AHL Morning Skate: Pirates, Wolves look to take control
AHL Quick Hits is now the Morning Skate… Every morning, take 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 – W-B/Scranton at Portland, (POR leads, 2-1)
Coming off wins in Games 2 and 3, Portland hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton tonight in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals… The Pirates captured a 5-2 decision in Game 3 on Sunday, their first victory by more than one goal this postseason… Portland’s Geoff Platt tallied a game-high three points (1-2-3) in that tilt, giving him 13 points (6-7-13) in 14 postseason contests… 2008 AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan and Stephen Dixon chipped in a goal and an assist apiece in the winning effort… Ryan has registered a point in six of his last seven contests (7-4-11), and his 15 playoff points (8-7-15) are tied for the league lead among rookies with Penguins defenseman and fellow All-Rookie Team member Alex Goligoski (3-12-15)… Jason King notched his team-high third game-winning goal for Portland on Sunday, and he now has four points (3-1-4) over his last four games… Mike McKenna, making his third appearance this postseason, stopped 27 of 29 shots to pick up his first career Calder Cup Playoff victory… Portland is a perfect 6-0 at home and has won eight straight playoff games at the CumberlandCountyCivicCenter dating back to the 2006 conference finals… Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has lost consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 29-Mar. 1, and is looking to avoid its first three-game slide since Dec. 7-14, 2007… Mark Ardelan netted a power-play goal for the Penguins and Tim Brent also scored in the Game 3 loss… Brent leads the league with 10 playoff goals and ranks second with 18 points in 13 games… Sunday marked the Penguins’ first loss this postseason in which they scored the game’s first goal (7-1)… Wilkes-Barre has gone four games without allowing a first-period goal.
Game 3 – Chicago at Toronto, (CHI leads, 2-0)
TV: Leafs TV, Comcast Cable Chicago
Chicago goes for a commanding lead in the Western Conference Finals as the series shifts to Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum for Game 3 tonight… The Wolves secured the first two games by a combined score of 9-1 last weekend at Allstate Arena, and enter tonight’s tilt on a four-game winning streak overall… In four games since the Wolves fell behind 3-2 in their second-round series with Rockford, Jason Krog has recorded 11 points (8g, 3a) and all four game-winning goals… Krog leads the AHL with 21 playoff points and ranks second with nine goals, and has cracked the AHL’s top 20 all-time with 70 career Calder Cup Playoff points… Darren Haydar posted two assists in Sunday’s 5-0 win, moving into sole possession of second place all-time with 111 career Calder Cup Playoff points… Haydar is eight points shy of Willie Marshall’s league record (119), and he is one goal back of another AHL Hall of Famer, Jody Gage, for the all-time record in that category (51)… Defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski posted a goal and an assist for Chicago in Game 2, a contest in which the Wolves held a 3-0 lead just after the opening face-off… Rookie goaltender Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs… The Marlies face a 2-0 series deficit for the second straight round after rallying to defeat Syracuse in the division finals… Kris Newbury (4-8-12) and David Ling (3-9-12) are still tied for the Marlies’ postseason scoring lead with 12 points apiece… Toronto’s 27 home wins in the regular season were second only to Chicago’s 29, but the Marlies are 4-4 at Ricoh Coliseum in the 2008 playoffs.
All-Time Calder Cup Playoff Leaders
1. Willie Marshall
1. Jody Gage
1. Willie Marshall
2. Darren Haydar
2. Darren Haydar
2. Mike Nykoluk
3. Jody Gage
3(t). Willie Marshall
3(t). Darren Haydar
4. Fred Glover
3(t). Fred Glover
3(t). Domenic Pittis
5. Bob Solinger
5. Brad Smyth
5. Jody Gage
19(t). Jason Krog
25(t). Jason Krog
15(t). Jason Krog
PIRATES RIGHT AT HOME IN WIN COLUMN
Rachel Lenzi, Portland Press-Herald
Kevin Dineen will admit it. He feels a certain something going on around Portland’s Free Street when it comes to his hockey team. But Dineen’s idea of home-ice advantage isn’t just about having a 2-1 lead over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with two games remaining at the CumberlandCountyCivicCenter. “I asked (the players) ‘What is it?’” the Portland Pirates coach said. “We had numerous responses, from our fan base to (getting) the last line change, which is a little bit of a strategic thing. They like sleeping in their own beds on a game day. (There’s a) comfort factor in playing at home. You know the building, you know the ice, you know the boards, and you know the people here are going to support us.” The Pirates take a 6-0 home playoff record into Game 4 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals tonight. That’s the best home record among the AHL’s four remaining playoff teams.
Chris Minard knew it was coming. A line that rips through two playoff rounds like the top line for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins did was going to face a defensive challenge eventually. That time is now. Minard,