Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 05/13/11 at 12:04 AM ET
On Thursday night, the Checkers opened their Eastern Conference final series against the Binghamton Senators with a 7-4 loss. The seven goals against matched the total goals against in the first five games of the six-game series against WBS Penguins. Suffice to say, Mike Murphy didn’t bring his “A” game. He gave up five goals on just 15 shots before being relieved by Justin Pogge midway through the second period.
Despite outshooting the B-Sens 40-22, the Checkers just didn’t have what it took in this game. Charlotte surrendered a shorthanded goal and a power play goal. They did manage to score two power play goals of their own, but every time they climbed to within one goal, the B-Sens widened their lead.
Thirteen different Senators and nine different Checkers registered at least one point.
Erik Condra, Andre Benoit and Kaspars Daugavins each scored a goal and two assists for the Sens, while Riley Nash accomplished the same for the Checkers.
One of the things that the teevee guys talked about before the game is that they thought both teams would play both of their goaltenders at some point in this series. Nobody expected all four goaltenders to see ice time in game one, but that’s exactly what happened. When the first period ended at 3-2 in favor of the Sens, coach Kurt Kleinendorst replaced 19-year old Robin Lehner with Barry Brust. Checkers coach Jeff Daniels replaced Murphy with Pogge after the fifth goal was scored at 11:31 of the middle stanza.
Expect Murphy to be back in nets for game two on Friday night. Expect Charlotte to play a better game, too. Although it’s only game two, it’ll be a “must win” situation for Charlotte. If they into a two games-to-none hole, it’s going to be tough sledding to get out of there. Binghamton would be the host of three straight games. While the Checkers have played well on the road in these playoffs, they’d much rather not face the possibility of elimination on the road.
There’s no time for rest, and the morning skate will probably be optional for both teams. My guess is that the Checkers will have a “full” practice regardless of whether it’s optional or mandatory.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.