- Created: January 6, 2014 - 11:59 am
- Written by Paul Branecky
Charlotte’s first two games of the new year came against the high-flying Texas Stars, who erased a two-goal deficit to win 5-3 on Thursday before the Checkers got their revenge by way of a 4-3 victory on Friday. As a result, the team enters a lean portion of its schedule that will see it play just two games in the next 11 days ranked 13th in the Western Conference and six points back of the final playoff spot.
With four days off before the Checkers head to Oklahoma City to play games on Friday and Saturday, close attention will be paid to the injury situation in Carolina that has required the Hurricanes to recall Zach Boychuk, Aaron Palushaj and Brett Sutter – three of the Checkers’ top seven scorers – from Charlotte.
Week in Review
Last week's record1-1-0
Last 10 games6-4-0
Texas 5, Checkers 3Charlotte held a 3-1, second-period lead over the visiting Texas Stars in the first of eight meetings between the West Division rivals this season but allowed four unanswered goals to drop an eventual 5-3 decision on Thursday. Philippe Cornet, Brendan Woods and Chris Terry scored goals for Charlotte, with John Muse making 33 saves as the Checkers gave up two power-play goals on two chances and lost their third consecutive home game after winning four straight. Full Recap
Checkers 4, Texas 3One night after a disappointing loss to the Stars, the Checkers got a measure of revenge by picking up a 4-3 victory in Friday’s rematch at Time Warner Cable Arena. Matthew Pistilli, who rejoined the Checkers from the ECHL’s Florida Everblades the previous week, led the way with two goals while goaltender Mike Murphy made 32 saves to pick up his first victory since Oct. 5. Nicolas Blanchard and Beau Schmitz scored the other two goals for the Checkers, who again gave up two power-play goals in two chances before killing the next five and picking up the team’s first shorthanded goal of the season courtesy of Blanchard. Full recap
- Due to an injury to captain Eric Staal, the Hurricanes recalled Checkers scoring leader Aaron Palushaj on Sunday. Read more
Last Week's News
Palushaj Picks up the PacePrior to making his Hurricanes debut on Sunday, the 67th NHL game of his career, forward Aaron Palushaj scored 14 points (3g, 11a) in his last 11 AHL games. During that time period, in which he registered at least one point in nine of those 11 games, he overtook Zach Boychuk for the team's scoring lead with 28 points in 34 games (t-20th AHL).
Palushaj also leads the Checkers with 19 assists, which rank tied for 15th in the AHL and are at least six more than any other Charlotte skater. He is also tied with Chris Terry for the team lead with 91 shots on goal.
Offense Picking UpThe Checkers have scored three or more goals in each of their last five games, their longest such streak since doing it for six consecutive games from Oct. 21-Nov. 4 of last season. The Checkers rank 19th in the AHL with an average of 2.74 goals per game. They are 14-6-0 when scoring at least three goals and 1-12-1 when scoring fewer than three.
Power PlayersThe Checkers, who rank fourth in the AHL with a 23.2 percent success rate on the power play, have scored 38.7 percent of their goals on the power play (36 of 93), which is the highest percentage of any AHL team. However, that percentage has been dropping lately, with 13 of the team's last 16 goals scored at even strength or shorthanded.
For the season, Charlotte's 57 even-strength goals are the fourth-fewest in the league.
Momentary LapsesThe Checkers have allowed two goals within a one-minute span in each of their last six home games dating back to Dec. 15. They are 3-3-0 in those games, though in each of the three losses, the second goal allowed during those spurts ended up counting as the game-winning goal.
Close CallsTen of the Checkers' last 14 games have been decided by one goal. The team has a record of 8-2-0 in that time period that began on Dec. 1. The Checkers have not won a game by more than one goal since defeating Milwaukee by a 4-1 score on Nov. 30.
In their first 20 games prior to Dec. 1, the Checkers played just six one-goal games, posting a record of 2-4-1.
Divided DivisionIn 34 games, the Checkers have played against their own division, the West, just seven times (5-2-0), marking the fewest games that any AHL team has played within its own division. However, six of their next seven will be played against Western teams, with the West counting as the only division that the Checkers have a winning record against.
- Charlotte's three overtime games are the fewest in the league, as is its lone shootout appearance.
- Prior to Nicolas Blanchard's goal on Friday, the Checkers were one of three AHL teams that had yet to score a shorthanded goal.
- Six of Nicolas Blanchard's nine points this season have come in his last eight games. He had three points in his first 26.
- Matt Corrente's plus-7 rating since Dec. 1 leads all Checkers skaters
- The Checkers are one of three AHL teams to have a losing record at home (8-12-0) and a winning record on the road (7-6-1)
- Despite not scoring a goal since Dec. 7 (11 games) Mark Flood is tied for third among all AHL defensemen with eight goals and five power-play goals.
- Charlotte has both scored (33) and allowed (41) more goals in the third period than in any other period.
- Chris Terry has points in each of his last three games (Dec. 30-Jan. 3: 2g, 1a)
- Philippe Cornet has points in each of his last two games (Jan. 2-3: 1g, 2a)
- A.J. Jenks has assists and points in each of his last two games (Jan. 2-3: 0g, 2a)
- Justin Shugg has assists and points in each of his last two games (Jan. 2-3: 0g, 2a)
- Greg Nemisz made his Checkers debut picked up his first Checkers assist/point against Texas on Jan. 3
- Sean Dolan - missed 14 games starting Dec. 1
- Rasmus Rissanen - missed 11 games starting Dec. 10
- Danny Biega - missed nine games starting Dec. 15
- Jared Staal - missed one game starting Jan. 3
- Dec. 30 - (C) Greg Nemisz acquired by Carolina (NHL) and assigned to Charlotte
- Jan. 5 - (RW) Aaron Palushaj recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
- Jan. 2 - (C) Brett Sutter recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
- Dec. 31 - (G) Anton Khudobin recalled to Carolina (NHL) from Charlotte
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|Power play||23.2%||4th||22.9 (3rd)|
|Penalty kill||79.3%||24th||80.8 (t-21st)|
|Goals per game||2.74||19th||2.68 (19th)|
|Shots per game||30.9||11th||30.6 (10th)|
|Goals allowed per game||3.18||t-25th||3.16 (25th)|
|Shots allowed per game||31.5||21st||30.8 (19th)|
|Penalty minutes per game||14.1||6th||14.0 (6th)|
|Points||Aaron Palushaj (28), Zach Boychuk (27), Chris Terry (26)|
|Goals||Zach Boychuk (14), Chris Terry (13), Aaron Palushaj (9)|
|Assists||Aaron Palushaj (19), Zach Boychuk, Chris Terry (13), Victor Rask, Brett Sutter (12)|
|Power play goals||Zach Boychuk (10), Chris Terry (7), Mark Flood (5)|
|Shorthanded goals||Nicolas Blanchard (1)|
|Game-winning goals||Aaron Palushaj (3), five tied at (2)|
|Shots on goal||Aaron Palushaj, Chris Terry (91), Zach Boychuk, Mark Flood (82)|
|Penalty minutes||Nicolas Blanchard (72), Matt Corrente (57), Rasmus Rissanen (43)|
|Plus/minus||Matt Corrente, Brody Sutter (+2), Nicolas Blanchard, Matthew Pistilli, Justin Shugg (0)|
|Wins||John Muse (11), Mike Murphy (2)|
|Goals-against average||John Muse (2.60), Mike Murphy (3.58)|
|Save percentage||John Muse (.915), Mike Murphy (.888)|
Checkers in the NHL
|Carolina Hurricanes (18-16-9: 4th Metropolitan Division)|
|Elias Lindholm||C||21||3||4||7||2||-4||Nine points (2g, 7a) in six games w/ Sweden (silver medal) at WJC|
|Manny Malhotra||C||31||4||4||8||12||5||3 goals in last four games|
|Aaron Palushaj||RW||1||0||0||0||0||0||Made Carolina debut on 1/5|
|Brett Sutter||C||15||1||0||1||9||-5||Scored first NHL goal since 12/23/08 on 1/4|
|Chris Terry||LW||7||0||0||0||0||-3||Reassigned to Charlotte on 11/22|
|Justin Peters||20||7-9-4||2.38||.923||1||Backed up five straight games|
Checkers in the ECHL
|Florida Everblades (20-10-2: 3rd Eastern Conference)|
|Kyle Bonis||F||30||13||6||19||11||+7||Third on team in goals|
|Austin Levi||D||23||0||4||4||22||+2||Recalled to Charlotte on 12/14|
|Stefan Della Rovere||F||-||-||-||-||-||-||On injured reserve|
|Kellan Tochkin||F||26||3||16||19||26||+3||Sixth on team in points, third in assists|
|Jesse Deckert||9||6-1-2||2.71||.891||0||Injured - out for season|