Capitals prospect Dmitry Orlov had a goal and an assist and Phillip Grubauer made 31 saves as the Hershey Bears beat the Providence Bruins 5-2 in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
With the win, the Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate takes a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
In addition to Orlov, Joey Crabb, Casey Wellman, Jon DiSalvatore and Michael Latta all scored in the Hershey win. Defenseman Tomas Kundratek assisted on the game-winning goal while Jeff Taffe had a game-high two assists and six shots on goal.
The Bears clinched an AHL playoff berth on the final day of the regular season and are the No.8 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins finished the regular season on a nine-game winning streak and finished a league-best 50-21-0-5.
Game 2 takes place Sunday afternoon at 3:05 p.m. in Providence.
JUNIOR SEASON ENDS FOR CAPS PROSPECT TOM WILSON:
Capitals prospects Tom Wilson and Connor Carrick were eliminated Friday from the Ontario Hockey League Playoffs as the Plymouth Whalers fell 5-4 in overtime against the London Knights.
The Knights, coached by former Capitals bench boss and captain Dale Hunter, beat the Whalers 4-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference Final.
Wilson (Capitals’ first-round pick, 16th overall, 2012 NHL Draft) had 9 goals and 17 points in 12 OHL playoff games this spring, while Carrick (fifth-round, 137th overall, 2012 NHL Draft) had 16 assists and 18 points in 15 playoff games.
Wilson signed a three-year entry level deal with the Capitals last summer and could join the Hershey Bears as early as this weekend.
ISLANDERS CLIMB TO 6TH PLACE:
The New York Islanders fell 2-1 in a shootout Friday against the Buffalo Sabres in the regular season finale for both teams.
While the Sabres can now dust off their golf clubs, the playoff-bound Islanders will play the waiting game this weekend before finding out where and when they will open post-season play.
By earning a point with the shootout loss, the Islanders moved into sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The only way the Islanders will keep the No.6 seed and face the Capitals in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals is if both the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators fail to earn a standings point this weekend.
The Rangers close out the regular season at home Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. The Senators have two games left- Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers and Sunday against the Boston Bruins.
WILD MISS CHANCE TO CLINCH:
The Minnesota Wild were home Friday against a struggling Edmonton Oilers club that entered the game having lost three straight and nine-of-ten overall.
The task for the Wild seemed simple enough Friday- beat the Oilers at home and they would punch their ticket to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Apparently the Oilers were more interested in playing spoilers though, as they beat the Wild 6-1 in Minnesota.
The result means that the final two playoff spots remain up for grabs heading into the final day of regular season play in the Western Conference.
The Wild, Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets are the three teams competing for the final two positions.
The Wild can clinch a playoff berth with a win at home Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche or a Columbus Blue Jackets’ regulation loss against the Nashville Predators.
The Red Wings will qualify for the post-season for a 22nd straight season by earning at least one point Saturday against the Dallas Stars or a Blue Jackets’ loss in any fashion.
The Blue Jackets can clinch a playoff berth with a win against Nashville and a Minnesota loss to Colorado. Columbus can also clinch with an overtime or shootout loss and a Minnesota loss in regulation.