After wrapping up their semifinal series with a 5-1 win over the Texas Stars on Thursday night at the Cox Convention Center, the Barons will be off for one week before they open the Western Conference Finals next weekend on the road against either Grand Rapids or Toronto.
The Griffins own a 2-1 edge in their best-of-7 series against the Marlies. The series continues with Games 4 and 5 this weekend in Grand Rapids, Mich. If necessary, the series will continue Tuesday and Wednesday in Toronto.
Oklahoma City will host the middle three games in the Western Conference Finals. Game 3 will be at the Cox Convention Center on May 29 (a Wednesday). Game 4 will be May 31 (a Friday). Game 5 will be June 1 (a Saturday).
DANIS STAYS HOT
Barons 31-year-old goaltender Yann Danis nearly recorded his second shutout in the series on Thursday. The Stars scored a power-play goal with 2:57 remaining.
Recording 33 saves in the series clinching win Thursday night, Danis is 7-3 with a 2.19 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in the playoffs.
“Yann has been our backbone, not just the playoffs but down the stretch to help us get in,” said team captain Josh Green. “He's playing unbelievable with so much poise. We know he's going to make the big saves when we mess up in front of him.”
Since he returned from Edmonton in mid-March, Danis is 18-4-4 with a 1.93 GAA and .932 save percentage.
HARTIKAINEN FINISHING STRONG
This probably is Teemu Hartikainen's final stint with the Barons.
The 23-year-old left winger from Finland is going out with a bang.
Hartikainen scored the first goal in Thursday's win and has 11 points in the playoffs.
Including the playoffs, Hartikainen has appeared in 194 games with the Barons. Since the Oilers would have to expose Hartikainen to waivers next season in order to keep him in the AHL, odds are Hartikainen will stick with the Oilers all season or be claimed by another NHL team.
Barons center Anton Lander, who played 56 games with the Oilers last season and was on Edmonton's roster after the NHL lockout ended, probably will miss the Western Conference Finals but might return for the Calder Cup Finals if OKC advances. ... The Barons' five goals in the third period in a Game 4 win Wednesday night was the most in the AHL playoffs since Hershey scored six second-period goals three years ago. ... The Stars owned the best road record in the AHL during the regular season but finished the season 2-7 at the Cox Convention Center, including losing all three playoff games in OKC.