Weekend watch list: Apr. 19-21

Photo: Laurent Corbeil

Patrick Williams, TheAHL.com Features Writer

The Belleville Senators look to round out the North Division playoff field when they start a home-and-home series against Laval tonight.

With two games remaining for both the B-Sens and the Rocket, Belleville has a four-point lead for the fifth and final playoff spot in the North Division. A win tonight against the Rocket at CAA Arena would clinch a playoff berth for Belleville.

Utica is also still in the hunt in seventh place in the North, and Belleville could also qualify for the postseason by earning a point in overtime or the shootout coupled with a Utica loss of any kind tonight against Syracuse.

If the Senators get in, they will play either Cleveland or Toronto in a best-of-three first-round series. The Monsters and Marlies finish the regular season with games against each other on Saturday and Sunday in Toronto.

The Rocket, who have won their past three visits to Belleville, need to defeat the Sens in regulation both tonight and Saturday to keep their hopes alive.

The Comets, five points behind the Senators, have a home-and-home with Syracuse before hosting Rochester on Sunday.

A taste of the Central Division first-round match-up between the Manitoba Moose and Texas Stars is on tap this weekend.

The teams meet tonight and Saturday at H-E-B Center before they get together in their best-of-three series that starts next Tuesday in Cedar Park. The Moose won a pair of games in their previous trip to Texas back in October.

Fourth-place Texas will have home ice for all three games against the Moose.

Stars forward Mavrik Bourque leads the AHL with 75 points (26 goals, 49 assists) through 69 games. Bourque, who was named to the AHL First All-Star Team earlier this week, has a five-point lead on Chicago’s Rocco Grimaldi in the league scoring race.

Manitoba comes to town following back-to-back losses, but the Moose are 14-7-1-0 since Feb. 24.


The Hershey Bears can make history against the Charlotte Checkers in the AHLTV Free Game of the Week on Saturday (7 ET/6 CT).

Earning one point against Charlotte will give the defending Calder Cup champion Bears the best regular-season record in the 88-year history of the AHL. Hershey is looking to surpass the record held by the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers (.775, 57-13-10).

At 53-13-0-5, the Bears already have the most wins by an AHL team ever in a 72-game season. They have clinched the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy as the AHL’s regular-season champion, and will finish 2023-24 without suffering back-to-back regulation losses all season.

Charlotte has two games remaining and is in a battle with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Penguins, who are in Hartford tonight and at Lehigh Valley on Saturday, have a two-point lead on the fourth-place Checkers.

Charlotte’s regular season will finish Sunday in Allentown against the Phantoms, who need one point this weekend to secure the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

An AHLTV account is required to watch the AHLTV Free Games of the Week, but no subscription is needed. Visit AHLTV.com for details.