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 1 – Binghamton 7, CHARLOTTE 4 (BNG leads series, 1-0)
THURSDAY’S THREE STARS:
1. Forward Kaspars Daugavins continued his offensive outburst with a goal and two assists as Binghamton opened the Eastern Conference Finals with a 7-4 victory in Charlotte.
2. Rookie forward Bobby Butler netted his eighth goal of the playoffs in the winning effort.
3. Riley Nash paced the Checkers’ offense with a goal and two helpers in the loss. .
TONIGHT’S SCHEDULE (all times ET):
Game 2 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05 (BNG leads series, 1-0)
Game 1 – Hamilton at Houston, 8:35
Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
E3-Charlotte Checkers vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Thu., May 12 – Binghamton 7, CHARLOTTE 4
Game 2 – Fri., May 13 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Charlotte at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – Charlotte at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., May 21 – Charlotte at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Mon., May 23 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05
Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
W2-Houston Aeros vs. N1-Hamilton Bulldogs
Game 1 – Fri., May 13 – Hamilton at Houston, 8:35
Game 2 – Sun., May 15 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05
Game 3 – Tue., May 17 – Houston at Hamilton, 7:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 18 – Houston at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 20 – Houston at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 22 – Hamilton at Houston, 5:05
*Game 7 – Tue., May 24 – Hamilton at Houston, 8:05
*if necessary… All times Eastern
GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 2 – Binghamton at Charlotte, 7:05 (BNG leads series, 1-0)
TV: Time Warner Cable 520 (Carolinas), Time Warner Cable Sports 23 (Central NY)
Satellite Radio: NHL Home Ice (Sirius 207, XM 92)
Twenty-four hours after their wild series opener, Binghamton and Charlotte get back on the Time Warner Cable Arena ice tonight for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals… The Senators set a 2011 AHL postseason high by scoring seven goals – including four in the first period – en route to a 7-4 victory last night, marking their seventh straight road win after beginning the playoffs with a 2-1 loss at Manchester on Apr. 14… Binghamton’s outburst came against a Checkers club which had surrendered only nine non-empty-net goals in its entire six-game triumph over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the division finals… Kaspars Daugavins posted a goal and two assists on Thursday and continues to be Binghamton’s hottest offensive threat, with 7-4-11 in his last six games after producing just two goals in his first eight playoff outings… Erik Condra and Andre Benoit also had a goal and two assists in the Game 1 victory… Condra’s goal was his first since he scored twice in Game 7 at Manchester on Apr. 23, while Benoit registered his second three-point effort of the playoffs… Bobby Butler tallied his eighth goal of the postseason (8-2-10), tops among AHL rookies… Ryan Potulny potted his league-leading 11th goal for Binghamton and became the first AHL skater to reach 20 points in these playoffs… AHL MVP Corey Locke notched a goal and an assist and Roman Wick ended a 10-game dry spell with a goal… Locke, who missed the first round due to injury, netted his first playoff goal after contributing six assists in Binghamton’s second-round win over Portland… Robin Lehner surrendered three first-period goals on 12 shots and was lifted in favor of Barry Brust for the second time in the last three games; Brust (2-3) stopped 27 of 28 shots in relief to garner his first win since Game 2 vs. Manchester on Apr. 15… Former first-round draft pick Riley Nash led Charlotte with a goal and two assists after the rookie had totaled only one helper in his previous 12 playoff games this spring… AHL All-Rookie forward Zac Dalpe scored for a second straight game and took over a share of the AHL rookie points lead (6-7-13 in 13 GP)… Checkers forward Oskar Osala snapped a seven-game goal-scoring drought, and Brad Herauf posted his first career AHL playoff goal… Charlotte starting goaltender Mike Murphy allowed five goals on 15 shots (.667) after allowing five goals on 139 shots (.964) over the final four games of the Wilkes-Barre series… This marked Charlotte’s first Game 1 loss of the postseason after opening up with road wins in both Hershey and Wilkes-Barre… There were more goals scored in the first 2:42 of Game 1 (three) than were scored in the first periods combined of all six games of the Checkers-Penguins series last round (two)… The Senators have now scored at least four goals in a game seven times this postseason, and they have allowed at least four goals on six occasions.
Game 1 – Hamilton at Houston, 8:35
Fresh off Game 7 triumphs in their respective second-round series, Houston and Hamilton kick off the Western Conference Finals tonight at the Toyota Center… The Bulldogs topped Manitoba in a triple-overtime deciding game on Monday, while the Aeros improved to 5-0 lifetime in Game 7’s with a 4-2 win at Milwaukee on Tuesday… This marks just the fourth time in AHL history that a playoff series features two teams coming off Game 7 wins… These teams’ only prior playoff meeting came in the 2003 Calder Cup Finals, when the Aeros prevailed in a seven-game classic for their lone AHL title… Houston is looking to get back to the Finals for the first time since that year, while Hamilton, in round three for the second straight spring, bids for its fourth Finals appearance in 15 seasons and first since winning it all in 2007… Bulldogs goaltender Drew MacIntyre, who leads the AHL in goals-against average (1.63) and ranks second in save percentage (.939) this postseason, stopped 84 of 87 shots (.966) over the final three games of the division finals and shut out Manitoba over the final 89:57 of Game 7… MacIntyre and Houston rookie Matt Hackett (8-3, 2.29, .896) are the only two goaltenders among the four conference finalists to have collected all eight of their teams victories thus far… Bulldogs forward Nigel Dawes shows a team-high nine goals and 14 points and has collected 37 points (20-17-37) in 33 career Calder Cup Playoff games for Hamilton and Hartford… Dawes netted Hamilton’s lone regulation goal in the Game 7 win over Manitoba, and Dustin Boyd scored his first playoff goal six seconds into the third overtime to clinch the series… Besides Dawes, Aaron Palushaj is the only other Hamilton skater with double-digit points this postseason (4-8-12), but he was limited to just three points (1-2-3) in the final six games of the Moose series… Bulldogs rookie Gabriel Dumont put together a four-game scoring streak (4-1-5) in the middle of the last round but closed it with back-to-back scoreless performances… Houston has won four of five games at the Toyota Center this postseason, and three of the four victories have come in overtime… Rookie forward Casey Wellman snapped a seven-game goal-scoring drought by nabbing the game-winner with 1:21 left in the third period of Game 7 at Milwaukee; Wellman put up 35 points (14-21-35) in 42 regular-season games for the Aeros… Former AHL rookie of the year Patrick O’Sullivan is Houston’s leading scorer with 10 points (4-6-10) in 11 games, and former first-round draft pick Colton Gillies boasts a team-high six goals after producing a total of 11 goals (11-15-26) in 64 regular-season contests… First Team AHL All-Star defenseman Maxim Noreau is among the AHL rearguard scoring leaders with eight points (1-7-8), and five of his seven assists have come on the power play… These teams split a pair of regular-season meetings back in December, with each side winning on the other’s home ice.
NHL HOME ICE TO CARRY AHL ACTION – TheAHL.com
The American Hockey League announced that action from the Calder Cup Playoffs will once again be heard live on the all-hockey NHL Home Ice channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. NHL Home Ice will carry Friday night’s Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Charlotte Checkers (top development team of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes) and the Binghamton Senators (Ottawa Senators) live at 7 p.m. ET.
B-SENS’ EARLY SALVO SINKS CHECKERS IN GAME 1 – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals did not go the way anyone had planned. Three goals in the opening three minutes set the stage for a back-and-forth, penalty-laced offensive display that the Binghamton Senators were glad to escape with a 7-4 victory over the Charlotte Checkers. “We weren’t very good,” B-Sens coach Kurt Kleinendorst said. “Our guys know. We won a hockey game, but we didn’t play great. And I give them credit for that. Good teams find a way to win when they’re not playing at their best. That’s what we did tonight.”
BRUST STABILIZES RUNAWAY GOAL SPREE – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
Any time a final score reads 7-4, it’s safe to assume the night was not good for goalies. The Binghamton Senators’ 7-4 victory over the Charlotte Checkers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals was no exception. After leading their teams through the first two rounds of the playoffs, Robin Lehner and Mike Murphy were both pulled from Thursday’s game. Watching a seven-goal first period from the sidelines, Barry Brust was not looking forward to the idea of taking over in net.
CHECKERS OFF BALANCE – Charlotte Observer
In a game that started with three goals in the first three minutes, the Charlotte Checkers and Binghamton Senators were going to have plenty of chances to turn a high-scoring Game 1 of their AHL Eastern Conference finals series in their favor. The Senators struck last, breaking open a close game with two third-period goals 25 seconds apart to take a 7-4 victory at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday night.
MUCKING SERIES EXPECTED – Hamilton Spectator
The weather in south Texas has been in the mid-80s and humid for days. The building was already warm before a crowd of several thousand adds to the heat Friday night. During practice, pucks were bouncing all over the place and weren’t sliding well. More incredibly, the area in and around the crease was still wet an hour after the Zamboni left and never dried throughout the practice. Barring a miracle freeze, fancy passing plays aren’t going to work too well here. The team that grinds better will likely have the upper hand.
MACINTYRE LEADS BY EXAMPLE AS HAMILTON PREPARES FOR HOUSTON – Canadian Press
Hamilton’s Drew MacIntyre leaves nothing to chance. After playing 100 minutes and six seconds in an overtime marathon Monday night, the Bulldogs goalie was on the ice for an optional skate Wednesday. “That kind of a drive will take him far,” Hamilton head coach Randy Cunneyworth said. “(MacIntyre’s) really been a guy with a mission here.” The 27-year-old from Charlottetown, P.E.I., kept the ‘Dogs in it long enough for a 2-1 triple-overtime win – the longest Game 7 in AHL history – and a place in the Western Conference final against the Houston Aeros.
AEROS REWARD FAN BASE FOR LOYALTY – Houston Chronicle
John Shaw was born in Montreal, but he lives in Houston now, and his passion for hockey remains intact. Tonight, he has decent tickets for the Astros, but there’s also the matter of the American Hockey League playoffs at Toyota Center – it’s Game 1 of the Western Conference finals between the Aeros and the Hamilton Bulldogs. Tough choice? Not quite. Shaw spent Thursday morning attempting to reach the baseball franchise’s box office in hopes of switching, trading or simply unloading the tickets.
AEROS HAPPY TO OPEN AT HOME – Houston Chronicle
Four teams remain in the Calder Cup playoffs, the Aeros one of them. And because of two fairly significant upsets on the Eastern Conference side of the bracket, the Aeros are the top-seeded team left in the tournament. In the AHL’s final four for the second time in three years, the Aeros will open the best-of-seven Western Conference finals against the Hamilton Bulldogs tonight at Toyota Center.
PASSION FOR HOCKEY RETURNS FOR RYPIEN – Winnipeg Sun
Rick Rypien is confident he’s left rock bottom behind for good. The feisty forward took some time away from the sport he loves this season before getting his life back in order and finding his game once again with the Manitoba Moose, the organization that gave him his start back in the spring of 2005. Rypien wouldn’t divulge what personal issues he was dealing with or where he spent his time away from the game, but it’s clear he’s in a much better place and his passion for hockey has returned.
AROUND THE AHL: THE FINAL FOUR – TheHockeyNews.com
Most years, the Calder Cup playoffs are anything but predictable and this spring ranks among the most topsy-turvy post-seasons in the circuit’s 75-year history. The top four clubs in the regular season – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Portland, Milwaukee and Hershey – are finished until next October and a healthy dose of new blood has livened up the final push to the Calder Cup.
FROM CALDER TO STANLEY:
On Thursday night, Devin Setoguchi posted a goal and an assist and 2010 AHL All-Rookie forward Logan Couture notched his sixth goal of the playoffs as San Jose captured a 3-1 win over Detroit in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinal… Former AHL All-Star Dan Boyle chipped in two assists for the Sharks, and goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 38 of 40 shots in net.
BY THE NUMBERS:
4 – Former AHL head coaches who have led their team to the conference finals of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs… Boston’s Claude Julien and Tampa Bay’s Guy Boucher are former AHL coaches of the year, San Jose’s Todd McLellan directed Houston to the 2003 Calder Cup title, and Vancouver’s Alain Vigneault guided Manitoba during the 2005-06 season and won the Calder Cup as a player with the 1984 Maine Mariners.
ON THIS DATE:
May 13, 2009 – Brad Marchand (1g, 1a) and Tuukka Rask (34 saves) help Providence advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 5-1 win at Worcester in Game 6… Corey Locke scores twice and Clayton Stoner nets the game-winner as Houston downs host Milwaukee, 5-2, in Game 7 of the West Division Finals.
May 13, 2008 – Ondrej Pavelec makes 38 saves in Chicago’s 4-1 win over Rockford in Game 7 of the West Division finals.
May 13, 2005 – Jeff Carter scores two of Philadelphia’s six goals in the final 11:23 of the game, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 7-4 victory and eliminating Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Game 5 of their division final series.
May 13, 1995 – Steve Sullivan nets a goal and an assist as Albany advances to the Calder Cup Finals with a 6-3 win over Providence.
May 13, 1990 – Dave Pasin’s overtime goal gives the Springfield Indians a 2-1 win at Rochester and a 3-2 series lead in the Calder Cup Finals.
Don’t miss a step on the road to the 2011 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.