Records: Checkers (16-24-5-1), Wolves (23-18-5-1)
Morale in the Checkers' locker room hit a season-low on Friday night after the Chicago Wolves ousted Charlotte, 4-1, in a game that didn't feel as close the already lopsided score might suggest. The loss was the Checkers' third in a row. A loss in Saturday's rematch with Chicago -- which moved into the eighth and final place in the Western Conference playoff race with their win on Friday -- would mark a new season-long losing streak for the Checkers, who now sit 14 points out of a playoff spot.
Three (Lake Erie, Toronto, Hamilton) of Charlotte’s five remaining opponents in February are teams also competing for the eighth seed in the Western conference.
"It’s not going our way right now," Checkers captain Michal Jordan said following Friday's loss. "We’re not scoring many goals and we’re not winning many games, so it sucks right now. We have to battle out there as a group. Older guys have got to step up and make sure we’re going to be ready, finish strong the rest of our season, and hopefully start winning a couple of games and start pushing for that playoff spot."
Following this series, the Checkers will travel to Lake Erie for a pair of midweek contests with the Monsters.
Notes: In nine periods of play since the AHL All-Star break, the Checkers have been outscored 13-3. Their 2.13 goals-per-game average ranks last in the AHL, as well as their 9.4 power-play scoring percentage. ... If the season were to end today, both those marks would be franchise worsts. ... This weekend’s series against Chicago marks the 18th time the Checkers have faced the same opponent in two consecutive games this season. Including Friday's loss, they are a combined 3-11-4 in the first halves of those series and 10-6-1 in the second. ... Since returning from an ECHL stint on Jan. 3, Alex Aleardi has six points (3g, 3a) in nine games. ... This weekend’s contests mark the Checkers’ ninth annual “Pink in the Rink” to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancers related to women. Fans attending the games are encouraged to wear pink. Last season’s event raised approximately $45,000 for various nonprofits.
Brock McGinn-Ben Holmstrom-Chad LaRose
Phil Di Giuseppe-Jason Bast-Justin Shugg
Carter Sandlak-Brody Sutter-Alex Aleardi
Kyle Hagel-Patrick Brown-Jared Staal
Rasmus Rissanen-Michal Jordan
Trevor Carrick-Danny Biega
Dennis Robertson-Keegan Lowe
Healthy scratches: Beau Schmitz, Zach Boychuk
Injured/out: Greg Nemisz (out for season - knee), Gabriel Desjardins (missed 13 games starting 1/4), Brendan Woods (missed three games starting 1/30),