- Created: April 14, 2014 - 3:01 pm
- Written by Paul Branecky
After starting with a 3-0 victory over the defending Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday, the Checkers’ hopes took a hit when they fell by a 2-1 score in Sunday’s rematch at Time Warner Cable Arena. With just two games left to play, they are ninth in the Western Conference and two points behind the eighth-place Oklahoma City Barons, though the Barons have played one fewer game.
Before making their final road trip of the regular season to play Milwaukee and Rockford on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the Checkers will have eyes on a Wednesday slate that sees Rochester and Oklahoma City play their games in hand.
Week in Review
Last week's record1-1-0
Last 10 games5-5-0
Checkers 3, Grand Rapids 0Victor Rask, Brett Sutter and Zach Boychuk scored in the game’s first 14 minutes and John Muse took care of the rest with 30 saves as the Checkers earned a 3-0 victory over the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday. Muse’s shutout was his fifth of the season and seventh as a Checker, the latter of which tied Justin Peters’ club record, while Boychuk increased league leads with his 36th goal and 18th power-play goal of the season. With the win, the Checkers briefly took hold of eighth place in the Western Conference. Full recap
Grand Rapids 2, Checkers 1The Griffins scored twice to cancel out Philippe Cornet’s opening goal and a stellar performance by goaltender Tom McCollum prevented the home team from getting points it desperately needed as Grand Rapids defeated the Checkers by a 2-1 score at Time Warner Cable Arena on Sunday. Fourteen of McCollum’s 35 saves came in a third period that saw Charlotte come up empty despite significant pressure in the offensive zone. The loss and a subsequent win by Oklahoma City saw the Checkers fall two points back in the Western Conference playoff race with two games to play. Full recap
Western Conference Standings
In order for the Checkers to catch Rochester, they would need to win each of their two remaining games at Milwaukee and at Rockford and hope that Rochester does not earn a point in any of its remaining three contests at Utica, vs. Syracuse and at Toronto. The teams would then be tied with 81 points, with the Checkers holding the tiebreaker by way of more regulation/overtime wins (ROW).
There are a number of ways the Checkers could still catch Oklahoma City. They could do so with as little as two points earned in their last two games, a scenario that requires the Barons to come up pointless in their remaining three contests vs. Texas and at Iowa (twice), with the Checkers then winning the ROW tiebreaker. However, that scenario would allow the possibility of Rockford and Utica to overtake both teams. If the Checkers were to take the maximum four points still left on the table, they would still need the Barons to earn no more than two.
Though Rochester and Oklahoma City each play one game on Wednesday, the Checkers are assured of still being in the race at the time of their next game in Milwaukee on Friday, as Oklahoma City cannot mathematically exceed their reach before then. Even if the Checkers win their game at Milwaukee, they could feasibly be eliminated before their finale on Sunday if Rochester earns a point AND Oklahoma City earns more than two in their next two games.
Boychuk's All-Star Season
Last Week's News
- Forward Sergey Tolchinsky became the latest Carolina Hurricanes prospect to begin a late-season tryout with the Checkers. Read more
Boychuk's previous career highs were 23 goals (2012-13), 65 points (2010-11) and 10 power-play goals (2012-13). He owned the previous franchise record for points, while his goal total surpasses Chris Terry's 34 in 2010-11 and his power-play goals total surpassed Jacob Micflikier's 12, also in 2010-11.
Boychuk, who earned the AHL's Player of the Month award in March, has 27 points (13g, 14a) in 21 games since March 1. The AHL has not had a 40-goal scorer since Oklahoma City's Colin McDonald (42) and Hamilton's Nigel Dawes (41) both accomplished the feat in 2010-11.
Muse Shuts the DoorCheckers goalie John Muse earned his fifth shutout of the season with 30 saves against Grand Rapids on April 10. That puts him one shy of the team's single-season record set by Justin Peters last season and ties him for third in the AHL. With his seventh career shutout, all with the Checkers, Muse also tied Peters for most in team history.
Muse's win on April 10 also put him first on the Checkers' all-time list with 44, one more than teammate Mike Murphy. He has already set the team's single season record with 27 victories, five more than the previous record set by Justin Pogge in 2010-11 and tied by Peters last season. He is tied for third in the AHL in wins.
Floodgates OpenMark Flood is enjoying the best goal-scoring season by a defenseman in Checkers history, with his 13 goals ranking fourth among AHL blueliners and breaking the old record of 10 set by Bobby Sanguinetti in 2011-12. Flood's eight power-play goals (third AHL defensemen) are also a new team record for a defenseman, breaking Sanguinetti's mark of seven also set in 2011-12.
Flood, who played his 500th professional game earlier this season, has already topped his previous AHL career high of 11 goals set with Manitoba in 2010-11. He scored just one goal in 52 games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL last season.
Checkers Power Play by Season
The 32 total goals by Boychuk and Terry are the most of any two teammates in the league, with Texas' Chris Mueller and Colton Sceviour coming in second with 28. Boychuk and Terry are responsible for 44.4 percent of the Checkers' 72 power-play goals this season. Terry ranks third in the league with 36 power-play points, while Boychuk is tied for fifth with 33.
The Checkers currently rank third in the AHL with a 22.3 percent success rate on the power play - a mark that, if sustained for the final two games of the season, would mark the highest of their four AHL campaigns. The team has never converted at a rate lower than 19.8 percent over the course an entire season.
- Victor Rask has 10 points (5g, 5a) in his last 10 games since March 23, which mark identical totals to his first 10 games of the season. In between those scretches, he scored 18 points (5g, 13a) in 54 outings.
- Chris Terry ranks fifth in the AHL with 222 shots on goal. He has recorded at least one shot on goal in 111 consecutive games dating back to Dec. 28, 2012.
- Chris Terry is three away from tying the club record for assists in a single season (43) set by Zach Boychuk in 2010-11 and tied by Terry in 2011-12.
- Ryan Murphy has assists in seven consecutive road games, tying the second-longest active streak in the AHL.
- Charlotte's seven regulation losses when leading after the first period (17-7-1) are tied with Bridgeport and Portland for the most in the AHL.
- Brett Sutter has tied his career high of 29 assists set last season despite playing 10 fewer games.
- Checkers defenseman Rasmus Rissanen ranks third in the AHL in terms of minor penalties by defensemen (37). Matt Corrente is tied for third in major penalties by defensemen (12).
- The Checkers' 10 overtime games and six shootouts are the fewest in the league. Charlotte's .700 winning percentage in overtime (7-3) leads the league, as does its 41.9 shooting percentage in the shootout.
- The Checkers' three shorthanded goals are the fewest in the AHL. They have never scored fewer than six in a single season.
- Charlotte's final two games are against teams in the Midwest Division. It is 11-10-1 against the the Midwest, including a 2-1-0 record against Milwaukee and a 4-2-1 record against Rockford.
- Victor Rask has assists and points in each of his last three games (April 6-13: 1g, 3a)
- Philippe Cornet has points in each of his last three games (April 6-13: 1g, 2a)
- Matt Marquardt is one shy of 400 professional games
- Brody Sutter is one shy of 50 professional points
- Matt Marquardt is two shy of 150 professional points
- Chris Terry is two shy of 150 Checkers assists
- Chris Terry is two shy of 300 AHL points
- Nicolas Blanchard - missed two games starting April 10
- Greg Nemisz - missed 18 games starting March 8
- Brendan Woods - missed 24 games starting Feb. 22
- April 12 - (LW) Zach Boychuk reassigned to Charlotte from Carolina (NHL)
- April 11 - (LW) Sergei Tolchinsky assigned to Charlotte from Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
- April 10 - (D) Ryan Murphy reassigned to Charlotte from Carolina (NHL)
This Week's Games
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|Power play||22.3%||t-2nd||22.4% (t-2nd)|
|Penalty kill||80.6%||23rd||80.6% (22nd)|
|Goals per game||3.03||t-11th||3.06 (12th)|
|Shots per game||32.0||8th||32.0 (9th)|
|Goals allowed per game||3.09||t-25th||3.15 (26th)|
|Shots allowed per game||32.6||27th||32.7 (27th)|
|Penalty minutes per game||14.9||10th||15.1 (10th)|
|Points||Zach Boychuk (72), Chris Terry (68), Aaron Palushaj (57)|
|Goals||Zach Boychuk (36), Chris Terry (28), Aaron Palushaj (22)|
|Assists||Chris Terry (40), Zach Boychuk (36), Aaron Palushaj (35)|
|Power play goals||Zach Boychuk (18), Chris Terry (14), Mark Flood (8)|
|Shorthanded goals||Nicolas Blanchard, Brett Sutter, Chris Terry (1)|
|Game-winning goals||Aaron Palushaj (6), Chris Terry (5), Zach Boychuk (4)|
|Shots on goal||Chris Terry (222), Zach Boychuk (200), Aaron Palushaj (172)|
|Penalty minutes||Matt Corrente (132), Nicolas Blanchard (111), Rasmus Rissanen (89)|
|Plus/minus||Matt Corrente, Greg Nemisz (+9), Ryan Murphy (+7)|
|Wins||John Muse (27), Mike Murphy (4)|
|Goals-against average||John Muse (2.58), Mike Murphy (3.99)|
|Save percentage||John Muse (.920), Mike Murphy (.881)|
Checkers in the NHL
(36-35-11: 7th Metropolitan Division - missed playoffs)
|Zach Boychuk||LW||11||1||3||4||0||2||Reassigned to Charlotte on April 12|
|Manny Malhotra||C||69||7||6||13||18||0||2nd NHL with 59.4 faceoff percentage|
|Ryan Murphy||D||48||2||10||12||10||-9||Reassigned to Charlotte on April 10|
|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||10||0||2||2||0||-4||Reassigned to Charlotte on April 4|
|Justin Peters||21||7-9-4||2.50||.919||1||Last dressed Jan. 31|
Checkers in the ECHL
(37-27-8: 9th Eastern Conference - missed playoffs)
|Kyle Bonis||F||65||25||20||45||15||+9||2nd on team in goals, 4th points|
|Stefan Della Rovere||F||23||5||9||14||52||+3|
|Sean Dolan||C||3||2||2||4||2||0||Recalled to Charlotte on Feb. 6|
|Beau Schmitz||D||12||1||4||5||4||+1||Injured Feb. 28, out 4-6 weeks|
|Kellan Tochkin||F||55||11||29||40||48||+2||Assigned to Evansville on Feb. 8|
|Jesse Deckert||9||6-1-2||2.71||.891||0||Injured - out for season|