The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won their first round 3 games to 0 and will meet the Manchester Monarchs in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The expected lines, based off the end of last series, would be:
Conor Sheary - Andrew Ebbett - Tom Kostopoulos
Tom Kuhnhackl- Carter Rowney - Dominik Uher
Scott Wilson - Jayson Megna - Kasperi Kapanen
Pierre-Luc Leblond- J.S.Dea- Bobby Farnham
The team might rotate Oskar Sundqvist in there, but he has been skating with the reserves this week. The Pens could get even better since Bryan Rust and Nick Drazenovic are skating again and may be back from injury soon. Seems like Rust is the closer of the two to returning. There's also Matia Marcantuoni, Josh Archibald and Adam Payerl as notable depth forwards.
Defensively the team goes with:
Brian Dumoulin - Taylor Chorney
Derrick Pouliot - Reid McNeil
Scott Harrington - Barry Goers
With the team having Danny Syvret and Nick D'Agostino as the next men up.
AHL goalie of the year and rookie phenom Matt Murray has been perfect in his postseason debut, going 3-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .965 save % in the first round sweep. Vet Jeff Zatkoff will backup.
Pens & @MonarchsHockey series starts tomorrow in Manchester. Home games Saturday & Monday. Tix http://t.co/j8VxoGRApb pic.twitter.com/vRVLR7OwkP— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) May 6, 2015
The How (to follow):
Jonathan Bombulie (twitter ; blog) is a great read as the beat reporter.
Tony Androck (twitter ; blog) is a blogger who usually goes to all the games, home and away.
Radio for the games: wbspenguins.com
The Pens will play the Manchester Monarchs - who were the best regular season team in the AHL this season with a 50-17-6 record. Their leading scorer was 26 year old Brian O'Neill who scored 80 points (22 goals + 58 assists) in 71 games- good enough to win the AHL scoring championship and be named league MVP. Not far behind him was his linemate 22 year old Jordan Weal with 60 points (20g+ 49a) in 73 games, good for 3rd in the league in scoring.
They have other notable players/NHL prospects like Colin Miller, Michael Mersch, Nick Shore, Derek Forbort. They have veterans like Sean Backman, Jeff Schultz and David Van Der Gulik to round out the team.
The Monarchs won a tight series with the 8th seeded Portland Pirates, which was somewhat surprising on the surface given that Manchester had such a great regular season, but ended up giving up 15 goals in the 5 games in the playoffs. Still, they did enough to win and are a formidable foe for the Pens.
The season series:
Gotta credit Bombulie for this breakdown:
Oct. 12, home: Manchester 4, Penguins 1
Brian O’Neill got his MVP campaign off to a strong start with a goal and an assist in the second game of the year. The Monarchs scored four times on just 14 shots.
Nov. 22, home: Manchester 3, Penguins 2
The Monarchs took a 2-0 lead, the Penguins tied it on PPGs from Jean-6 Dea and Conor Sheary and Jordan Weal scored the game-winner at 5:27 of the third.
March 6, road: Manchester 6, Penguins 3
This one was all Monarchs. Weal had two goals and an assist. Zatkoff stopped 22 of 28. The Penguins only had 18 shots on goal.
March 7, road: Penguins 3, Manchester 0
In his only start against the Monarchs this season, Murray made them one of his shutout victims with a 32-save effort. Matia Marcantuoni, Sheary and Tom Kuhnhackl scored as the Penguins got one goal in each period.
Interestingly, the two goalies that will meet in the playoffs, didn't play against each other this season. Zatkoff lost all 3 games he played, whereas the Manchester backup lost 1 game to Murray.