CALDER CUP UPDATE:
It’s been nine days since Hershey finished off a four-game sweep of Norfolk, while Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is coming off a grueling seven-game triumph over Bridgeport… The Penguins and Bears clash in the East Division Finals, with Game 1 set for the Wachovia Arena tonight (7:05 ET)… Wilkes-Barre outscored Hershey 22-7 in winning four of five meetings on home ice during the regular season… Former Penguin Kris Beech has recorded a point in each of his last 10 games (9g, 8a) for the Bears… Wilkes-Barre rookie Ryan Stone notched three goals, four assists, 26 shots and a plus-6 rating over the last five games of the Bridgeport series… These clubs met in the 2001 conference finals, with the Penguins winning in four straight.
The West Division final gets underway tonight as well, with Houston visiting Milwaukee in Game 1 (7:00 CT)… The Aeros are 8-2 in Calder Cup Playoff series openers; the Admirals are 6-2… Milwaukee forward Darren Haydar led the AHL in first-round scoring with 12 points (4g, 8a)… Since finishing off Iowa in Game 7 on Sunday, the Admirals have gotten goaltender Pekka Rinne, defenseman Shea Weber and forward Scottie Upshall back from parent Nashville… Houston’s Josh Harding, 19-2-0 in his last 21 AHL decisions, has a .971 save percentage and three shutouts in five lifetime games against Milwaukee… Kirby Law and Matt Foy shared the team leads in goals (4) and points (6) as 17 of the Aeros’ 18 skaters recorded at least one point in the first-round sweep of Peoria.
With a win in the bank and the next four games scheduled for Cumberland County, Portland can take command of the Atlantic Division Final with a victory in Game 2 at Hartford tonight (7:00 ET)… Ryan Shannon, a native of Darien, Conn., recorded three goals in Tuesday’s 6-2 Pirates triumph, the third hat trick by a Portland player at the Hartford Civic Center this season… Zenon Konopka picked up a goal and an assist in Game 1, his 19th straight contest with a point (13g, 17a)… Alexandre Giroux had a goal and an assist for Hartford, extending his own scoring streak to seven games (4g, 6a)… The Pirates have won eight of their last nine road games… The Wolf Pack have lost back-to-back home games five times this year; in four of those occasions, one of the losses was to Portland.
In Stanley Cup Playoff action on Wednesday night, Ilya Bryzgalov made 22 saves and Ruslan Salei had a goal and an assist as Anaheim shut out Calgary, 3-0, in Game 7 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series… It was the second straight Game 7 win for Bryzgalov, who led Cincinnati to a first-round victory over the defending Calder Cup champions from Milwaukee in the first round of the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs.
BY THE NUMBERS:
78.7 — Percent (48 of 61) of Game 1 winners who have gone on to win their series since 2003… Three teams came back to win in the first round this year after losing their series openers.
ON THIS DATE (May 4):
1989 – Randy McKay’s goal 3:05 into the second overtime period gives Adirondack a 7-6 win over New Haven in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Final… 1973 – Nova Scotia’s 12-game postseason winning streak ends in a 7-3 loss to Cincinnati in the opener of the Calder Cup Final… 1968 – Rochester wins the Calder Cup for the third time in four years, finishing off Quebec with a 4-2 win in Game 6.
AHL ON B2 NETWORKS:
B2 Networks brings all the action of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs to your computer with live video webcasts of every game… Click here for details.