Week in Review
Last week's record2-0-0
Last 10 games9-0-1
Checkers 5, Providence 3In a pivotal game against a division rival, the Checkers came out on top against the Providence Bruins Friday night. The back-and-forth contest saw both sides trading goals until the Bruins knotted the score at three early on in the final frame. The Checkers got the last laugh, however, with Trevor Carrick firing in a power-play tally midway through the period to put Charlotte ahead. The Checkers locked down from there, with Jeremy Smith turning aside 29 shots total and Lucas Wallmark delivering a dagger of a goal in the final minute to make it a 5-3 victory for the Checkers. Full recap
Checkers 4, Bridgeport 1The Checkers still had something to play for in their regular season finale against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After the home team broke the ice with an early tally it was all Charlotte, as Trevor Carrick pumped in a power-play goal later in the first and Warren Foegele followed up with an impressive individual effort to start the second. The Sound Tigers’ rally attempt would never formulate, and a pair of empty-net tallies from Julien Gauthier and Warren Foegele would seal the 4-1 victory for the Checkers, locking them into the number three seed in the Atlantic Division. Full recap
Three Stars Of The Week
Warren Foegele2g, 0a
Trevor Carrick2g, 1a
Lucas Wallmark1g, 3a
PLAYOFF PICTUREThis season saw Charlotte post the best record of its eight AHL campaigns. The team’s 96 points is the highest total since the league moved to a 76-game schedule prior to the 2011-12 season, and its .632 points percentage also tops the franchise record of .606 that was set in the inaugural 2010-11 campaign (80 games played).
The Checkers are also the AHL’s hottest team heading into the playoffs. They carry a seven-game win streak, which ties a franchise record, and a 10-game point streak (9-0-1), which is their longest since a franchise-record, 12-game run in 2015-16. The Checkers have lost just two of their last 18 games in regulation since March 3 (15-2-1).
PLAYOFF BOUNDBy finishing third in the Atlantic Division, the Checkers have qualified for the playoffs for the fourth time in the franchise’s eight-year history, and in consecutive years for the first time ever.
The Checkers will now face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who they posted a 3-1-0 record against during the regular season. The teams also met during the 2011 postseason (Charlotte’s only other season in the Eastern Conference), with Charlotte winning their second-round matchup in six games. That was the Checkers’ most recent playoff series victory as the team lost in the first round in its only other postseason appearances in 2013 and 2017.
SCORING MACHINESThe Checkers posted the league’s most prolific offense in the regular season with an average of 3.45 goals per game. Charlotte, which also had the league’s No. 3 power play at 20.4 percent, is one of only two AHL teams with four 20-goal scorers and is the only team in the league with eight 40-point scorers.
The Checkers scored three or more goals in 52 of their 76 games this season and logged a 42-8-2 record in those contests. The team also finished with a +50 goal differential, the third-best mark in the AHL.
BIG Z BRINGS HOME THE HARDWAREchampion. Zykov, who also led the league with 17 power-play goals and set a new league record with a shooting percentage of 29.5, scored more goals this season than in his previous two AHL seasons combined (21). The Russian foward also spent time at the NHL level with the Carolina Hurricanes this season, recording seven points (3g, 4a) in 10 games.
Zykov is the second Checker to win the award during the franchise’s AHL tenure, joining Zach Boychuk’s effort from 2013-14, and his 33 goals are the third-most in a single-season in franchise history.
BROKEN RECORDSZykov isn’t the only one to land in the record books this season. Lucas Wallmark led the Checkers in scoring with 55 points (17g, 38a) in just 45 games, giving him a pace of 1.22 points per game that set a new franchise record and was the highest of any AHL skater (10 or more games played).
Philip Samuelsson led the AHL with a staggering +44 rating, the highest by an AHL player since Arturs Kulda and P.K. Subban posted ratings of plus-47 and plus-46, respectively, in the 2009-10 season. The blue liner nearly tripled the previous franchise record of +16, set most recently a season ago by Haydn Fleury, while his frequent partner Roland McKeown finished third in the AHL with a +34 rating, also shattering the previous high mark. In fact, Warren Foegele (+22), Patrick Brown (+18) and Janne Kuokkanen (+17) all eclipsed the past franchise record this season.
Foegele finished second in the AHL with 28 tallies on the year, surpassing Lucas Wallmark’s rookie record from a season ago, as did Aleksi Saarela with his 25 goals. Foegele also set a new franchise record with nine game-winning goals, leading the league and snapping Chris Terry’s previous high mark from 2011-12.
Saarela made the record books in his own right as well, with his 11 power-play goals far eclipsing the Zac Dalpe-held rookie record of seven.
BETWEEN THE PIPESNot to be outdone, Alex Nedeljkovic was part of a three-way tie for the AHL lead in victories with 31, a franchise record that nearly quadruples the eight he posted as a rookie last season. Nedeljkovic, who tied for third in the league with five shutouts and scored his second goal as a professional on March 10, has posted a 13-3-1 record, 2.25 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and three shutouts since Feb. 9. He has not played since March 30 due to injury, with Jeremy Smith (5-0-0) and Callum Booth (2-0-0) also finding success during that time.
- Valentin Zykov led the league in goals (33), power-play goals (17) and shooting percentage (29.5) and ranked fourth in power-play points (31)
- Lucas Wallmark led all skaters with at least 10 games played in points per game (1.22)
- Warren Foegele led the league in game-winning goals (9), tied for third in shorthanded goals (4) and points (6), ranked second among AHL rookies in goals (28), ranked eighth among rookies in points (46) and ranked fifth among rookies in plus-minus (+22)
- Philip Samuelsson led the league in plus-minus (+44)
- Trevor Carrick tied for second in the AHL in power-play assists (22), ranked fourth among AHL blue liners in assists (33), eighth in goals (11) and sixth in scoring (44) and ranked fourth among defensemen in power-play points (26)
- Roland McKeown ranked third in the AHL in plsu-minus (+34)
- Alex Nedeljkovic tied for the league lead in wins (31), ranked fourth in minutes played (2726) and tied for third in shutouts (5)
- Aleksi Saarela tied for the lead among league rookies in powr-play goals (11), ranked third in goals (25) and tied for 12th in scoring (43)
- Janne Kuokkanen ranked eight among AHL rookies in assists (29) and tied for 15th in scoring (40)
- Jake Chelios missed 21 games starting 2/24
- Alex Nedeljkovic missed seven games starting 3/31
- Marcus Kruger missed one game starting 4/15
Friday, April 20 at 7 pm - Checkers vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
Saturday, April 21 at 6 pm - Checkers vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
By the Numbers
|CATEGORY||RECORD||AHL RANK||LAST WEEK|
|Goals per game||3.45||1st||t-1st|
|Shots per game||29.71||19th||t-17th|
|Goals allowed per game||2.79||8th||10th|
|Shots allowed per game||26.84/td>||2nd||4th|
|Penalty minutes per game||11.87||9th||9th|
|Points||Lucas Wallmark (55), Valentin Zykov (54), Andrew Miller (52)|
|Goals||Valentin Zykov (33), Warren Foegele (28), Aleksi Saarela (25)|
|Assists||Lucas Wallmark (38), Andrew Miller (37), Trevor Carrick (33)|
|Power play goals||Valentin Zykov (17), Aleksi Saarela (11), Andrew Poturalski (9)|
|Shorthanded goals||Warren Foegele (4), Nicolas Roy, Clark Bishop (2)|
|Game-winning goals||Warren Foegele (9), Valentin Zykov, Andrew Poturalski (7)|
|Shots on goal||Trevor Carrick (167), Warren Foegele (160), Aleksi Saarela (147)|
|Penalty minutes||Trevor Carrick (85), Josiah Didier (79), Zack Stortini (71)|
|Plus/minus||Philip Samuelsson (+44), Roland McKeown (+34), Warren Foegele (+22)|
|Wins||Alex Nedeljkovic (31)|
|Goals-against average||Alex Nedeljkovic (2.55)|
|Save percentage||Alex Nedeljkovic (.903)|