Tonight in the AHL, the Oklahoma City Oilers, er, Barons, welcome the Milwaukee Admirals to the Cox Convention Center for the first of two games this weekend. The Barons (6-5-1-1) currently sit in third place in the Western Conference’s South Division with 14 points, while the Admirals (6-6-0-0) find themselves in third place in the Western Conference’s Midwest Division. Tonight’s and tomorrow’s games will both begin at 7pm CST.
Apart from being another opportunity for the Baby Oilers—led by Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Teemu Hartikainen—to continue gelling together as a unit until the NHL lockout ends, this series will feature dynamic special teams matchups, each of which could turn the tide in both games this weekend.
The Barons are currently converting just under 25% of their power plays (14 for 57), while the Admirals have one of the stingier penalty kills in the league at just under 89% (6 for 54). On the other side of the coin, while Milwaukee is only scoring roughly 15% of the time on the power play (9 for 58), the Barons are ghastly on the penalty kill, only killing 72% of the power plays they face (17 for 61). Add to this the fact the Admirals are the least-penalized team in the league (148 PIMs), and not only could this neutralize the Barons’ exceptional power play unit almost entirely, but if things start getting chippy and the Barons take a few ill-advised penalties, the Admirals could easily score a few power play goals and skate away with two victories this weekend as they look to try and overtake the Chicago Wolves and Grand Rapids Griffins in their division.
The Admirals are led by RW Taylor Beck’s 12 points (3G, 9A), RW Patrick Cehlin’s 10 points (5G, 5A) and C Chris Mueller’s 9 points (5G, 4A). The Barons counter with D Justin Schultz’s AHL-leading 18 points (7G, 11A), RW Jordan Eberle’s 16 points (6G, 10A), C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ 14 points (5G, 9A) and LW Teemu Hartikainen’s 11 points (4G, 7A).