Checkers Fall in 5OT Marathon
It took 87 minutes of extra hockey to decide a winner of Game 4 of the second-round series between the Charlotte Checkers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and unfortunately for Charlotte, they were on the wrong side of history.
Alex Krushelnyski scored at 6:48 of the fifth overtime to give the Phantoms a 2-1 win in the longest game in the 82-year history of the American Hockey League. Lehigh Valley now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1 and the Checkers face elimination on home ice Saturday night.
But the story was Phantoms goaltender Alex Lyon, who stopped 94 shots, the second-highest total in league history. Charlotte outshot Lehigh Valley 95-53 in the game, and the Checkers had more shots - 54 - in the overtime periods alone than the Phantoms had in the entire game. Lyon was four saves off the league record, set by Michael Leighton in a 2008 5OT game between the Albany River Rats and the then-Philadelphia Phantoms that was the previous record-holder for longest game in AHL history.
But that isn’t to discount the play of Checkers goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who held the Phantoms at bay for more than 130 minutes of game time. “Everybody wrote him off last year like he wasn’t a good goalie as a rookie, but he’s proven everyone wrong again this year,” said Checkers coach Mike Vellucci. “He’s a heck of a goaltender and heck of a prospect, and he played outstanding for us tonight.”
Danick Martel opened the scoring at 16:24 of the first period, and Checkers captain Patrick Brown answered with his first of the playoffs just under seven minutes into the second period. And there it stayed, deadlocked at one through five more periods, with the Checkers firing shot after shot at Lyon but never hitting paydirt.
Then, finally, at 1:09 AM, Krushelnyski put an end to the proceedings and everyone thanked their lucky stars that there is a two-day break before Game 5, a win-or-go-home assignment for the Checkers on Saturday at 6:00.
Press Conference and Reactions
- If you missed the full press conference, watch it here. [Hurricanes]
- Brind’Amour tells Adam and Joe “I was in the backseat, and now I want to drive” (audio). [WRALSportsFan.com]
- Brind’Amour joined the Power Play on SiriusXM, co-hosted by one-time teammate Patrick O’Sullivan, and had some revealing comments about letting players play to their strengths (looking at you, Jeff Skinner). [NHLSiriusXM]
- He also called into NHL Network’s On The Fly.
- And spent a few minutes after the press conference with both Mark Armstrong [ABC11ABC11] and Jeff Gravley [WRAL].
- Brind’Amour to Greg Wyshynski: “I’ve been on this side of the fence for seven years. I’ve never been involved in decisions.” [ESPN]
- How did a phone call changed the life of Canes GM Don Waddell? [News and Observer]
- Waddell told Adam and Joe that the team is comfortable keeping the second overall pick, and would have to be blown away to move it. [WRAL SportsFan (audio)]
- Brind’Amour’s mandate as a head coach is simple: it’s about culture. [News & Observer]
- What Brind’Amour wants to do, he can’t do without Justin Williams. [News&Observer]
- In which Adam and Joe refer to Dundon’s relationship with Rod as a bromance (Dundon post-presser) [WRALSportsFan]
Around the League
- Support new Hurricane Jordan Martinook as he raises money to fight MS by taking part in the MS Bike Tour:
- Meet three draft prospects, one of whom (~~~svechnikov~~~) will be wearing Hurricanes red in all likelihood.
.@MitchLBrown takes an in-depth look at three of the top prospects available for the 2018 entry draft:— The Athletic (@TheAthleticMTL) May 9, 2018
Filip Zadina: https://t.co/jUWY4q95Ko
- Brad Marchand wants to work on character issues. [ESPN]
- Vegas GM McPhee identifies the Shipachyov situation as the seminal moment in defining the Golden Knights culture. [Sin Bin]
- Penguins will make some changes, Jim Rutherford says. [NHL.com]
- Las Vegas was the fourth-highest rated market in NHL TV ratings for second straight round. [ReviewJournal]