The one where I preview the playoffs

It’s playoff time in Charlotte, and I love it.  I love it so much I did a bit of fine-tuning on the Hershey Bears logo…. I think it looks a lot better like this, don’t you?

Charlotte vs. Hershey – By the Numbers

Overall, the two teams met eight times this season.  Charlotte’s record is 4-3-0-1.

Charlotte Goaltending

Mike Murphy – 4-2-0   ~  2.23 GAA  ~ .930 Save %

Justin Pogge – 0-1-1 ~ 2.64 GAA ~ .922 Save %

Of note regarding this record:  Each netminder made four starts.  Pogge was pulled once, and thrown out of another game with a misconduct penalty and big-time temper tantrum.  Murphy replaced him and ended up taking the loss.

Pogge’s one loss  was a nearly perfect game for him.  Hershey scored the loan goal, about ten minutes into the third period.  So despite him never beating the Hershey bears, he did come close.

The bad news about the Checkers goaltending situation – Murphy hasn’t played since March 20, when he left the game after suffering a concussion at the hands of a goalie-tripping Wilke-Barre Penguin player took him out behind the Checkers net.  Murphy missed the final nine games of the season, and only started skating again this past Monday (April 11), and is considered to be day-to-day.   Based on comments made by Checkers coach Jeff Daniels a week or so ago, I doubt he’s going to start Murphy “cold” after such a long absence, unless of course Pogge blows it big time in the first game.

Braden Holtby guards the net vs. Charlotte on Dec. 10, 2011

Bears Goaltending

Braden Holtby 3-2-0 ~ 3.15 GAA ~ .887 Save %

Dany Sabourin 2-1-0 ~ 2.69 GAA ~ .921 Save %

The Capitals organization has a lot of depth in goal.  Holtby spent a lot of time in Washington this season as the starting netminder, and he could very well still be there today if the Capitals weren’t so deep in goal.  He didn’t seem to have the ability to focus in the games versus Charlotte this season.  I know some of those starts surrounded big call-ups, so maybe his head wasn’t in the game.  I wouldn’t mind if that lack of focus continued for our playoff run!

Charlotte Offensive Leaders vs. Hershey

  • Zach Boychuck – 7GP, 0G, 9A
  • Zac Dalpe – 8 GP, 4G, 4A
  • Chris Terry – 8 GP, 5G, 2A
  • Jacob Micflikier – 8 GP, 4G, 3A
  • Bryan Rodney – 8 GP, 4G, 3A

Hershey Offensive Leaders vs. Charlotte

  • Kyle Greentree – 6GP, 5G, 1A
  • Brian Fahee – 5GP, 0G, 6A
  • Brian Willisee – 8GP, 1G, 4A
  • Boyd Kane – 8GP, 2G, 2A

Zack Fitzgerald leads the Checkers in PIMs with 228

Charlotte PIM Leaders vs. Hershey

  • Brad Herauf – 6GP, 0G, 1A,  29 PIMs
  • Justin Pogge – 4GP, 22 PIMs
  • Zack Fitsgerald – 6GP, 13 PIMs

So… if Pogge can stay on his side of the red line and not get thrown out of the game, and we can make use of our powerplay, we’ve got a shot.  The Checkers scored against Hershey seven times on the PP, vs. Hershey scoring 6 times on the powerplay (and one shorthanded, as well).

Steve Pinizzotto leads the Bears with 178 PIMs

Hershey PIM Leaders vs. Hershey

  • Brian Willisie – 8GP, 16 PIMs
  • Boyd Kane – 8GP, 14 PIMs
  • Zach Miskovic – 8GP, 12 PIMs
  • Kyle Greentree – 6GP, 10 PIMs
  • Steve Pinizzotto – 7GP, 9 PIMs

Wrap-up thoughts about the series

I’m anxious to see if Murphy gets a shot this series.  I think he’s the proven winner vs. Hershey, but it’s complicated with his recent injury.  If Holtby keeps it together, Hershey could be a tough team to beat.

Last year in the division finals, the Bears swept the River Rats in four games on the way to winning the Calder Cup.  Many of those former River Rats and current Checkers remember that, and I hope they use it to put some extra fight into their game.

With the Hurricanes not in the playoffs, Charlotte may have a slight edge on roster depth.  Nobody is at risk for being called up, where Hershey isn’t in the same boat.   Generally speaking though, the teams are relatively evenly matched, which should make for an exciting series that could easily go the full seven games.

Let’s Go Checkers!


2 thoughts on “The one where I preview the playoffs

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