AHL Morning Skate: May 29, 2024

A1-Hershey Bears vs. N1-Cleveland Monsters
Game 1 – Thursday, 7:00 ET,

Game 1 – Thu., May 30 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., June 1 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Tue., June 4 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
Game 4 – Thu., June 6 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 8 – Hershey at Cleveland, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 10 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 12 – Cleveland at Hershey, 7:00
*if necessary... All times Eastern

P1-Coachella Valley Firebirds vs. C1-Milwaukee Admirals
Game 1 – Tonight, 10:00 ET,

Game 1 – Wed., May 29 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 2 – Fri., May 31 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
Game 3 – Tue., June 4 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 8:00
Game 4 – Thu., June 6 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 8:00
*Game 5 – Sat., June 8 – Coachella Valley at Milwaukee, 7:00
*Game 6 – Mon., June 10 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., June 12 – Milwaukee at Coachella Valley, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The Coachella Valley Firebirds and Milwaukee Admirals open the Western Conference Finals at Acrisure Arena tonight with Game 1 of the best-of-seven series... These clubs have never met in the regular season, but the Firebirds defeated the Admirals in six games last spring to advance to the Calder Cup Finals... This is the first rematch in a league semifinal series since the Hershey Bears and Adirondack Red Wings squared off in 1988 and 1989... The Firebirds have won six straight games since a 4-1 loss in their playoff opener at Calgary on May 3, and are coming off a three-game sweep of Ontario in the division finals... Every one of the 19 skaters to appear in a game for Coachella Valley this postseason has recorded at least one point, with Max McCormick (4-2-6), Devin Shore (4-2-6) and Andrew Poturalski (1-5-6) leading the way with six points each in seven contests... Chris Driedger (6-1, 2.39, .921) has gone the distance in net for the Firebirds this postseason... Milwaukee needed five games to dispatch both Texas and Grand Rapids, eliminating the Griffins with a 2-0 win on Sunday evening... After Yaroslav Askarov (2-3, 3.25, .882) left Game 4 injured late in the third period, Troy Grosenick (4-1, 2.00, .924) got the start in the decisive Game 5 and made 30 saves for the first playoff shutout by an Admirals goaltender since 2013 (Magnus Hellberg)... Rookie Zach L’Heureux (8-5-13), whose shorthanded goal proved to be the game-winner for Milwaukee on Sunday, leads the league in playoff goals and points... Egor Afanasyev (5-4-9) registered 5-2-7 over the last four games of the Grand Rapids series for the Admirals... The Firebirds won all three of their home games against Milwaukee in last year’s conference finals.

It was a happy dressing room at Acrisure Arena after head coach Dan Bylsma was promoted to that same role with the Seattle Kraken yesterday.

“It’s everybody’s goal to get to the NHL,” forward Andrew Poturalski told KESQ’s Blake Arthur. “Coaches are no different. He prepares us probably the best I’ve ever been prepared in my career. The time and effort he puts in doesn’t go unnoticed. We love playing for him. It’s been a lot of fun here.”

Under Bylsma, Coachella Valley became just the second team in AHL history to top 100 points in the standings in each of its first two seasons of play, and has won six of seven playoff series heading into the conference finals against Milwaukee.

“What we’ve built in Coachella Valley with the community, the fans and the team is a large part of me being here today,” Bylsma said during his introductory press conference in Seattle.

After a pair of emotional Calder Cup Playoff series that both went the distance, the Milwaukee Admirals have to move on quickly.

The Admirals completed their Central Division Finals against Grand Rapids with a 2-0 win at home on Sunday, then flew to California the next day to prepare for tonight’s Game 1.

The teams battled for the best record in the Western Conference for much of the second half of the regular season. The Firebirds finished with 103 points to the Admirals’ 97.

“We all know their firepower, how they play, how they attack,” head coach Karl Taylor said. “We all know how challenging this building can be with the energy in it, so we’re prepared for that better than we were last year. But we also have new players on our team. They will have their hands full getting through that.”

However, Taylor is wary of overwhelming his players with too much information on an opponent that they have not yet seen.

“You never want to talk too much or over-coach a situation, but you want to make people aware of what happened previously and learn from it. Sometimes you have to just live it, and so that’s kind of how we’re approaching this.

“We want them to get into the game, get into the hunt, get into the feel, and really focus on how we want to play regardless of the opponent or the arena we’re in.”

― with files from Patrick Williams

In Tuesday’s Stanley Cup Playoff action, Sam Reinhart scored a power-play goal 1:12 into overtime to give Florida a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final... 2018-19 AHL scoring champion Carter Verhaeghe scored his ninth goal of the postseason for the Panthers... Vincent Trocheck netted a goal for New York, and Igor Shesterkin made 37 saves.

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