AHL Morning Skate: May 4

Take a game-day spin around the AHL ice with latest news and notes from
the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs in today’s Morning Skate.

Complete Schedule || Playoff Brackets || Today’s Scoreboard || League Leaders

Game 1 – 7:00 ET, AHL Live

Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton renew their rivalry as the Atlantic Division Finals get underway tonight at Giant Center… It is the seventh postseason meeting between the in-state foes, the first since 2012… Both teams have won three previous series (Bears in 2006, 2007 and 2009; Penguins in 2001, 2008 and 2012), and both teams have won 15 playoff games against the other… Hershey went the distance in its first-round series with Portland, coming back from a two-games-to-one deficit to win Games 4 and 5… Justin Peters (3-1, 0.85, .966) played the last four games in net for the Bears and stopped 115 of 119 shots… Jakub Vrana (2-3-5) led Hershey’s offense with five points… Bears forward Zach Sill (0-1-1) played 60 Calder Cup Playoff games with the Penguins from 2010-14… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has been off since Apr. 23, when it closed out a three-game sweep of Providence… All three Penguins wins in the first round came in overtime, and all three came after Wilkes-Barre had surrendered a third-period lead… Jake Guentzel (3-4-7), who joined the Penguins on Mar. 22 after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in scoring in the division semifinals, with his series-clinching goal in Game 3 capping a four-point night… Daniel Sprong had 3-1-4 in the series after making his AHL debut in Game 1… Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton split their 12 meetings in 2015-16, eight of which were played over the last two months of the regular season.

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Hershey Bears vs. A3-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., May 7 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Mon., May 9 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Wed., May 11 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 6 – Fri., May 13 – Hershey at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 7 – Sun., May 15 – W-B/Scranton at Hershey, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

Game 1 – 7:30 ET, AHL Live

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference meet in the North Division Finals as Toronto faces off against Albany… The Marlies were eight wins and 12 points clear of the Devils in the regular season, and advanced to the second round with a three-game sweep of Bridgeport in the division semifinals… Albany defeated Utica in four games in the first round, the first series win by a New Jersey AHL affiliate since 1998 (Albany River Rats)… Defenseman Connor Carrick (3-4-7) tallied three goals and two assists in the Marlies’ series-clinching 6-4 win over the Sound Tigers last Thursday, and is tied for the AHL scoring lead entering the second round… Connor Brown (3-0-3) and Josh Leivo (0-3-3) had three points each in the series for Toronto… The Devils were perfect on the penalty kill in round one (14-for-14) and also scored two shorthanded goals… Reid Boucher (3-3-6) led Albany in scoring during its series with Utica, and Damon Severson (0-5-5) had a league-leading five assists… Scott Wedgewood (3-1, 1.93, .922) stopped 94 of 102 shots for the Devils in the first round, and has just three regulation losses in 25 AHL starts this season… Toronto owned the league’s top-ranked offense in the regular season, averaging 3.87 goals per game; Albany had the second-best defense, giving up just 2.20 goals per game… In the Marlies’ crease, Antoine Bibeau (1-0, 3.27, .886) was 4-0-0 (0.99, .961) against the Devils in 2015-16, while Garret Sparks (2-0) stopped all 43 shots he faced in 88 minutes of work in the first round.

North Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Albany Devils

Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – Albany at Toronto, 7:30
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – Albany at Toronto, 7:30
Game 3 – Sun., May 8 – Toronto at Albany, 5:00
Game 4 – Tue., May 10 – Toronto at Albany, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., May 12 – Toronto at Albany, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., May 14 – Albany at Toronto, 3:00
*Game 7 – Mon., May 16 – Albany at Toronto, 7:30
   *if necessary… All times Eastern

West Series Open Thursday
The two division finals in the Western Conference get one more day before opening tomorrow night… Lake Erie is taking on Grand Rapids in the Central Division Finals, and Ontario is facing San Diego in the Pacific Division Finals.
Working Overtime
There have been 5 overtime games played in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs so far:

Apr. 28 – Portland 2, HERSHEY 1 (Rob Flick, 43:10)
Apr. 26 – UTICA 2, Albany 1 (Alexandre Grenier, 9:13)
Apr. 23 – W-B/Scranton 5, PROVIDENCE 4 (Jake Guentzel, 33:52)
Apr. 21 – W-B/SCRANTON 4, Providence 3 (Daniel Sprong, 5:13)
Apr. 20 – W-B/SCRANTON 3, Providence 2 (Carter Rowney, 1:09)

Double Vision
For the second time this spring, a pair of AHL affiliates are meeting in the Calder Cup Playoffs while their NHL parent teams battle in the Stanley Cup Playoffs… Hershey and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton begin their second-round series while Washington and Pittsburgh drop the puck for Game 4 tonight… Last round, Ontario battled San Jose in the AHL while Los Angeles and San Jose squared off in the NHL.

NHL/AHL affiliates meeting in same postseason (since 2001):
2016 Washington vs. Pittsburgh (second round)… Hershey vs. W-B/Scranton (second round)
2016 Los Angeles vs. San Jose (first round)… Ontario vs. San Jose (first round)
2015 N.Y. Rangers vs. Washington (second round)… Hartford vs. Hershey (second round)
2014 Los Angeles vs. Anaheim (second round)… Manchester vs. Norfolk (first round)
2013 Boston vs. Pittsburgh (third round)… Providence vs. W-B/Scranton (second round)
2013 Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa (second round)… W-B/Scranton vs. Binghamton (first round)
2011 Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh (first round)… Norfolk vs. W-B/Scranton (first round)
2009 Pittsburgh vs. Washington (second round)… W-B/Scranton vs. Hershey (second round)
2008 Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia (third round)… W-B/Scranton vs. Philadelphia (second round)
2003 Ottawa vs. N.Y. Islanders (first round)… Binghamton vs. Bridgeport (second round)
2002 Toronto vs. N.Y. Islanders (first round)… St. John’s vs. Bridgeport (second round)
2001 Buffalo vs. Philadelphia (first round)… Rochester vs. Philadelphia (first round)

Alumni Watch
In Stanley Cup Playoff action last night, Brian Boyle scored his first NHL overtime goal to give Tampa Bay a 5-4 win over the New York Islanders… Boyle scored one OT goal in his Calder Cup Playoff career – a double-overtime series clincher for the Manchester Monarchs on Apr. 28, 2007 at Worcester; Thomas Greiss, who allowed last night’s goal, was on the Sharks’ bench that night nine years ago, backing up Dimitri PatzoldDavid Backes scored twice and Troy Brouwer added a goal and an assist as St. Louis defeated Dallas, 6-1… 2006 Calder Cup finalist Shea Weber tallied a goal and an assist in Nashville’s 4-1 win over San Jose… Pontus Åberg, who scored a team-best 25 goals for Milwaukee in 2015-16, registered 8:27 of ice time and became the 142nd AHL player to make his NHL debut this season.

AHL Live
Don’t miss a second on the road to the 2016 Calder Cup championship. AHL Live brings AHL action to your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet all season long with live video webcasts and free highlights of every AHL game… Visit ahllive.com for details.