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PREVIEW: Barons vs. Toronto

Barons take on Marlies in a rare morning game on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. MST

Monday, 12.11.2012 / 4:30 PM / Boston Pizza Game Preview
By Marc Ciampa  - edmontonoilers.com
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PREVIEW: Barons vs. Toronto
ONLINE TV: AHL Live (PPV)
RADIO: Listen Online Here
PUCK DROP: 9:35 a.m. MST
BARONS vs. MARLIES - GET THE SCOOP


STATS
11 GP 12
6 W 6
4 L 5
0 OTL 0
1 SOL 1
13 P 13
0.591 P% 0.542
3.00 G/G 2.75
2.82 GA/G 3.00
13.4 PP% 20.0
80.4 PK% 71.9
29.4 S/G 27.7
27.2 SA/G 30.8
DATE VIS/HOME FINAL
JAN 6, 2012 OKC @ TOR TOR, 2-0
NOV 8, 2011 TOR @ OKC OKC, 3-1

AT MONDAY'S PRACTICE

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Barons take on the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday morning. That's right, Tuesday morning. That's not a typo. Puck will drop at 9:35 a.m. MST. It is the team's annual school day where elementary students from the OKC area come out to watch the Barons play.

"It kind of gives a different experience. I've been part of these games for quite some time. It's loud, with the screaming and everything like that so it gives the atmosphere a bit of a boost," said Barons head coach Todd Nelson. "These games in the morning, it's pretty unique. Who knows what could happen with these games."

At a time in the day when the team is normally practicing, they will be playing on Tuesday. It could affect the preparedness on both sides.

"We've had some really good games in the morning and there's been other times where both teams were really stale. Hopefully our guys wake up and have their coffee early and get ready to play," said Nelson, who added that in terms of actual preparation the only thing that really changes is the meeting times.

"We don't prepare any differently. This was kind of like our pre-game skate today. Toronto is going to do the same thing and prepare like that. I think we'll do some video work today versus maybe tomorrow. We want them to get focused for the game."

Justin Schultz agreed with his coach.

"It's an early game, so we need to come out, be ready to go and get lots of pucks to the net. Hopefully we can get some goals," he said.

THE REMATCH

Lost in the hoopla of the 'Kids Day' Game is the fact that it will be a rematch of the Western Conference Final. In that series, the Marlies defeated the Barons four-games-to-one. Ironically, both teams aren't off to great starts this season.

"I think both teams will be eager to play each other. You look at Toronto and us, we're kind of mirroring each other with our starts. Toronto won the Western Conference last year (in the playoffs) and we won it in the regular season," said Nelson. "Both teams have targets on their backs. That's the standard. People overlook that sometimes. Toronto's going to get everybody's A game and so are we."

Magnus Paajarvi was looking forward to getting the opportunity to defeat their playoff rivals.

"Revenge, for sure," said Paajarvi. "We were not happy with the loss in Toronto. We thought we had the team to win it but they played well up there and won tight games. We were really frustrated over that. It's definitely revenge time tomorrow."
 
JORDAN HENRY ARRIVES IN OKC

Making his debut for the Barons this weekend was defenceman Jordan Henry. Henry played parts of last season with both Abbotsford and Chicago in the AHL. He was signed last week then recalled from Stockton of the ECHL after two games.

Henry adds a veteran presence to a young Barons blueline.

"We've got a young club, so being an older guy I'm just trying to calm things down a little bit," said Henry. "We've got a ton of scoring and good, young talent so basically my responsibility is just to be solid defensively. That's a part of our game that's maybe been lacking to start the year and if we can tighten that up we have plenty of firepower so we can score and shouldn't be a problem winning games."

The defenceman was thrown into the fire, arriving in Abbotsford just time for the games on the weekend.

"I liked it," he said. "Couldn't be a better start than to go against one of your former teams. That's always exciting and gives you a little extra -- not that I needed a little extra, it was my first game up, anyway. They had good crowds and a good atmosphere, for sure."

GAME PREVIEW

LAST 10: Marlies 5-4-0-1; Barons 5-4-0-1

Season Series: This is the first of only two meetings this season between Oklahoma City and Toronto
. Last season, the teams only met twice during the regular season with the Barons winning at home in a 9:30 a.m. MST start much like tomorrow's game will be. Toronto won 2-0 in January at the Ricoh Coliseum.

The two sides also met in the playoffs in the Western Conference Final with Toronto prevailing in that series four games to one.

Big Story: After a three-game road swing that saw the Barons go 1-2 including a split in Abbotsford this past weekend, they return home for three at the Cox Convention Center. The Barons are off to a modest start this season, as are their fellow Western Conference finalists, the Toronto Marlies.

"I think both teams will be eager to play each other. You look at Toronto and us, we're kind of mirroring each other with our starts. Toronto won the Western Conference last year (in the playoffs) and we won it in the regular season," said Barons head coach Todd Nelson. "Both teams have targets on their backs. That's the standard. People overlook that sometimes. Toronto's going to get everybody's A game and so are we." 

Team Scope:

Marlies: Toronto has received a good portion of their scoring from defencemen, with two of their top-four scorers and three of their top eight being blueliners. Mike Kostka is second on the team with eight points (2g, 6a) in 11 games while Jake Gardiner has seven points (4g, 3a) in 11 outings. ... Keith Aucoin leads the team in scoring with 11 points (1g, 10a) in 11 games. ... Nazem Kadri is off to a slow start with only six points and one goal in 10 games. ... The Marlies are going with a three-goaltender rotation with Jussi Rynnas leading the way with a 0.98 GAA and .968 save percentage. The other two netminders are the always-dangerous Ben Scrivens, who took out the Barons last May, and Mark Owuya. This past weekend, the Marlies won three games in three nights in Texas with three different goaltenders.

Barons: Taylor Hall scored his second goal as a member of the Barons on Saturday, ending a 180-plus minute scoring drought for OKC. Hall now has two goals in four games since joining Oklahoma City. ... Justin Schultz remains atop the AHL's leaderboard with 16 points in 12 games. Schultz has picked up at least a point in 10 of his 12 games this season with the Barons shut out in the other two games. ... Teemu Hartikainen has quietly had a good season with 10 points (3g, 7a) in 12 games.

The Barons will be going with similar lines to Saturday. Hall, Eberle and RNH on the top line, Lander with Hartikainen and Paajarvi, Pitlick with Arcobello and Hamilton and Tyrvainen or House with VandeVelde and Byers.  

Injury Report: Josh Green (ribs) is out. Ryan Martindale (knee) is out. For the Marlies, Spencer Abbott (undisclosed) is questionable and Matt Frattin (knee) is out with a knee injury he suffered back in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. 

Puck Drop: This is a rare morning game for the Barons, though the Marlies are somewhat familiar with it having played against OKC around this time last year when the teams met for a 9:30 a.m. MST puck drop. The early start shouldnt' change much in terms of preparation, according to Barons bench boss Todd Nelson.

"We don't prepare any differently. This was kind of like our pre-game skate today. Toronto is going to do the same thing and prepare like that. I think we'll do some video work today versus maybe tomorrow. We want them to get focused for the game."

- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com

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