One day more.
The excitement of the American Hockey League’s 82nd regular season comes down to the finish line with six games on the schedule today, and two last pieces of the puzzle to fall into place.
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) April 15, 2018
Sunday’s complete AHL Playoff Primer is here, but what remains to shake out is the order of finish in the Atlantic Division, as well as the league’s scoring races.
The North, Central and Pacific Division first-round matchups were all finalized on a Saturday night that finished with the San Jose Barracuda wrapping up an improbable run to their third consecutive playoff appearance. San Jose will meet the Tucson Roadrunners in the Pacific Division semifinals, while the second-place Texas Stars — 4-0-1-2 in their last seven game — will battle the third-place Ontario Reign.
In the Central Division, the Chicago Wolves will meet the Rockford IceHogs, while the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins will take on the Manitoba Moose.
Over in the North Division, the regular-season champion Toronto Marlies draw the Utica Comets, and the Syracuse Crunch will meet the Rochester Americans in the first postseason series between those two rivals since 2004.
And in the Atlantic Division, the Charlotte Checkers need a point in its game at Bridgeport this evening, or for the Providence Bruins to lose to Springfield, in order to secure third place; a Bruins win combined with a Checkers regulation loss would propel the B’s to third and drop Charlotte to fourth. Awaiting them in the first round will be the first-place Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the second-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The race for the AHL scoring title comes down to the wire today. With Chris Terry of the Laval Rocket already in the clubhouse after picking up his league-leading 71st point on Saturday, Providence’s Austin Czarnik enters today’s Bruins game needing three points to tie and four to overtake Terry for the John B. Sollenberger Trophy.
And Charlotte’s Valentin Zykov has 33 goals coming into the final day of the season. His closest remaining challengers for the Willie Marshall Award are Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Daniel Sprong, who has 31 goals entering this evening’s game at Hershey, and Binghamton’s Nick Lappin, whose 30 goals are three back as the Devils visit Utica.
Full playoff schedules will be announced no later than at the conclusion of play tonight. The first round of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs will be a best-of-5 series, in either a 2-2-1 or a 2-3 format and pending building availability. (If 2-3, the higher seed has the option of playing the first two or the last three games at home). Stay tuned to theahl.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates all day long.
Don’t get left out — Catch all of today’s climactic action on AHL Live, with coverage beginning with the first puck drop at 3 p.m. ET.