Oklahoma City Barons (9-5-1-1) at Charlotte Checkers (12-3-0-2)
- The Oklahoma City Barons are in second in their division and fourth in the Western conference, while the Checkers sit in first in the entire AHL.
- The Barons have, undoubtedly, the most highly touted team in terms of NHL talent. Rookie defenseman Justin Schultz leads the league in scoring with 23 points (9g, 14a). Schultz, you might recall, signed with the Edmonton Oilers during the offseason as a free agent after being drafted by the Anaheim Ducks and choosing not to sign there.
- As if it’s not enough to have the number one scorer on your team, three of the top five in the league are Barons. Jordan Eberle has 21 points (7g, 14a) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 19 points (7g, 12a).
- In addition to the above high-scorers, Taylor Hall is also a member of the Barons. Like Nugent-Hopkins, he was a number one, first-round draft pick for Edmonton. Though he’s only played in eight games, he already has nine points (4g, 5a).
- The Barons and Checkers rivalry is one that continues to grow in its second season. The Barons had the best record in the Western Conference, and despite that, the Checkers were able to find a chink in their amour, and had a 5-1-1-1 record against the Barons, which if I’m not mistaken, made the Checkers the only team with a regular season winning record against the Barons.
- The Barons and Checkers didn’t have much of a Thanksgiving break. Each team last played (and won) on the road on Wednesday night.
- The games this weekend should be pretty intense. The Checkers and Barons have the two best power play units in the league. Fortunately for Checkers fans, Charlotte is the seventh-best penalty kill, and the Barons are close to the bottom of the list in 28th.
- Some stats Checkers fans will appreciate knowing about:
- Zach Boychuk leads the league in game winning goals with four.
- Drayson Bowman is second in shots on goal with 57.
- Bowman and Boychuk are among the top five in goals scored with 11 and 10 respectively.
- Bowman also is tied with three other players to sit atop the most power play goals, with five.
- Dan Ellis is among the best goalies in the league with a .948 SV% and 1.71 GAA.
- Justin Peters, with one shootout appearance under his belt, has a perfect record after stopping all five shots he faced.
For some great coverage and info on the Barons, check out these links:
- Chasing Checkers interview with OKC bloggers this season.
- Artful Puck
- Tend the Farm
- And because there are too many twitter accounts to list, be sure to follow the “Game Day Twitter” list.
Let’s Go Checkers!