On Tuesday, Hamilton and Lake Erie each secured playoff spots courtesy of the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win at Abbotsford, as defenseman Kyle Klubertanz nabbed the game-winning goal with 3:43 left in regulation… AHL All-Rookie forward Rhett Rakhshani scored three goals in a 1:59 span to pace Bridgeport past Springfield, 6-2… Mark Parrish’s shootout goal pushed Portland past Worcester, 2-1… On Monday, Denis Hamel notched a hat trick in Adirondacks’ 6-0 win over Rochester.
The Atlantic Division’s top two teams collide for the final time in the regular season tonight when Portland hosts Manchester, and the Pirates can wrap up their first division title since 2006 with a regulation victory… Portland, which sits three points clear of Manchester in the division, has just two wins in its last eight games (2-5-1-0) but is coming off a 2-1 shootout triumph in Worcester on Tuesday… Despite being tied for the AHL’s best offense (3.50 goals per game), the Pirates have totaled only six non-shootout goals in their last four outings… Pirates forward Luke Adam continues to rank second among AHL rookies in both goals (26) and points (56) in 53 games, and he shows a team-high eight goals and 13 points in eight games vs. Manchester this season… Mark Parrish has collected a point in 12 of his last 14 games (7-14-21) for the Pirates, and Paul Byron has a point in three straight (2-1-3)… Manchester, which took a 5-2 home-ice win over Portland on Sunday, holds a 6-4-0-1 edge in the season series… Bud Holloway paces the Monarchs with 14 points (7-7-14) in against the Pirates this year and boasts team-best totals in goals (27), assists (31), and points (58) overall… Dwight King has a point in four of his last five games (3-3-6) for the Monarchs, who enter with the AHL’s sixth-ranked defense (2.58 goals allowed per game) and third-best penalty kill (85.8 percent)… Manchester is 27-3-1-3 this year when scoring the first goal.
Separated by just two points for fourth place in the East Division, Norfolk (90 points) and Binghamton (88) square off tonight in New York’s Southern Tier… By earning at least one point, the Senators will clinch their first Calder Cup Playoff berth since 2005… The B-Sens are looking to halt a three-game winless skid (0-2-0-1), which has come on the heels of a six-game winning streak from Mar. 19-27… Cody Bass has registered a point in four of his last five games (3-1-4) for Binghamton, while defenseman Patrick Coulombe has netted a goal in two straight games since joining the lineup… Binghamton today received five players back from parent-club Ottawa, including Second Team AHL All-Star defenseman Andre Benoit (10-44-54) and forwards Erik Condra (17-29-46, plus-19) and Roman Wick (19-22-41, plus-11)… Norfolk, which has clinched its first playoff spot since 2007, is in the midst of five straight road games to conclude the regular season… The Admirals own a 5-2-0-0 mark vs. the Senators this year, and leading scorer Marc-Andre Pouliot (23-46-69) shows a team-high 12 points (2-10-12) in the season series… Blair Jones is on a five-game scoring streak (3-4-7) since returning from parent-club Tampa Bay and has a point in eight straight AHL games overall (7-4-11).
Defending Western Conference champion Texas can secure a return trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs tonight by earning a regulation or overtime win at Peoria… The teams sit just two points apart in the top half of the West Division, with Texas (90 points) occupying third place and Peoria (88) in the division’s fourth and final guaranteed postseason spot… The Stars have been outscored 7-1 over their past two games and are just 2-3-0-0 against the Rivermen this season… Stars leading scorer Greg Rallo (26-27-53) had averaged two points per outing over a five-game span (5-5-10) prior to being held off the scoresheet during this two-game skid… Raymond Sawada shows a point in six of his last seven games (1-6-7) for the Stars, and rookie goaltender Richard Bachman is 5-1-0 (1.50, .946) with one shutout in his past six contests… Peoria is on a three-game points streak (2-0-1-0) and is looking for its first four-game run since winning five in a row from Dec. 31 to Jan. 8… T.J. Hensick has produced four points (2-2-4) in four games since returning from parent-club St. Louis and leads the Rivermen with 65 points overall (20-45-65)… Graham Mink has a point in four straight (1-3-4) and seven of eight (4-4-8).
(all times Eastern)
Manchester @ Portland, 6:30
Albany @ Adirondack, 7:00
Toronto @ Lake Erie, 7:00
Norfolk @ Binghamton, 7:05
Grand Rapids @ Milwaukee, 8:00
Texas @ Peoria, 8:05
Norfolk @ Syracuse, 7:00
In Tuesday’s action, 2010 AHL All-Rookie forward P.K. Subban notched the game-winning goal in overtime as Montreal secured a playoff spot with a 2-1 win over Chicago… 2011 AHL All-Star Game MVP Bobby Butler had a goal and an assist, and former AHL MVP Jason Spezza racked up four points (1-3-4) to lead Ottawa past Philadelphia, 5-2… On Monday, defenseman Michael Sauer nabbed the game-winner as the N.Y. Rangers rallied for a 5-3 win over Boston.
BY THE NUMBERS:
3 — West Division titles earned by Milwaukee in their first nine AHL seasons (2004, 2006, 2009)… The Admirals can wrap up division crown number four tonight by gaining at least a point in their home-ice tilt with Grand Rapids.
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