six third-period comebacks this postseason, while Manchester is 4-0 when trailing or tied after 40 minutes.
ALL-TIME CALDER CUP PLAYOFF LEADERS
1. Darren Haydar, 135
2. Willie Marshall, 119
3. Jason Krog, 118
4. Jody Gage, 110
5. Fred Glover, 104
6. Bob Solinger, 92
7(t). Alexandre Giroux, 90
1(t). Darren Haydar, 76
1(t). Jason Krog, 76
3. Willie Marshall, 71
4. Mike Nykoluk, 62
5. Domenic Pittis, 61
WIN SENDS STARS TO WESTERN FINALS – Austin American-Statesman
The motto for the Texas Stars going into Game 7 of the AHL West Division finals had to do with character. And after falling behind by two goals in the first four minutes, the Stars had to muster all of the character they could get. Rookie Jamie Benn fired a shot from the left faceoff circle past Chicago goalie Drew MacIntyre just 4 minutes, 57 seconds into overtime, giving the Stars a 6-5 win and the series. The Stars move on to the Western Conference finals against Hamilton beginning Friday.
WOLVES’ SERIES, SEASON OVER IN OVERTIME AGAINST STARS – Chicago Sun-Times
Few teams can blow two-goal leads twice, get outshot 44-27 in regulation and 9-2 in overtime and expect to win — even on home ice. That’s why the Wolves lost 6-5 in OT to the Texas Stars on Tuesday night at Allstate Arena. “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit,” Wolves coach Don Lever said. “In the third period, they just came at us [outshooting the Wolves 15-4], and we couldn’t get any momentum back.”
WOLVES LOSE GAME 7; CHELIOS LIKELY DONE – Chicago Tribune
His career appears to be ending where it started for Chris Chelios – in Chicago. But it’s ending on an inglorious note in a Game 7 loss. Chelios turned the puck over to Jamie Benn, who ripped the game-winning goal past Drew MacIntyre to lift the Texas Stars to an overtime 6-5 victory Tuesday in the AHL playoffs’ West Division final at Allstate Arena. When the game ended, Chelios said his 27-year career is probably over.
WOLVES’ SEASON ENDS WITH HEARTBREAKING DEFEAT – Daily Herald
The Chicago Wolves didn’t trail for a single second Tuesday night – until the stunning end. Texas forward Jamie Benn scored 4:57 into overtime, propelling the Stars to a 6-5 victory in the seventh game of the West Division finals at the Allstate Arena. The Stars advanced to face the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Western Conference finals.
HERSHEY BEARS EYE MANCHESTER MONARCHS – Harrisburg Patriot-News
It shapes up as an elemental collision when the Hershey Bears meet the Manchester Monarchs in the Eastern Conference finals. Hershey, continuing its regular-season offensive fireworks, is averaging the most goals per game in the Calder Cup playoffs (4.44). Manchester, which allowed the second-fewest goals (200) in the Eastern Conference in the regular season (Hershey was No. 1 at 198), is allowing a league-low 1.50 during the postseason.
BERNIER, NEUVIRTH FACE OFF IN EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS – Harrisburg Patriot-News
By virtue of the fact that he was named the AHL’s outstanding goalie during the regular season, an Eastern Conference finals spotlight will be on Jonathan Bernier of the Manchester Monarchs. Oh, by the way, the guy between the pipes for the Hershey Bears is Michal Neuvirth, who is simply the reigning Calder Cup playoff MVP.
NEXT UP, THE DEFENDING CHAMPIONS – New Hampshire Union Leader
Some reward this is. The Manchester Monarchs’ “prize” for reaching the Eastern Conference finals is a date with defending champion Hershey, which finished the regular season with the best record in the AHL and has been resting for 12 days. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals is tonight in Hershey as the Bears host the Monarchs.
CARLSON LOOKING FOR A HAT TRICK OF CHAMPIONSHIPS – NHL.com
After more than a week of waiting to learn their next opponent, the Hershey Bears finally hit the ice last Saturday to prepare to take on the Manchester Monarchs in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference Finals. It will have been 12 full days off between rounds when rookie defenseman John Carlson and his Bears teammates host Game 1 Wednesday. If anyone deserved a little time to kick back and regroup, it was Carlson.
HABS HOLD DOGS’ FUTURE – Hamilton Spectator
When the Montreal Canadiens meet the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight, there may not be many of the Hamilton Bulldogs signing Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole. The Habs are the team that all the Dogs players want to get to. And, of course publicly, they’re going to say all the right things about wanting the bleu, blanc et rouge to keep winning. But the Dogs have advanced to the AHL’s Calder Cup semi-finals and there’s no doubt they could sure use the three players eligible to return if and when Montreal is eliminated.
SHARKS’ COUTURE LIVING A PLAYOFF DREAM – Ottawa Citizen
Logan Couture is pinching himself these days, making sure his dream of chasing hockey’s most famous trophy is actually happening. The San Jose Sharks forward is only eight wins away from being part of a Stanley Cup championship team in his first National Hockey League playoff experience. While Couture played a significant role in helping eliminate the Detroit Red Wings, he has, at times, still found himself in awe of his situation.
MARCH TO THE STANLEY CUP GOT ITS START IN PROVIDENCE – Providence Journal
Do you wonder why NHL clubs put great stock in their player development effort? Just take a look at the Boston Bruins’ playoff roster. It’s full of guys who wore the “Spoked P” before pulling on the “B.” No fewer than 10 Bruins who have dressed at least once in this year’s playoffs are Providence Bruins alums. If the Bruins are in fact on the road to the Stanley Cup, the wheels for many of them were greased at The Dunk.
BLUM ADDS WEIGHT FOR PREDATORS – The Tennessean
To get the skinny on Jonathon Blum, you have to ask about his weight. He’s only 21, but the Predators prospect has answered the questions countless times. Is he too skinny to play in the NHL? Can his frame hold the desired weight? “Obviously, I’ve worked at it,” Blum said. “It’s hard to fight genetics but it’s slowly coming around.”
In Tuesday’s lone Stanley Cup Playoff action, 2007 AHL All-Stars Dustin Byfuglien (1-1-2) and Troy Brouwer (1-0-1) helped Chicago eliminate Vancouver with a 5-1 win in Game 6, sending the Blackhawks to their second straight Western Conference Finals… Antti Niemi stopped 29 of 30 shots in net for Chicago.
Carl Gunnarsson, who appeared in 12 AHL games for Toronto in 2009-10, scored a goal as Sweden captured a 3-2 win over France on Tuesday at the IIHF World Championships in Germany… Alexander Semin tallied a goal and two assists to lead Russia to a 4-1 win over Kazakhstan… Marek Zagrapan and Ivan Ciernik each scored goals in Slovakia’s 4-2 triumph over Belarus… Patrick Thoresen chipped in a pair of assists as Norway edged the Czech Republic by a 3-2 count.
BY THE NUMBERS:
829 – Career Calder Cup Playoff games played combined by members of the Hershey Bears, led by Bryan Helmer’s AHL-record 126 contests.
276 – Career Calder Cup Playoff games played combined by members of the Manchester Monarchs combined, led by John Zeiler’s 30 contests.
17 – Days off for the St. John’s Maple Leafs during the 1992 postseason, the longest break between Calder Cup Playoff rounds ever.
ON THIS DATE:
May 12, 2009 – Michal Neuvirth becomes the first goaltender in AHL history to record shutouts in Games 6 and 7 of a series, leading Hershey to the conference finals with a 3-0 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
May 12, 2004 – Kari Lehtonen stops 43 of 44 shots as Chicago avoids elimination with a 2-1 win at Milwaukee in Game 5 of the West Division final.
May 12, 1984 – Bud Stefanski scores his second overtime goal of the series as the Maine Mariners take a 3-2 victory and a 3-1 series lead over Rochester in the Calder Cup Finals.
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2010 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your computer all season 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.