Oklahoma City holds the top spot in the AHL with 73 points (to Charlotte’s 65). Although the Barons have dominated the season this year, they haven’t been able to conquer the Checkers. Charlotte leads the series 4-1-1, with the Barons having only one win in regulation.
- Both Charlotte and Oklahoma City are without their starting goaltenders. Earlier this week, Yann Danis was recalled by Edmonton and Mike Murphy by Carolina. Neither team is struggling with their number two goalies though. David LeNeveau is 13-6-2, and has a 2.00 GAA and .926 SV%. John Muse is 9-3-1 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 SV%.
- Tonight marks former Checkers captain Bryan Rodney’s first return to Charlotte. He was traded last week by the Anaheim Ducks to the Edmonton Oilers for centerman Ryan O’Marra.
- In games against Oklahoma City this season, Brett Sutter and Bobby Sanguinetti lead the Checkers with five points each. Sutter’s two goals and three assists come in only five appearances. Sanguinetti has one goal and four assists in six games.
- When you peruse Oklahoma City’s statistics, you don’t see a lot of leaders in the point categories, but what you do see, is an unbelievable penalty kill and ability to keep the opposing team from scoring goals. They’ve scored 156 goals this season, but allowed only 113. By contrast, Charlotte has scored 152 goals, and only allowed 145.
- Jason Shaya took part in the morning skate, but David Caruso will back up John Muse tonight. It’s his third recall for the Checkers. I want to know when they are going to #PutShayaIn
- The Checkers had 12 forwards and six defensemen on the ice this morning. Tonight could mark Chris Durno’s return since being injured on New Year’s Even in Chicago, though based on his extensive post-skate work with the coaching staff, as the Magic 8 Ball says, “Outlook Not Good.” If Durno can’t go, Charlotte will need to make a recall, or dress a front office person such as Nathan Beasley, who tells me he can’t skate, which might be a tough weakness to overcome.
- Chris Murray, who hasn’t played a game since January 17, skated during the morning skate today, however he was in a no-contact sweater.
- Riley Nash also skated in a limited capacity this morning in a yellow sweater. He last played on February 10 in Milwaukee.
- Mike Murphy, Jerome Samson and Drayson Bowman remain with the Hurricanes. Cam Ward has been practicing with the team, and so has backup netminder Brian Boucher who suffered a groin injury in December, so Murphy may return to Charlotte soon.
Gametime: 7:00 p.m. EST