Oklahoma City and Charlotte split the season series 4-4, but the Barons lost four of six games after young Oilers stars Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz returned to Edmonton after the NHL lockout ended.
But another factor is hot Barons goaltender Yann Danis hasn't faced the Checkers since Jan. 11-12.
“We can take a bit (from the eight games), but it's a whole new playing field,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “Our roster is different, and they have some changes as well ... It will be a tough series.”
Barons forward Philippe Cornet scored eight points in seven games against Charlotte, Mark Arcobello six points, with four goals. Charlotte's Chris Terry scored eight points in eight games against OKC.
HARTIKAINEN, LANDER TO RETURN
The Oilers are expected to reassign forward Teemu Hartikainen and Anton Lander to Oklahoma City.
Even though Edmonton will mathematically be eliminated from the playoffs mid-week, the Oilers are dealing with injuries so Hartikainen and Lander could miss Games 1 and 2 and join the Barons after the NHL season ends this weekend.
“They will be welcome additions,” Nelson said. “If we do get some guys back from Edmonton, they've been part of this run the last couple of months. It's not like the first year when we got back six or seven guys for the playoffs and had to try and find that chemistry.”
OIL SPILLS ...
Arcobello finished the regular season with 68 points, third in the AHL. ... Having clinched a playoff berth Saturday night, Nelson started backup goaltender Niko Hovinen and didn't suit up team captain Josh Green, forward Jonathan Cheechoo and defenseman Martin Marincin and Alex Plante. Hovinen stopped all 20 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season. ... The Barons finished the season averaging 3,527 fans a game.