AHL Morning Skate: May 3

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 4 – BINGHAMTON 6, Portland 1 (BNG leads series, 3-1)
Game 3 – CHARLOTTE 2, W-B/Scranton 1 (OT) (CHA leads series, 2-1)

1. Kaspars Daugavins kept the hot hand with two goals and an assist as Binghamton took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 6-1 victory over Portland.

2. Brett Sutter buried his third goal of the playoffs at 5:40 of overtime to give Charlotte a 2-1 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and a 2-1 series lead in the East Division Finals.

3. Checkers goaltender Mike Murphy backstopped his club to the victory with 26 stops on 27 shots in net.

Game 5 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05 (BNG leads series, 3-1)
Game 3 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05 (Series tied, 1-1)
Game 3 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30 (HAM leads series, 2-0)


Playoff Bracket || Scoring Leaders || Goaltending Leaders

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 27 – Binghamton 3, PORTLAND 2
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Binghamton 5, PORTLAND 3
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Portland 3, BINGHAMTON 2
Game 4 – Mon., May 2 – BINGHAMTON 6, Portland 1
Game 5 – Tue., May 3 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 6 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sat., May 7 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00

East Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
E1-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. E3-Charlotte Checkers
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Charlotte 3, W-B/SCRANTON 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 30 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Charlotte 0
Game 3 – Mon., May 2 – CHARLOTTE 2, W-B/Scranton 1 (OT)
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – W-B/Scranton at Charlotte, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 7 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Charlotte at W-B/Scranton, 7:05

North Division Finals – Series “K” (best-of-7)
N1-Hamilton Bulldogs vs. N3-Manitoba Moose

Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 28 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – HAMILTON 4, Manitoba 2
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
Game 4 – Wed., May 4 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30
*Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30
*Game 7 – Mon., May 9 – Manitoba at Hamilton, 7:30

West Division Finals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
W1-Milwaukee Admirals vs. W2-Houston Aeros
Game 1 – Fri., Apr. 29 – MILWAUKEE 3, Houston 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 1 – Houston 2, MILWAUKEE 0
Game 3 – Tue., May 3 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 4 – Thu., May 5 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05
Game 5 – Fri., May 6 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:35
*Game 6 – Sun., May 8 – Houston at Milwaukee, 6:00
*Game 7 – Tue., May 10 – Houston at Milwaukee, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern

GAME NOTES (all times ET):
Game 5 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05 (BNG leads series, 3-1)
Holding a 3-1 series lead in the Atlantic Division Finals, Binghamton can continue its impressive postseason run and become the first AHL club to reach the conference finals tonight with another home-ice win over Portland… The Senators have won six of seven games since falling into a 3-1 hole in their division semifinals match-up against Manchester, and Binghamton is now on the precipice of its first trip to the conference finals since 2003… The B-Sens are bidding to become the first team to reach the AHL’s final four after finishing in fifth place in its division during the regular season since Hershey accomplished that feat in 2001… After the first three games of this series were decided by either a one- or two-goal margin, the Senators erupted for a 6-1 triumph in last night’s Game 4… Kaspars Daugavins led the way with two goals and an assist for Binghamton, giving the former third-round draft pick five goals and six points in his last three games after totaling three points (2-1-3) in his first eight playoff outings… Daugavins’ seven goals overall (7-2-9) now rank second on the club behind overall AHL leading scorer Ryan Potulny (10-9-19), who also scored twice in Game 4 and boasts a five-game points streak (3-7-10)… B-Sens captain Ryan Keller posted a goal and an assist in the winning effort and has now lit the lamp in four of his last five contests, putting up nine points in that span (5-4-9)… Rookie forward Mike Hoffman rounded out Binghamton’s offense with his first career postseason goal… AHL MVP Corey Locke chipped in three assists and shows five helpers in four games this round since returning to the Senators’ lineup after missing the first round due to injury… Zack Smith is riding a four-game scoring streak (2-4-6) for the Senators, while Erik Condra has an assist in three straight outings (0-3-3)… Robin Lehner (6-1, 2.48, .927) bounded back from his first postseason loss to stop 22 of 23 shots in Game 4… AHL rookie of the year Luke Adam netted Portland’s lone goal, his first tally since scoring in Game 5 of the Pirates’ opening-round series against Connecticut… Adam does have a point in three straight games (1-2-3) and five of his last six (2-3-5)… Portland starting goaltender David Leggio allowed four goals on 16 shots before being relieved by Jhonas Enroth, who let in two goals on 19 shots… Pirates rookie Corey Tropp, who had seven points (2-5-7) in the division finals, has yet to record a point in this series… Binghamton, which went 3-for-6 on the man advantage Monday, holds the top-ranked power play among teams left in the playoffs (12-for-52; 23.1 percent), while Portland is last in penalty killing (71.4 percent)… A Binghamton AHL club has not clinched a series on home ice since the B-Rangers defeated Rochester in the first round of the 1995 postseason.

Game 3 – Milwaukee at Houston, 8:05 (Series tied, 1-1)
The West Division Finals shift to the Toyota Center in Houston tonight as the Aeros welcome Milwaukee to town for Game 3 after splitting the first two contests in Wisconsin… Tonight marks Houston’s first home game since a 3-2 overtime win over Peoria on Apr. 15; in between, the Aeros completed a four-game sweep of the Rivermen on the road, had nine days off between rounds, and opened the division finals at Milwaukee… Patrick O’Sullivan (2-3-5) and Jed Ortmeyer (1-4-5) are pacing Houston in playoff scoring thus far, while former first-round draft pick Colton Gillies has a team-high four goals (4-0-4)… Gillies has tallied a goal in each of the first two games of this series after scoring a pair in the division semifinals vs. Peoria… Gillies’ third-period goal in Game 2 on Sunday provided insurance in what turned out to be a 2-0 win for the Aeros… Warren Peters netted Houston’s other goal, and rookie goaltender Matt Hackett (5-1, 1.63, .925) made 21 saves for his first career playoff shutout… Hackett’s 1.63 goals-against average is tops among AHL postseason goaltenders… Sunday marked the first time in six tries during these playoffs that Houston scored the game’s first goal, that coming off the stick of Peters during a second-period power play… It marked Peters’ first marker since the Aeros’ playoff opener on Apr. 13… As a team, Houston has totaled only five goals in its last three games after racking up 12 tallies in its first three postseason contests… Admirals forwards Ryan Thang (2-3-5) and Mark Van Guilder (2-2-4) each saw four-game scoring streaks come to an end in Game 2… Rookie forward Gabriel Bourque continues to lead the Admirals with five goals and 10 points this postseason, while Thang is a league-best plus-10 through eight contests… Chris Mueller put up 3-5-8 during Milwaukee’s first-round triumph over Texas but is scoreless through the first two games of this series… The Admirals have outscored opponents 8-2 in the first period during the playoffs but have been outscored 13-9 in the second and third periods combined.

Game 3 – Hamilton at Manitoba, 8:30 (HAM leads series, 2-0)
Trailing 2-0 in the North Division Finals, Manitoba returns to the MTS Centre tonight hoping home-ice advantage will help it get on the board vs. Hamilton… The Moose were outscored 8-3 in dropping the first two games of this series on the road, which came immediately after they went into Cleveland and outscored Lake Erie 7-2 to win Games 6 and 7 of their division semifinal series… Hamilton went 1-2 on the road during its first-round ouster of Oklahoma City, but the Bulldogs carry an overall four-game winning streak into tonight’s tilt… Rookie forward Gabriel Dumont was the hero of Game 2 on Sunday, as the 20-year-old tallied a pair of goals after going his first seven playoff contests this year without scoring… Dumont had two goals in last spring’s Calder Cup Playoff games after joining the Bulldogs following the conclusion of his junior season with Drummondville (QMJHL)… Leading scorer Nigel Dawes (6-4-10) is riding a five-game points streak (4-3-7) for the Bulldogs, and Ryan Russell has netted a goal in the first two games of this series… Bulldogs defenseman Mathieu Carle has put together a three-game scoring run (1-2-3), while Aaron Palushaj’s three-game streak (2-5-7) came to an end on Sunday… Among AHL goaltenders, Hamilton’s Drew MacIntyre ranks first in save percentage (.943) and second in goals-against average (1.64) through his first eight appearances (6-2)… MacIntyre has turned aside 87 of 91 shots (.956) during his current four-game winning streak and has allowed more than two goals just once in his eight postseason outings… Rookie defenseman Chris Tanev, who split the regular season between Manitoba and parent-club Vancouver, tallied his first AHL postseason goal and added an assist for the Moose in the Game 2 loss… Kevin Clark also scored for Manitoba, which went 0-for-5 on the power play and is just 2-for-40 (5.0 percent) through its first nine playoff contests… The Moose’s regular season power play ranked 26th out of 30 teams at 14.7 percent… Manitoba’s top three scorers – Marco Rosa (4-8-12), Sergei Shirokov (5-2-7) and Jason Jaffray (2-4-6) – combined for 25 points in the division semifinals vs. Lake Erie, but that entire trio has been held without a point through the first two games of this series… The Moose also fell into a 2-0 series hole to Hamilton last year, that time in the first round, but responded with a 7-2 win in Game 3 at home… Manitoba has trailed a best-of-seven Calder Cup playoff series 0-2 four times previously and rallied to win once, a six-game decision over Syracuse in 2006… Hamilton has been up 2-0 in a best-of-seven series on seven previous occasions; the Bulldogs are 2-5 in the following Game 3’s, but have gone on to prevail in the series all but once.


SENATORS SHELL PIRATES, TAKE 3-1 SERIES LEAD – Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
The Binghamton Senators bounced back from Saturday’s heartbreaking last-minute loss in dramatic fashion, defeating the Portland Pirates 6-1 in Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Finals Monday to take a 3-1 series lead. The B-Sens host Game 5 Tuesday with the opportunity to wrap up a playoff series at home for the first time in franchise history.

PIRATES LEFT TEETERING – Portland Press Herald
The Binghamton Senators got on an early roll Monday night, and the Portland Pirates couldn’t do much about it. Kaspars Daugavins and Ryan Potulny each scored two goals to lead the Senators to a 6-1 win in the AHL Atlantic Division championship series at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena. The Senators now hold a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and can wrap up the series with a win at home tonight.

SENATORS SPREAD WEALTH – Portland Press Herald
One productive line can put three teammates near the top of a scoring race. The Binghamton Senators take a different approach. Three scoring leaders on three different lines was a combination the Portland Pirates could not answer Monday night when the Senators rolled to a 6-1 victory and a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Calder Cup second-round series.

Rebounding from a shutout loss on Saturday, the Charlotte Checkers took the lead in their playoff series against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Penguins on Monday at Time Warner Cable Arena. The win was crucial for the Checkers in their quest to win the American Hockey League East Division finals because they have two more home games, Game 4 on Wednesday and Game 5 on Friday, in the best-of-seven-series.

PENS DROP GAME 3 – Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins played solid for two periods during their Game 3 East Division finals matchup against the Charlotte Checkers. But playing well for 40 minutes isn’t good enough when it comes to the postseason, as the Penguins allowed the Checkers to score a game-tying goal in the second period that eventually led to overtime. And that led to a game-winning goal from Brett Sutter at 5:40 of overtime as the Penguins fell 2-1.

The hard-shooting, high-scoring Charlotte Checkers typically intimidate even the most gifted goaltenders with their explosive offensive prowess. They only made Brad Thiessen better. He looked real good in the regular season, setting the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton franchise record with 35 victories. But Thiessen appeared pretty beatable when playoffs began, surrendering the winning goal in two tight games against Norfolk. Then Charlotte came to town.

END OF THE ROAD (STREAK) – Citizens’ Voice
Through their first eight games of the playoffs, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins hadn’t lost on the road and hadn’t lost a game where they scored first. Monday night, both those trends came crashing down at once. Brett Sutter scored on a bad-angle shot from the goal line 5:40 into overtime, giving the Charlotte Checkers a 2-1 win in Game 3 of the East Division finals.

Monday’s Game 3 of the East Division finals was just the fourth Calder Cup playoff game ever played in Charlotte, but the city has a professional hockey history that dates back 55 years. The story of how the sport came to town in 1956 is an interesting one. The arena that housed the Eastern Hockey League’s Baltimore Clippers burned to the ground. Looking for a temporary home, the Clippers chose Charlotte’s brand-new Coliseum.

MOOSE CAN’T GO DOWN 3-0 – Winnipeg Sun
What will the search for answers bring? In the aftermath of Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs that put the Manitoba Moose in a 2-0 hole in the best-of-7 North Division final, there is no easy solution – other than the obvious, which is to play better. One thing the Moose know for sure is they can’t afford to lose Game 3, scheduled for Tuesday night at the MTS Centre. “You can’t go down 3-0 against any team, especially not a team as good as Hamilton,” Moose forward Jason Jaffray. “It’s definitely, definitely a must-win.”

MOOSE NEED A SPARK – Winnipeg Free Press
As usual, selective memory will be the key for the team that’s trailing a playoff series when it changes locations. The Manitoba Moose will try not to dwell on the past five days against the Hamilton Bulldogs but will rather pay more attention to other things from their past that will, they hope, turn the tide of the series that continues tonight at the MTS Centre. The Bulldogs, based on the strength of two home wins, lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

Ryan Ellis is the newest Milwaukee Admiral, and he also happens to be the second-youngest and third-smallest player on the team. The 20-year-old Ellis is a 5-foot-10, 173-pound defenseman and is used to questions about his size. “It’s been asked a lot,” said Ellis. “I think more and more defensemen are coming up, even players in general, with similar size. I think it’s becoming more common and I’m just another one of them.” Ellis’ size did not prevent him from putting up some impressive numbers the last four seasons with Windsor of the Ontario Hockey League.

The Aeros played a hard-nosed, defensively sound game against the Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday, and it helped them even their best-of-seven series that resumes tonight at Toyota Center. The Aeros limited the Admirals’ scoring chances to take home a 2-0 win in Milwaukee on Sunday. With Games 3-5 of the AHL West Division finals at Toyota Center, a three-game home-winning streak will put the Aeros in the Western Conference finals for the second time in three years.

David Krejci, a 31-goal scorer with the AHL’s Providence Bruins in 2006-07, tallied the game-winning goal 14 minutes into overtime on Monday and Tim Thomas stopped 52 of 54 shots as Boston took Game 2 of its Eastern Conference semifinal at Philadelphia, 3-2… James van Riemsdyk, who began his pro career with the AHL’s Philadelphia Phantoms late in the 2008-09 campaign, netted both goals for the Flyers.

1 – Father-son combo in AHL history to score sudden-death overtime goals in the Calder Cup Playoffs: Darryl Sutter (for New Brunswick on May 6, 1980) and Brett Sutter (for Charlotte last night).

10 – Wins this postseason by AHL teams when trailing after two periods.

May 3, 2008 – Down 1-0 in the series and 4-1 in the third period of Game 2 of the East Division Finals, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rallies and defeats Philadelphia, 5-4, on Chris Minard’s goal 2:07 into overtime.

May 3, 2003Ray Emery makes 26 saves as Binghamton shuts out Bridgeport, 3-0, to take a 3-2 lead in their conference semifinal series.

May 3, 2002 – The final game ever played at Hersheypark Arena goes to the Houston Aeros, as Jamie McLennan stops 32 shots in a series-clinching 7-1 win over Hershey.

May 3, 1997 – In a game that features 11 goals, five goaltenders and a league-record 350 penalty minutes, Philadelphia defeats Hershey, 7-4, in Game 2 of the Mid-Atlantic Division final.

May 3, 1978 – The Maine Mariners advance to the Calder Cup Finals in their first season with a 2-1 win over two-time defending champion Nova Scotia in a Game 7 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

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