Thursday, January 23, 2014

Game 40 preview: Oklahoma City Barons at Charlotte Checkers

Good morning, the Oklahoma City Barons are in town for a matchup at Time Warner Cable Arena tonight. The game will be the first for the Checkers since Saturday afternoon's 4-3 shootout win over the Norfolk Admirals, in which they recorded a season-high 52 shots on goal.

Charlotte, who has won seven of its last 10 to even its record at .500 on the season, has won all four of its games this season against the Barons and currently sits one point ahead of Oklahoma City in the Western Conference standings.

Puck Drop: 7 p.m. ET

TV/Radio info: Video AHL Live / Audio 730 AM Charlotte

Records: Checkers 19-19-1, Barons 16-20-6

Projected Checkers lineup: 

Chris Terry-Brett Sutter-Zach Boychuk
Greg Nemisz-Brody Sutter-Aaron Palushaj
Philippe Cornet-Victor Rask-Justin Shugg
Matt Marquardt-A.J. Jenks-Matthew Pistilli

Michal Jordan-Danny Biega
Rasmus Rissanen-Mark Flood
Keegan Lowe-Matt Corrente

John Muse
Mike Murphy

Healthy scratch: Beau Schmitz

Injured: Brendan Woods (out since Jan. 17 with lower body injury), Sean Dolan (out since Dec. 1 with an upper body injury), Nicolas Blanchard (Out since Jan. 17 with upper body injury), Jared Staal (out since Jan. 3 with unspecified injury).

* All four players participated in the non-contact portion of Wednesday's practice.

StorylinesSaturday’s shootout win over Norfolk evened the Checkers record at .500 on the season for the first time since Nov. 7 when they were 5-5-1. … The Barons have allowed the most shots against per game in the AHL this season, with opponents averaging 33.41 per game. Charlotte is coming off a season-high 52-shot effort against Norfolk on Saturday. ... Oklahoma City has also allowed the most goals in the Western Conference this season (139). ... Barons second-year defenseman Taylor Fedun is 12th among AHL blue-liners in points this season with 22 (6g, 16a). He is currently on a three-game points streak (1g, 3a). ... Thursday's game will be the fifth of 12 matchups with Oklahoma City this season for the Checkers. 

Palushaj on fire: Charlotte forward Aaron Palushaj has recorded points in 14 of his last 16 games (8g, 14a) and jumped up to 10th in the AHL in scoring with 36 points (14g, 22a). He is currently on a five-game point streak (5g, 3a). 

Checkers team writer, Paul Branecky, recently wrote a nice feature on the idiosyncrasies of Palushaj's pre-game routine. 

Muse getting the job done: Checkers goalie John Muse has won his last three starts and 10 of his last 12 overall. He's not flashy, but he's become extremely reliable and solidified a position that was a revolving door for Charlotte earlier this season (IE: the Rick DiPietro experiment). Muse's record stands at 14-8-0, while the seven other goalies to start a game this season for Charlotte are a combined 5-11-1.

Western Conference standings update: