Already in the midst of one of the better offensive stretches in their history, the Checkers are getting two of their big guns back from Carolina.
With injury concerns coming to a close – former Checker Riley Nash has come off the disabled list – the Hurricanes reassigned forwards Zach Boychuk and Brett Sutter to Charlotte on Saturday. Should the two be available for that night’s game against Oklahoma City, it would mark their third game in three nights in three different cities, with the Hurricanes picking up a win in Toronto on Thursday and a loss in Columbus on Friday.
Both players, who, along with Chris Terry were part of the Checkers’ first line for most of December, produced in fourth-line roles during their time in Carolina, with Boychuk picking up three points (1g, 2a) in his eight-game stint that began on Dec. 27. Sutter, the Checkers’ captain who began the season in Carolina, had two points in five games beginning Jan. 2, including his first NHL goal since his league debut in 2008.
Despite missing time in Charlotte, the two still rank among the team’s top seven scorers. Boychuk, who still leads the AHL with 10 power-play goals, ranks third after seeing Aaron Palushaj and Terry overtake him in his absence, while Sutter’s 12 assists are tied for fourth on the team. Boychuk, the league's hottest goal scorer at the time of his recall to Carolina, returns with an active five-game point streak at the AHL level that includes five goals and three assists.
The Checkers enter Saturday’s game in Oklahoma City having scored three or more goals in six consecutive games, tying the longest such streak in team history. Thanks to four first-period goals on Friday, they tied their season high with five goals against the Barons.