IN THE NEWS
BARONS GAME NOTES - APRIL 5
By Jim Byers,
Oklahoma City Barons (33-23-2-8) at Texas Stars (39-17-5-6)
AHL Media Kit: http://admin.leaguestat.com/download.php?file_path=new-pdf/1010897-40.pdf&client_code=ahl
TONIGHT: The Barons bring 3-game winning and 5-game unbeaten streaks into tonight’s 12th and final meeting of the season with the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars). OKC is 4-0-0-1 in its last 5 and catch match its longest unbeaten streak of the season with a win tonight. The Barons are 7-3-0-1 against the Stars, with a 3-1-0-1 mark at Cedar Park Center. OKC enters off a 4-1 win over Hamilton on Tuesday at the Cox Center. Texas has won 2 straight, 4 of 5 and is 6-1-1-1 in its last 9. The Stars lead the AHL with 89 points. OKC is 7th in the Western Conference with 76 points.
OFF THE TOP: OKC is unbeaten in regulation in a franchise-record 7 straight road games, 6-0-0-1. The Barons went 7-3-0-3 in March, which joined November (7-3-1-2) as the winningest months of the season. OKC has standing points in 12 of the last 15 games, going 9-3-0-3. The Barons have allowed 3 goals or fewer in 9 straight games. OKC is 29-9-0-3 when allowing 3 or fewer. Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Hamilton marked the first time since a 2-1 victory on Jan. 19, a span of 25 games, that OKC limited an opponent to just 1 goal in a contest. Yann Danis has played all 7 games since returning from his latest stint with the Edmonton Oilers, going 4-1-2 with a 2.10 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in that time. Goaltender Niko Hovinen last played March 9 vs. Rockford. The last time a goalie other than Danis played was March 10 and 13 at San Antonio, when Olivier Roy, since loaned to ECHL Stockton, earned a pair of wins.
NO. 9 DREAM: Defenseman Garrett Stafford was acquired by the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday from the Washington Capitals for left winger Dane Byers, with both players assigned to their respective AHL affiliates. Stafford, 33, played 48 games for the Hershey Bears this season, registering 1 goal and 20 assists. The former AHL All-Rookie team member and second-team All Star (2004) has 93 AHL goals in 658 league games. OKC is Stafford’s 9th AHL team, joining Cleveland, Worcester, Grand Rapids, Texas, San Antonio, Portland, Hamilton and Hershey.
SPECIALTIES: The Barons have gone a season-high 7 straight games without allowing a power play goal, going 23-for-23 on the penalty kill in that span. The PK percentage has improved from 76.2 prior to the current run to 78.1 entering tonight. OKC is 22-11-2-3 when scoring at least 1 power play goal and 12-4-1-0 when notching 2 or more. The Barons have the league’s top power play percentage at 21.7.
RAJALA’S RUN: Toni Rajala has points in 5 straight (2 goals, 6 assists) and 12 of the last 13 (4G, 13A) and is the Barons’ second-leading scorer on the active roster with 34 points in 36 games. Rajala, who has had 2 stints with ECHL Stockton this season, is tied with current Edmonton Oiler Taylor Hall for 4th overall in Barons scoring for the season behind Mark Arcobello (57 points) and current Oilers Jordan Eberle (51) and Justin Schultz. Rajala’s +16 rating is second on the team behind Martin Marincin’s +18. For the month of March, Rajala’s 16 points (4G, 12A) placed him in a multiple-way tie for the second-most points in the AHL behind a trio of players with 18. Rajala’s +12 rating in March was the league’s best.
PIVOTAL PERFORMERS: Philippe Cornet has 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) and a +8 rating in 28 games since rejoining the Barons from ECHL Stockton for a second time this season Jan. 12. Jonathan Cheechoo has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) and a +6 in 26 games with the Barons since joining the team on a PTO Jan. 23. Cheechoo has amassed his 25 points in 11 games, including 8 multi-point contests. Teemu Hartikainen has 5 points in the last 2 games with 2 goals and 3 assists.
LANDER SETS MARKS, RECEIVES HONOR, GOES UP: Anton Lander is the current CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending on Monday. He had 8 points and a +6 rating in 3 games last week, keyed by an AHL season high and club record 6-point game at Rockford on Saturday. Lander had OKC’s 4th hat trick of the season in addition to 3 assists. His 6-point game was the first in the AHL since Nov. 27, 2010, when Tomas Tatar had 7 points (2G, 5A) for Grand Rapids in a 10-8 win at Chicago. Lander was recalled by the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, his second callup this season.
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