By Jim Byers, on 05/18/2012

(2) Toronto Marlies at (1) Oklahoma City Barons
Calder Cup Playoffs | Series “N” Western Conference Finals, Game 2 | Toronto leads 1-0
May 18, 2012, 7 pm CDT  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM; NHL Home Ice on SiriusXM Satellite Radio

TONIGHT: The Barons host the Toronto Marlies (Toronto Maple Leafs) in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. This best-of-7 series continues on Monday afternoon at 2 pm CDT on Victoria Day in Canada. Games 3, 4 and (if necessary) 5 will take place at Ricoh Coliseum in the 2-3-2 series format. These teams split a 2-game regular season series with the home teams winning both. Late empty-net goals made each final score a 2-goal margin. OKC secured the No 1 seed in the Western Conference with 99 regular season points. Toronto is the No. 2 seed with 96 points.

OFF THE TOP: Last night’s 5-0 Toronto victory marked the first road win for a team in the 5 combined regular season and playoff meetings between the Barons and Marlies. These teams share a league-best 5-0 road record during the post-season. Two of OKC’s 3 playoff losses this season have been shutouts. Houston’s Mike Brodeur stymied the Barons 1-0 on April 22 in the opening round. OKC has been blanked in 2 straight against the Marlies dating to their most recent regular season matchup Jan. 6 at Toronto, when Jussi Rynnas logged a 2-0 win. The Barons have gone 121:16 of playing time without scoring against the Marlies in the past 2-plus games. The 5-goal losing margin last night was the largest in OKC’s 16-game Calder Cup history and the biggest since a 7-0 setback on this season’s Oct. 9 opener at Texas.

UPPER ECHELON: The Barons and Marlies finished the regular season with the second and third best records in the AHL. OKC had 99 points and Toronto 96, behind only Norfolk’s 113. The top 2 seeds in each conference have made the league’s final 4 for the first time since 1987, with No. 1 Norfolk leading St. John’s 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals after a 6-1 win last night. OKC and Toronto each won their previous series with 4 straight wins after dropping series openers against San Antonio and Abbotsford, respectively.

PLAYOFF PATTER: The Barons have out-shot their opposition in 8 of 10 playoff games by a total margin of 338-245. Toronto out-shot OKC last night 32-31. Opponents are averaging 24.5 shots per game against OKC, which matches Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the league lead in fewest shots allowed. The Barons have scored the first goal in 8 of 10 playoff games, the only games where they haven’t scored first were their 2 shutout losses. The Barons are 7-1 when scoring the first goal.

DEFENSE FIRST: The Marlies and Barons finished 1-2 in goals against and penalty killing during the regular season. Toronto’s PK rate was 88.1, while OKC’s was 85.6. Overall, the Marlies allowed a league-low 175 goals to OKC’s 176. Yann Danis, the AHL’s Goaltender of the Year, was second only to Toronto’s Ben Scrivens in goals-against average, 2.07 to 2.04. Danis went 1-1-0 with a 1.01 GAA and .959 save percentage in 2 meetings with Toronto this regular season. Last night was the first time OKC had faced Scrivens.

FRONT-RUNNING: The Barons did not trail during any of the 3 games at San Antonio (all OKC wins) during the previous series. OKC had a lead or tie for 310:49 of the 328:35 playing minutes during the 5-game set with the Rampage. OKC trailed for 4:39 of Game 1 (a 6-4 home loss) and 13:07 of Game 2 (a 5-4 home OT win), a total of 17:46. Seven of San Antonio’s 15 goals during that series came on the power play and 8 of the Rampage’s goals were scored in the third period. The Barons have out-scored the opposition during the playoffs 8-5 in the first period and 12-8 in the second, but have been out-scored 8-11 in the third.

RARE COMPANY: Chris VandeVelde scored overtime goals in consecutive games of the previous series at San Antonio, ending Games 3 and 4 by 2-1 final scores. VandeVelde is the second player in AHL history to record back-to-back overtime goals in the same series and the first since Rochester’s Jim Wiemer in 1983. VandeVelde is the eighth AHLer with 2 OT goals in a single series and he shares, with 30 others, the all-time mark for overtime winners in a playoff season.

Recent Results:
Date        Opp.     Result     OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie            Attn.
May 3      SA         L, 4-6       Danis (6, 23)                   Markstrom (4, 26)       2,833
May 5      SA         W, 5-4 OT Danis (4, 22)                   Markstrom (5, 32)       2,962
May 7      @ SA     W, 2-1 OT Danis (1, 25)                   Markstrom (2, 34)       3,678
May 10    @ SA     W, 2-1 OT Danis (1, 30)                   Markstrom (2, 28)       3,836
May 11    @ SA     W, 4-3      Danis (3, 22)                   Markstrom (4, 27)       4,775

May 17    Tor         L, 0-5       Danis (5, 27)                   Scrivens (0, 31)         2,596

Upcoming Series Schedule (all times Central):
Date        Opp.          Site                                Time   Broadcast
May 21     @ Tor         Ricoh Coliseum               2:00     KXY 96.1 FM
May 23     @ Tor         Ricoh Coliseum               6:00     KXY 96.1 FM
May 25*   @ Tor         Ricoh Coliseum               6:00     KXY 96.1 FM
May 28*   Tor              Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
May 30*   Tor              Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
* If necessary             

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