The Barons are clicking on all cylinders.
Goaltender Yann Danis and an improved defense helped lead a late-season charge to get into the AHL playoffs.
In the playoffs, the offense has scored 42 goals in 10 games.
Oklahoma City romped to a 5-1 win over the Texas Stars Thursday night at the Cox Convention Center to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the second consecutive year.
Winning their second-round series 4-1, the Barons will have a week off before they open the West finals on the road next weekend at either Toronto or Grand Rapids.
“It feels really good in that locker room right now,” said team captain Josh Green. “We're going to enjoy this one and then get prepared for the next series.”
How hot are the Barons?
Texas goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp had allowed only eight goals in Texas' first six playoff games but surrendered 14 goals to the Barons in three games played at the Cox Convention Center.
“Our offense can wear teams down, especially in a series like this,” said defenseman Taylor Fedun. “We try and forecheck so strong and throw so many pucks on net eventually they start to go in.”
The Barons scored 23 goals in their best-of-5 first-round series against Charlotte and scored 19 against the Stars, the top seed in the Western Conference.
“It's one thing to play good defensively and have good goaltending but you also have to have goal support,” said coach Todd Nelson. “Everybody is contributing. I think we're even more explosive than we were last year.”
With two No. 1 lines — Mark Arcobello, Jonathan Cheechoo and Philippe Cornet on one line and Teemu Hartikainen, Toni Rajala and C.J. Stretch on the other — the Barons pose problems for opposing defenses.
In Thursday's win, the fourth line chipped in a goal after scoring twice in Wednesday's win.
“It's huge when you know you're going to have goal support. It definitely makes my job a lot easier,” Danis said. “If we score five or seven goals I'd like to think we're not going to lose many games.”
Five different Barons scored.
Teemu Hartikainen gave the Barons a 1-0 lead late in the first period when his shot from a tough angle hit the post and trickled in behind Nilstorp.
Fedun, the rookie from Princeton who suffered a horrific shattered leg two years ago, scored a goal for the second straight game for a 2-0 lead less than two minutes into the second period. Stretch scored his fourth playoff goal midway through the second period for a 3-0 cushion.
“The thing about a 3-1 series lead is it's a battle of wills,” Green said. “We knew if we put some doubt into their minds it would be huge for us.”
Oklahoma City led 5-0 before the Stars spoiled Danis' shutout bid with a power-play goal with 2:57 remaining.
The Barons will have eight or nine days off before opening the Western Conference Finals.
“This is awesome,” Fedun said. “It's hard to explain. These three home games went by so fast. It's hard to believe we've already moved on to the next round. It's a great feeling.”
The Barons were the No. 1 seed last year. This year's team had to finish 13-3-3 the final six weeks just to earn a playoff berth on the next to last day of the regular season.
“We just beat a pretty good team,” Danis said. “To win three in a row against the No. 1 team in the conference, we'll have a week or so to enjoy it. But we've said all along we fell short last year. Our goal is to win the Calder Cup.”