At approximately 1:03 AM this morning, a Ryan Carpenter overtime goal in San Jose would officially put an end to the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Since Friday, the field of 8 has been set…and there are some surprises.
-On Sunday, the top two seeds in the Atlantic were both knocked out in Game 5’s:
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the regular season champs, became the first team since 1996 to finish first overall in the AHL, then get knocked out in the first round after Providence defeated the Penguins 2-1. Lehigh Valley, the second seed, would go down in Game 5 to Hershey 3-2. In any other season, these would be two major upsets, but with the strength of the top 5 teams in the division (Bridgeport, the 5th place team, would have ran away with the North Division title if the old crossover rule was still in effect), both series truly could have gone in either direction.
The Atlantic Division Finals will get underway on Saturday in Hershey, with Game 2 to follow Sunday afternoon. The series will then shift to Rhode Island on May 11th, 12th, and the 14th if necessary. Games 6 and 7 would be in Hershey on May 16th and 17th.
-The Central Division gets underway tonight in Chicago, as the Wolves and Grand Rapids will square off. Game 2 is Friday in Chicago, then the series shifts to Michigan on Saturday for Game 3 and Monday for Game 4. If necessary, Game 5 is May 13th in Chicago, Game 6 May 15th in Grand Rapids, and Game 7 May 16th in Chicago.
-Syracuse and Toronto will kick off the North Division finals in central New York, with Game 1 on Friday and Game 2 Saturday. The series then heads to Canada for Game 3 May 9th and Game 4 on May 10th. If necessary, Game 5 is May 13th in Syracuse, Game 6 May 15th in Toronto, and Game 7 May 17th in Syracuse.
-Finally, in the Pacific, San Jose and San Diego both finished off 5 game series wins on Tuesday, with the Barracuda finishing off Stockton and the Gulls eliminating Ontario. Their division final gets started on Friday in San Jose, followed by Game 2 on Saturday. The series moves to San Diego on May 10th, with Game 4 on the 12th. If necessary, Game 5 is May 13th, then Games 6 and 7 are in San Jose on May 16th and 17th.
Two pieces of Devils news to report (as we are still celebrating the Draft Lottery win on Saturday):
-Vojtech Mozik became the first departure on Wednesday, signing with the KHL’s HC Vityaz Podolsk. Thus begins the fun with translation season.
Stay tuned as the season in review returns with Part 2 tomorrow night…