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Calder Cup First Round Review

The first round of the AHL playoffs is complete.  Here is a summary of what happened in the first round series.

Worchester Sharks defeat Hartford Wolf Pack 4 games to 2  Worchester is the San Jose Sharks farm club and Hartford is the New York Rangers affiliate.  Hartford took the lead in this series winning the first two games.  Worchester required two overtimes to pull out game three and then held on to the final three games.  Worcester was led offensively by Riley Armstrong and Dan DaSilva.  Patrick Traverse played well on defence and Thomas Greiss was in goal.  Hartford’s top scorer was defenceman Bobby Sanguinetti, followed by Dane Byers and Dale Weiss.  Matt Zaba was in goal.

Providence Bruins defeat Portland Pirates four games to one  Providence is the Boston Bruin affiliate and Portland is the Buffalo Sabres affiliate.  Portland won game one of this series before Providence won the next four in a row.  Providence was led offensively by Vladimir Sobotka and Martin St Pierre.  Johnny Boychuk played strong on defence and Tuukka Rask has an outstanding series in goal.  Portland’s offensive leaders Marek Zagrapan and Mark Mancari were limited to three points each.  It was goaltender Jhonas Enroth who kept the series as close as it was.

Hershey Bears defeat Philadelphia Phantoms in four straight  Hershey is the Washington Capital affiliate and the Phantoms belong to the Philadelphia Flyers.  Alexandre Giroux and Chris Bourque led the Bears offence and Michal Neuvirth had a very good series in goal.  The Phantoms offence came from Jonathan Kalinski, Patrick Maroon and Jonathan Matsumoto, but they were hurt by inconsistent goaltending.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defeat Bridgeport Sound Tigers four games to one  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is the Pittsburgh Penguins affiliate and Bridgeport is that of the New York Islanders.  W-B/S was led offensively by Chris Minard, Jean-Michel Daoust and Jeff Taffe.  John Curry provided solid goaltending.  Bridgeport’s offence was led by Jon Sim and Ben Walter, but the struggled due to poor goaltending.

Manitoba Moose defeat Toronto Marlies four games to two  Manitoba is the Vancouver Canucks affiliate and the Marlies belong to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  At one point, Toronto led this series two games to one, but Manitoba won the final three games of the series.  Manitoba was led offensively by Jason Krog and Guillaume Desbiens.  Cory Schneider provided solid goaltending.  The Marlies offence came from Bates Battaglia and Alex Foster.  Justin Pogge provided their goaltending.

Grand Rapids Griffins defeat Hamilton Bulldogs four games to two  Grand Rapids won the first two, with Hamilton evening the series and then Grand Rapids ending it in six.  Only one game was won on home ice (game five by Grand Rapids).  Grand Rapids is the Detroit Red Wings affiliate and Hamilton is that of the Montreal Canadiens.  Grand Rapids has had the top offensive performances of the playoffs so far, with Ville Leino and Darren Haydar top two in playoff scoring and Justin Abdelkader fourth.  This offence has been needed due to inconsistent play from Jimmy Howard in goal.  Hamilton’s offence has been led by Ben Maxwell and Ryan White.  Their goaltending was also subpar in this series.

Milwaukee Admirals defeat Rockford Ice Hogs in four straight  Milwaukee is the Nashville Predators affiliate and Rockford is that of the Chicago Blackhawks.  Cal O’Reilly and Mike Santorelli led Milwaukee’s offence.  Drew MacIntyre’s goaltending performance was spectacular for the Admirals.  Rockford had essentially no offence with Tyler Mosienko leading the way.  Danny Groulx led their defence.  Their goaltending was subpar.

Houston Aeros defeat Peoria Rivermen four games to three  This was the closest series of the first round.  At no point did any team ever lead by more than one game.  Houston is the Minnesota Wild affiliate and Peoria is that of the St Louis Blues.  Houston’s offence came from Corey Locke (who is third in playoff scoring) and Matt Beaudoin.  Anton Khudobin provided solid goaltending.  Peoria’s offence came from Yan Stastny and Cam Paddock with Steve Wagner and Danny Richmond providing strong defence.  Their weak point was in goal where Manny Legace did not perform very well.

In the second round, Providence will meet Worchester, Hershey will play Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Manitoba and Grand Rapids will meet and Milwaukee will face Houston.

NOTE:  One interesting final point.  None of the NHL’s bottom feeders have AHL affiliates that are moving on to the second round of thje Calder Cup playoffs.  The worst NHL team that has a successful AHL affiliate is the Nashville Predators.  The Predators missed the NHL playoffs by only three points.  None of the weakest NHL teams have a good core in the AHL who might help them out next season.

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com