Win with Papa John's
Charlotte Checkers News Harris Teeter

Weekly Report: Jan. 6, 2014

Charlotte Checkers Weekly Report
The Checkers earned a home split against one of the league's top teams last week, with more of their top players earning a shot in the NHL along the way.

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

Team Statistics

  • Overall record
    15-18-1
  • Home record
    8-12-0
  • Road record
    7-6-1
  • Last week's record
    1-1-0
  • Last 10 games
    6-4-0
  • Division Standings
    4th
  • Conference Standings
    13th
  • League Standings
    27th

Texas 5, Checkers 3

Charlotte 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 3

One 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

Notables

Aaron Palushaj
  • 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 Pace

Prior 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 Up

The 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 Players

The 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 Lapses

The 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 Calls

Ten 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 Division

In 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.

Quick Hits

  • 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.

Player Streaks

  • 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)

Milestones

  • Greg Nemisz made his Checkers debut picked up his first Checkers assist/point against Texas on Jan. 3

Injuries

  • 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

Transactions

Incoming

  • Dec. 30 - (C) Greg Nemisz acquired by Carolina (NHL) and assigned to Charlotte

Outgoing

  • 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

Coming Up

Friday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. - Checkers at Oklahoma City

Saturday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. - Checkers at Oklahoma City

By the Numbers

Team Statistics
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)
Team Leaders
CATEGORY LEADER(S)
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)
Player POS GP G A PTS PIM +/- NOTES
Zach Boychuk LW 7 0 2 2 0 1  
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
Goaltender GP RECORD GAA SV% SO NOTES
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)
Player POS GP G A PTS PIM +/- NOTES
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
Goaltender GP RECORD GAA SV% SO NOTES
Jesse Deckert 9 6-1-2 2.71 .891 0 Injured - out for season
Paul Branecky
Author: Paul BraneckyEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Checkers' vice president of communications, Paul Branecky has been covering hockey in North Carolina since 2006, including five seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes.