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Weekly Report: Feb. 24, 2014

Zach Boychuk
After picking up a home victory over Norfolk, the Checkers concluded the first leg of their franchise-record run of 10 consecutive road games with a regulation loss and a shootout loss at the hands of the Texas Stars over the weekend.

Friday’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of their West Division rivals ended a brief two-game winning streak for the Checkers, who put forth a very good effort in Tuesday's 4-3 win over Norfolk and came ever-so-close to getting back in the win column in a seven-round shootout on Saturday. Justin Peters made 34 saves in his first AHL game since opening night to help his team earn a point in the second game against the Stars.

After a few days of practice back home, the team will depart for a four-game Eastern Conference trip that includes a game in Norfolk on Wednesday and a back-to-back set in Hershey starting Saturday. The Checkers, who currently sit seven points out of a playoff spot, will not play another home game until March 15.

Week in Review

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    24-25-3
  • Home record
    14-15-1
  • Road record
    10-10-2
  • Last week's record
    1-1-1
  • Last 10 games
    3-5-2
  • Division Standings
    5th
  • Conference Standings
    12th
  • League Standings
    22nd

Checkers 4, Norfolk 3

The Checkers built on the momentum of a dramatic comeback over Abbotsford two days earlier by jumping out to a 3-0 lead and hanging on for a 4-3 victory against the visiting Norfolk Admirals on Tuesday. Chris Terry, Michal Jordan and Zach Boychuk scored to give the Checkers their three-goal lead late in the second period, with Sean Dolan’s goal to make it 4-1 in the third holding up as the game-winner when Norfolk seized momentum following an injury to Checkers starter John Muse (27 saves). Mike Murphy stopped 10 of 12 in relief as Charlotte took an 8-4 lead over Norfolk in the race for the GEICO Challenge Cup. Full recap.

Texas 4, Checkers 1

Texas jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and did not look back to hand the Checkers a 4-1 loss in the first game in their franchise-record, 10-game swing on Friday. Chris Terry scored Charlotte’s lone goal early in the third period to give him four in his last three games, while Mike Murphy made 27 saves as the Stars took a 3-2-0 lead in the eight-game season series between the West Division rivals. Full recap

Texas 3, Checkers 2 (SO)

For the third time in their last six visits to Texas, the Checkers lost in the sudden-death round of the shootout as the Stars prevailed on Matej Stransky’s goal in the seventh to defeat the Checkers 3-2. In the first start of his conditioning stint from Carolina and first AHL start since the Checkers’ first game of the season on Oct. 4, Justin Peters made 34 saves and received goal support from Philippe Cornet and Mark Flood, the latter of whom set a new career high with his 12th goal of the season. Aaron Palushaj, Chris Terry and Brody Sutter scored shootout goals for Charlotte. Full recap

Notables

Charlotte Checkers Justin Peters

Last Week's News

  • The Carolina Hurricanes assigned former Checkers goaltender Justin Peters to Charlotte on a conditioning stint. Read more

Shootout Star

Chris Terry scored in the shootout against Texas on Feb. 22 to improve to a combined 5-for-5 at the AHL (3-for-3) and NHL (2-for-2) levels this season. He leads both the Checkers and Carolina Hurricanes in shootout goals, making him the only player to currently lead his AHL team and its NHL affiliate in shootout goals.

Terry is 18-for-40 (45 percent) in his five full AHL seasons and is the Checkers' all-time leader with 15 shootout goals.

Floodgates Open

Now in his eighth professional season, Mark Flood scored his 12th goal of the campaign against Texas on Feb. 22 to top his career high set with Manitoba in 2010-11. The 29-year-old had already set a new team record for most goals by a defenseman in a single season by netting his 11th in 46 games to break Bobby Sanguinetti's record from 2011-12.

Flood, who scored just one goal in 52 games in the Russian KHL last season, ranks second in terms of goals by AHL defensemen and is tied for second among league blueliners with seven power-play goals.

Peters Returns

Two time AHL All-Star goalie Justin Peters, who set Checkers' single-season records (minimum 20 games) with a 2.29 goals-against average, .921 save percentage and six shutouts last season, made his first Checkers appearance since the season's opening game on Oct. 4 with his start against Texas on Feb. 22. In his first game since rejoining the team on a conditioning stint, he made 34 saves in regulation and overtime of that 3-2 shootout loss, giving him a 1.92 goals-against average and .943 save percentage at the AHL level last season.

With Peters in net, the Checkers held their opponent to fewer than three goals in regulation for the first time since Jan. 31 (10 games) when another Carolina Hurricanes goaltender, Cam Ward, allowed one goal in a loss to the Lake Erie Monsters.

Murphy's Helping Hand

Assists by Checkers Defensemen

Player GP A
Mark Flood 51 12
Ryan Murphy 12 12
Danny Biega 41 10
Michal Jordan 46 8
Since joining the Checkers from the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 24, Ryan Murphy has 12 points, all assists, in 12 games with Charlotte, tying him with Mark Flood for the most by a Checkers defensman all season. Murphy has assists and points in each of his last seven games (8a), marking the longest active assist streak in the AHL and the longest posted by any league defenseman all season. Should he extend his streak by one more game, he would tie the longest posted by any AHL player (Rochester's Phil Varone from Oct. 4-Nov. 1) this season.

Murphy, the Hurricanes' first-round pick (12th overall) in 2011, now has 16 assists in 20 career AHL games dating back to last season, including five Calder Cup Playoff games. Ten of those assists came on the power play.

On the Road Again

The Checkers' 10-game road swing that began with an 0-1-1 weekend in Texas on Feb. 21 and 22 is the longest in the team's four AHL seasons, narrowly eclipsing a pair of nine-game segments from Oct. 28-Nov. 13, 2011 (5-4-0) and from Oct. 13-31, 2012 (6-2-1).

Charlotte, whose 22 road games to date are the fewest of any AHL team, is 10-10-2 on the road this season. Its current four-game winless streak on the road (0-3-1 since Feb. 4) ties the second longest in the league.

The Big Three

Along with Texas, the Checkers are one of two teams to feature three or more players among the AHL's top 20 scorers. Zach Boychuk and Chris Terry are tied for the team scoring lead and for 12th in the AHL with 45 points apiece, while Aaron Palushaj is tied for 15th with 44 points.

All three players have held sole possesion of the Checkers' scoring lead at one point this season and are on pace for their best scoring seasons at the AHL level. At their current pace, Boychuk and Terry would break Boychuk's team record of 65 points set in the 2010-11 season with 69 and 68, respectively, while Palushaj would fall just short at 64.

Boychuk Burst

Boychuk Career Goals / Game

2009-10 .29
2010-11 .37
2011-12 .33
2012-13 .47
2013-14 .51
Checkers forward Zach Boychuk leads the Checkers and is tied for fourth in the AHL with 23 goals, which ties his career high set last season. He has hit the 20-goal mark in the AHL in each of his four seasons with the Checkers.

Boychuk's 13 power-play goals are tied for the most in the AHL and are a new record for the most scored by a Checkers player in a single season.

Working Overtime

Though three of the Checkers' last six games have gone to overtime, their seven overtime games this season are still the fewest of any AHL team. Charlotte is 4-3 in overtime games this season, including a 3-1 record in the five-minute period and a 1-2 record in the shootout.

By scoring seven times on 16 shootout opportunities this season, the Checkers, who have been to a league-low three shootouts, have the third-best conversion rate in the league at 43.8 percent. However, their identical 43.8 save percentage is also the league's third-lowest.

One Cold Minute

The Checkers have given up two goals within 60 seconds or less on 10 separate occasions since Dec. 15. They have done so four times in 10 February games, including a Feb. 21 game in Texas when they allowed the Stars to score twice in 26 seconds.

On four of the 10 occasions in which the Checkers have given up two goals in a minute or less, the second goal held up as the game winner.

Quick Hits

  • Since the calendar turned to 2014, the Checkers have played nine back-to-back sets against the same opponent. Charlotte is 2-7-0 in the first half of those sets and 6-1-2 in the second.
  • Though the Checkers have been shut out just once this season, they have scored just one goal on 12 separate occasions.
  • The Checkers are 11-9-1 against fellow West Division opponents this season.
  • Charlotte's two shorthanded goals are tied with Adirondack for the fewest in the league

Player Streaks

  • Ryan Murphy has assists and points in each of his last seven games (Feb. 7-Feb. 22: 0g, 8a)

Milestones

  • Michal Jordan is two shy of 250 professional games
  • Brett Sutter is three shy of 500 professional games
  • Matt Corrente is four shy of 250 professional games
  • Justin Shugg is four shy of 100 professoinal points
  • Chris Terry played his 350th career AHL game on Feb. 21

Injuries

  • Greg Nemisz - missed six games starting Feb. 9
  • John Muse - missed two games starting Feb. 21
  • Brendan Woods - missed one game starting Feb. 22

Transactions

Incoming

  • Feb. 19 - (G) Justin Peters assigned to Charlotte on conditioning stint from Carolina (NHL)

Outgoing

  • None

This Week's Games

Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7:15 p.m. - Checkers at Norfolk

Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. - Checkers at Hershey

Sunday, March 2 at 4 p.m. - Checkers at Hershey

By the Numbers

Team Statistics
CATEGORY RECORD AHL RANK LAST WEEK
Power play 22.1% 4th 21.7% (4th)
Penalty kill 79.4% 23rd 80.2% (23rd)
Goals per game 2.96 13th 3.00 (12th)
Shots per game 32.8 4th 32.5 (5th)
Goals allowed per game 3.29 28th 3.29 (28th)
Shots allowed per game 32.3 26th 32.1 (25th)
Penalty minutes per game 14.6 9th 14.8 (9th)
Team Leaders
CATEGORY LEADER(S)
Points Zach Boychuk, Chris Terry (45), Aaron Palushaj (44), Justin Shugg (28)
Goals Zach Boychuk (23), Chris Terry, Aaron Palushaj (18), Justin Shugg (13)
Assists Chris Terry (27), Aaron Palushaj (26), Zach Boychuk (22)
Power play goals Zach Boychuk (13), Chris Terry (9), Mark Flood (7)
Shorthanded goals Nicolas Blanchard, Brett Sutter (1)
Game-winning goals Aaron Palushaj (5), Chris Terry (3), four tied at (2)
Shots on goal Chris Terry (150), Aaron Palushaj (143), Zach Boychuk (133)
Penalty minutes Matt Corrente (97), Nicolas Blanchard (81), Rasmus Rissanen (63)
Plus/minus Greg Nemisz (+8), Brody Sutter (+7), Nicolas Blanchard (+1)
Wins John Muse (17), Mike Murphy (4)
Goals-against average John Muse (2.76), Mike Murphy (3.97)
Save percentage John Muse (.912), Mike Murphy (.880)

Checkers in the NHL

Carolina Hurricanes (26-22-9: 6th Metropolitan Division)
Player POS GP G A PTS PIM +/- NOTES
Zach Boychuk LW 9 1 3 4 0 2 Reassigned to Charlotte on Jan. 11
Elias Lindholm C 35 4 8 12 2 -8  
Manny Malhotra C 42 6 5 11 14 3 3rd NHL with 59.3 faceoff percentage
Aaron Palushaj RW 2 0 0 0 0 -1 Reassigned to Charlotte on Jan. 29
Brett Sutter C 17 1 1 2 9 -4 Reassigned to Charlotte on Jan. 11
Chris Terry LW 7 0 0 0 0 -3 Reassigned to Charlotte on Nov. 22
Goaltender GP RECORD GAA SV% SO NOTES
Justin Peters 21 7-9-4 2.50 .919 1 Played one game since Dec. 27

Checkers in the ECHL

Florida Everblades (27-18-6: 7th Eastern Conference)
Player POS GP G A PTS PIM +/- NOTES
Kyle Bonis F 47 20 13 33 11 +9 11pts (5g, 6a) in last 9 games
Austin Levi D 39 1 10 11 36 +2  
Stefan Della Rovere F 2 0 0 0 10 0 Made season debut on Feb. 21
Sean Dolan C 3 2 2 4 2 0 Recalled to Charlotte on Feb. 6
Beau Schmitz D 11 0 5 5 4 +1  
Kellan Tochkin F 35 5 21 26 38 +6 Assigned to Evansville on Feb. 8
Goaltender GP RECORD GAA SV% SO NOTES
Jesse Deckert 9 6-1-2 2.71 .891 0 Injured - out for season