Saturday, March 15, 2014

Game 61 Preview: Lake Erie Monsters at Charlotte Checkers

Remember the Checkers? After a franchise-record 10 consecutive road games, Charlotte will get back on its home ice for the first time since Feb. 18 today when it plays host to the Lake Erie Monsters for the first of back-to-back games at Time Warner Cable Arena.

After beginning their road trip 0-3, the Checkers rallied to finish up the trip – which saw them play the Western Conference-leading Texas Stars four times – with a 6-3-1 record. Charlotte has now won six of its last seven games and, as of Saturday, has climbed to 10th place in the Western Conference, just five points out of a playoff spot.

* A few additional notes: Today's game, as well as tomorrow afternoon's look like they're going to be sold out. ... If you notice that several of the Checkers players and staffers seem to have significantly less hair than they did before the road trip, it's not stress related. They cut it for charity this past Friday. The team raised more than $82,000 to go towards childhood cancer research as part of its St. Baldricks initiative.

Source: Matt Marquardt's Twitter page @CertainlyMag37

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

TV/Radio info: Video TWC CH. 521 / Audio 730 AM Charlotte

Records: Checkers 30-27-3, Monsters 25-27-6

Projected Checkers lineup:

Chris Terry-Brett Sutter-Justin Shugg
Zach Boychuk-Sean Dolan-Aaron Palushaj
Philippe Cornet-Brody Sutter-Nicolas Blanchard
Matt Marquardt-Victor Rask-Jared Staal

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

John Muse
Mike Murphy

Healthy scratches: Austin Levi

Injured: Greg Nemisz, Brandon Woods

Storylines: Since the last time the Checkers played at home, Chris Terry (21) and Aaron Palushaj (20) have joined Zach Boychuk (28) with 20-plus goals this season. All three now rank in the AHL’s
top 12 in points and have been hot as of late. Boychuk has nine points (5g, 4a) in his last seven games. Terry has points in seven of his last eight games (3g, 5a), and Palushaj has nine points (2g, 7a) in his last six. … John Muse, who will likely get the start in net, is coming off a career-high 43 save performance in a 3-1 win over the Stars this past Wednesday. … Charlotte has 16 games remaining on it schedule, with eight coming at home and seven against team’s with a record below .500. ... The Monsters, who are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games, split their only two games with the Checkers this season. … Charlotte will be without the services of injured forwards Greg Nemisz and Brendan Woods. Woods is a few weeks away, while Nemisz may be lost for the remainder of the season.

Western Conference standings update: