It seems the Checkers won’t be missing Zach Boychuk after all.
The recently-honored Second-Team AHL All-Star returns to Charlotte Saturday morning following another 24-hour stint with the Hurricanes. Boychuk logged an NHL season-high 15:34 of ice time in Friday’s win over the Detroit Red Wings while playing on line with Eric Staal and also featuring on the power play.
Boychuk, who has four points (1g, 3a) in 11 games with Carolina this season, is now on track to be available for the Checkers’ game against Grand Rapids on Sunday afternoon – one of three remaining regular-season games that should all be considered must-wins in order to maximize the team’s chances of making the playoffs. He leads the AHL with 36 goals, 18 power-play goals and ranks second with 72 points in 66 games.
Despite playing two games with Carolina in the last nine days, Boychuk, the reigning AHL Player of the Month, did not miss any games with Charlotte during that time. Carolina’s first-round pick in 2008 has 27 points (13g, 14a) in his last 20 AHL games since March 1.
The Checkers should now be able to utilize the same lineup as they did in Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Griffins. They may even be able to enhance it as forwards Nicolas Blanchard and Aaron Palushaj and defenseman Ryan Murphy are all day-to-day with injuries and are thought to be nearing returns, while forward Sergey Tolchinsky, who joined the Checkers at the conclusion of his junior season on Friday, should also be available.
- Written by Paul Branecky