Saturday, March 29, 2014

Game 68 Preview: Oklahoma City Barons at Charlotte Checkers

The Checkers woke up on Friday ranked in the Western Conference’s top eight teams for the first time in nearly five months thanks to a two-game sweep over the Wild in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday.

With Rochester's ninth straight loss on Friday night, the Checkers enter Saturday's matchup with Oklahoma City with a one-point lead over the Americans.

The Barons, who enter the day 10th in the Western Conference, are right there with Charlotte (71 points) in a battle for the eight spot in the Western Conference with 69 points.

Of Charlotte's nine remaining games this season, four are set to come against Oklahoma City. Charlotte leads the season series 6-1-1, having won each of the first six before dropping the next two in Charlotte.

Puck Drop: 7:00 p.m.

TV/Radio info: Video TWC Ch. 323 / Audio 730 AM Charlotte

Records: Checkers 34-30-3, Rampage 30-27-9

Checkers lineup:

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

Michal Jordan-Danny Biega
Rasmus Rissanen-Matt Corrente
Ryan Murphy-Mark Flood

John Muse
Mike Murphy

Healthy scratches: Dennis Robertson & Phil Di Giuseppe (both newly signed)

Injured: Aaron Palushaj (ruled out for this weekend), Greg Nemisz and Brandon Woods have each been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season.


Charlotte forward Zach Boychuk (2g, 3a) set a franchise-record with five points in the Checkers 7-0 win over the Wild on Wednesday. Boychuk now has 19 points (8g, 11a) in 14 games this month. … Chris Terry (27g, 38a) had three assists Wednesday to tie Boychuk’s franchise record for most points in a single season (65) set in 2010-11. … In his first game back from the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, defenseman Ryan Murphy picked up an assist on Wednesday to set a new team record with points in 12 consecutive games (1g, 14a). His point streak breaks the team record set by Bobby Sanguinetti in 2011-12. … Defenseman Michal Jordan extended his point streak to five games (1g, 5a) with an assist on Boychuk’s second goal on Wednesday. ... The Checkers are now 10-for-22 over their last four games on the power play. For the season, Charlotte has a 23.3 percent success rate, good for second in the AHL. … The Checkers leapfrogged Rochester into eighth place in the Western Conference. The Americans (30-27-10) have dropped their last nine games. … Newly signed Phil Di Giuseppe (a 2012 second round draft pick) has joined Checkers but is unlikely to see action. … With eight fights, Wednesday’s game set new franchise records for most penalty minutes by the Checkers (86), by an opposing team (162) and by both teams (248). The previous records stood at 48, 82 and 124, respectively. … Checkers third-leading scorer Aaron Palushaj has missed the last two games and is unlikely to play this weekend, but is considered day-to-day, while Greg Nemisz and Brendan Woods have both been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season (9 games). … The Barons, who as of Friday afternoon had lost four of their last five, currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference. … Barons forward Matthew Ford has goals in four straight, the club’s longest goal streak this season. Ford has eight points (5g and 3a) over his last six games. … Barons second-leading scorer Roman Horak (47 points) has not played since March 15 with a lower body injury.

Standings Update: