GAME 5 PREVIEW: Barons at Marlies
Down 3 games to 1, Barons have one more chance to take series back to OKC
|TV: AHL Live (PPV)
RADIO: Listen Online
PUCK DROP: 5:05 p.m. MDT
AT THE MORNING SKATEToronto, ON - It's do or die for the Oklahoma City Barons tonight at the Ricoh Coliseum (Game Time 5:00 p.m. MDT).
After two losses in Toronto where the team deserved a better fate in Games 3 and 4, only the results matter here in Game 5. If Oklahoma City wins, the series extends back to OKC for Games 6 and 7. If they lose, the season is over.
"It's a very big game, obviously. We had good spirit on the ice (this morning) and I think the guys have confidence within themselves. We'll have to go out there and play a good game tonight. Toronto's a good hockey team and we have to make sure we go out there and play very solid," began Barons head coach Todd Nelson.
"It's a good group of guys. They know if they work together they'll have success. It's been a good series. We're down three to one but games could have went either way the last couple. We have to make sure we go out there and play a solid hockey game and let the chips fall tonight."
Yann Danis gets the start in goal tonight once again for the Barons. Tyler Pitlick did not take part in the morning skate but is expected to suit up tonight.
THEMS THE BREAKS
Last game, OKC outshot Toronto 30 to 16 but still lost 3-0 (with an empty netter). Both Toronto goals were off questionable bounces with one being scored from behind the goal line. Meanwhile, the Barons had a goal called back that likely would have stood had the AHL offered video replay.
But none of that matters to Nelson, who reiterated that results are the only thing that matters from here on out.
"Right now we're concerned with results. It doesn't matter how much zone time we have, it doesn't matter how many shots we have, we have to score goals -- and timely goals. And special teams come into play with that. We've got to make sure we're sharp tonight," he said.
First at hand for the Barons is solving goaltender Ben Scrivens, Through four games, the Barons have only scored on the Edmonton-area product eight times, with four of those goals coming in Game 2.
"We're in a position where we have (to face) good goaltenders. It doesn't matter who you play at this time in the season. It doesn't matter who it is, whether it's Marty Brodeur or Ben Scrivens, you have to get in front of the goaltender," Nelson remarked. "I think they're doing the same thing, they're going to put traffic in front of our goaltender. That's the key for anybody in the playoffs."
Not getting the breaks so far in this series isn't something that defenceman Alex Plante is concerned with.
"That's the game of hockey. There's breaks we've gotten too throughout the course of the playoffs," he said.
Chris VandeVelde also feels that breaks -- or lack thereof -- aren't a big issue.
"We've just got to play hard. We ran into a hot tender and he's been playing really well. We've just got to get more shots and more traffic in front of him and keep playing the way we are," VandeVelde stated.
KADRI, ZIGOMANIS REMAIN OUT
Nazem Kadri, Mike Zigomanis, Marcel Mueller and Jesse Blacker are all out of the lineup tonight for Toronto due to injury. Losing Kadri and Zigomanis for the second straight game is the most costly loss for the Marlies.
"Whenever you lose key players, it hurts but Toronto is deep. They may be losing a bit of skill but they have guys who can come in here and fill the void," cautioned Plante.
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
GAME NOTES FROM OKCBARONS.COM
(1) Oklahoma City Barons at (2) Toronto Marlies
Calder Cup Playoffs | Series “N” Western Conference Finals, Game 5 | Toronto leads 3-1
May 25, 2012, 6 pm CDT | Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, ON
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM
TONIGHT: The Barons look to continue this best-of-7 series in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) at Ricoh Coliseum. The Marlies took a 3-1 series lead with their second shutout of the series on Wednesday, 3-0. The winner of this series will face the league’s No. 1 seed, Norfolk, in the Calder Cup Finals. OKC is the No 1 seed in the Western Conference with 99 regular season points. Toronto is the No. 2 seed with 96 points. The teams met twice in the regular season, with the home team winning each time.
OFF THE TOP: OKC will try to become the 18th team in AHL history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 series. It happened twice last year, with Binghamton defeating Manchester and Manitoba rallying over Lake Erie. This is the second time in OKC’s 2-season playoff history it has faced elimination. The Barons dropped their only elimination game last year, Game 6 of the first round at Hamilton. This is the first time during the current postseason the Barons have trailed a series by 2 games and only the fourth time all year (regular season and playoffs) they’ve lost consecutive games in regulation. OKC has dropped its last 2 road games after winning the first 5 away from home this spring. Three of the Barons’ 5 playoff losses this season have been shutouts. It happened twice this series and in Game 3 of the first round against Houston’s Mike Brodeur. Mark Arcobello remains tied for second in the playoffs with 13 points (5G, 8A).
PLAYOFF PATTER: The Barons have scored first in 9 of 13 playoff games, going 8-1 when scoring first and 0-4 when allowing the first goal. Three of the 4 times the Barons have failed to score first they were shut out. The Barons have out-shot the opposition throughout the playoffs 423-316. Opponents are averaging a league-low 24.31 shots per game against OKC.
SPECIALTIES: The Barons are 2-for-22 on the power play this series. The Marlies are 3-for-17. Including both regular season meetings, OKC has killed 28 of 31 Marlies power plays and Toronto 28 of 30 OKC tries.
RARE COMPANY: Chris VandeVelde scored overtime goals in consecutive games of the previous series at San Antonio, ending Games 3 and 4 by 2-1 final scores. VandeVelde is the second player in AHL history to record back-to-back overtime goals in the same series and the first since Rochester’s Jim Wiemer in 1983. VandeVelde is the eighth AHLer with 2 OT goals in a single series and he shares, with 30 others, the all-time mark for overtime winners in a playoff season.
Date Opp. Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie Attn.
May 17 Tor L, 0-5 Danis (5, 27) Scrivens (0, 31) 2,596
May 18 Tor W, 5-1 Danis (1, 27) Scrivens (4, EN, 22) 2,621
May 21 @ Tor L, 3-5 Danis (4, EN, 22) Scrivens (3, 25) 7,327
May 23 @ Tor L, 0-3 Danis (L)/LeNeveu Scrivens (0, 30) 6,238
Upcoming Series Schedule (all times Central):
Date Opp. Site Time Broadcast
May 28* Tor Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
May 30* Tor Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
* If necessary