It is a rare item, but the Bakersfield Condors will be well into a regular-season game by the time you are thinking about lunch. The Charlotte Checkers are the opponent and the Condors are on a roll. (Photo by Mark Williams, all rights reserved).
— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) March 5, 2017
Lots of storylines in the lineup card today, let’s run through a few:
- Jesse Puljujarvi is now 21, 8-10-18 on the season and having terrific success with Anton Lander as his center. He is 6-5-11 in his last 11 games and may receive another NHL look in the coming days. Probably fair to suggest he would have to be the logical first callup in case of injury at this point in time.
- Griffin Reinhart is 1-4-5 in his last five games and may also be putting himself in a position for recall. It has been a strange two years since he was acquired from the Islanders, but he appears to be playing his best hockey at this time.
- Justin Fontaine posted three assists in his first game with Bakersfield, an outstanding performance and that would have been noticed back at Oilers world headquarters. He would also be in the recall conversation.
- Nick Ellis.In his last five games, Ellis has posted a save percentage of .966, stopping 140 of 145 shots. Signed as a college free agent in the same window as Drake Caggiula, Matt Benning and Patrick Russell, Ellis appears to be a bona fide NHL prospect.
- Follow the game here.
- Condors twitter is exceptional.
- First shift featured the Lander line with the Reinhart pairing. Had possession of the puck for the entire shift, but passes for traction were just off and nothing rhymed.
- Second shift saw similar activity, Greg Chase getting a bit of a push after yesterday’s performance.
- Charlotte pushes back on the third shift, getting the first good chance of the game.
- Second shift by Lander line sees a fine goal. Dillon Simpson makes a brilliant defensive play to save a goal, then the outlet hits Jesse Puljujarvi for a two-on-one with Lander. Lovely pass by the Finn, Lander cashes.
- Condors unlikely to have any nominees for gentlemanly award based on early Sunday activities.
- Fourth line goal (Musil) results from an effective screen in front. 2-0 Bakersfield.
- Lander line has an effective third shift, Laleggia getting a fine shot off from distance and Lander plus Jesse Puljujarvi driving to the net. Good sortie.
- Point blank chance by Checker McKeown, Ellis square to the shooter and a fine save.
- Checkers score, bad luck for Ellis as a two-on-one resulted from a poor decision by Mark Fraser in the offensive zone. The cross ice pass on the rush hit defender Aneloski and beat Ellis on the deflection. Zykov with goal.
- Fourth shift from Lander line features a good look and shot by Lander. Call the whole line to Edmonton!
- Greg Chase had a nice chance in close, he is more visible today than he has been in the last two years. Second-line push seems to be working in the early shifts.
- The Fraser-Aneloski pairing is not having a good day.
- Another nice shift by the Currie-Chase line, seems to be some chem there. Chase showed good speed after receiving a nifty pass on the fly and drove to the net well. Fine sortie.
- Jaedon Desscheneau gets a nice chance off the forecheck, but the shift ends in a brilliant chance and a shot that hit both posts at the other end. Still 2-1.
- If Oilers brass is watching this game, they have to be tempted to call Lander and JP up as a pair. Impressive first period, great chem.
- Dillon Simpson scores, Descheneau with a nice pass from behind the net and Simpson drilled it for a 3-1 lead.
- Ellis makes a fantastic save with mere seconds left in the period.
- 3-1 Bakersfield after one, they lead shots 14-7 and it was an impressive 20 minutes for the road team.
- Lander line starts the second period and are on the defense for most of it. A two-on-one results for Bakersfield at the end of the shift, Puljujarvi got a good look but no dice.
- Condors go to the PK, a couple of good shots but Ellis stops them.
- A possible two on one is thwarted by the wheels and smarts of Jordan Oesterle. Real nice.
- Scramble shift by Lander line once again sees much of the time in the Condors zone, but two separate sorties do get some interesting if not dangerous moments for Bakersfield. Puljujarvi pass to Lander was fantastic, Lander pass to Laleggia just missed.
- A quieter game today from Justin Fontaine, but strong forechecking results in an icing against Charlotte.
- Jere Sallinen got a great chance on a three on two but his stick exploded.
- Oesterle scored from a terrible angle, goalie change. 4-1 Bakersfield.
- A poor decision by Josh Currie in the offensive zone results in a three on two the other way, Checkers just missed scoring.
- Josh Currie and Kris Newbury have the first scrap of the game, it has been coming for some time. Currie hit Bryan Bickell, that was the reason for the fight.
- In the first real action of the period, David Musil makes a nice defensive play and then a brilliant outlet pass to Joey Laleggia. Great shot, great save, and then a breakaway the other way.. Sergey Tolchinsky scores and it is 4-2.
- The Condors fourth line skated for over a minute in their own zone without getting close to the puck. Incredible.
- A nice bit of effort by Jaedon Descheneau as the Condors were about to be called for icing, he found the energy (late in his shift) to negate by being first man back.
- Another Condors two on one (my guess is six now) with Laleggia getting a very good shot away.
- Period over. 4-2 Condors, also have the edge in shots 23-21. Charlotte is coming on.
- Final frame opens with the Lander line trying to get possession of the puck, just one encouraging moment and it was dashed when JP cut across the middle and lost the puck.
- Checkers dominating possession early in the third, second period in a row Bakersfield is backing up. Will need a strong third period effort from Ellis based on the last 24 minutes of play.
- Second Lander line shift of the period starts in a strong fashion, with about 20 seconds of offensive sustain. Ended up, as so many shifts have since the end of the first, with Condors playing desperate hockey. Out of gas?
- Good rush with Greg Chase getting a good shot on goal. Each team takes a penalty on the ensuing goal mouth shenanigans.
- Four on four and Bakersfield gets a turnover on a deflected pass and Laleggia is away. Drop pass and a brilliant shot (No. 21 on the year) by Anton Lander makes it 5-2 Condors.
- Lander now 25, 21-21-42 on the season in Bakersfield. Le holy.
- Another nice defensive play by Oesterle, he has improved a lot over the years pro.
- After an unimpressive power play, a brilliant head man pass sends Jesse Puljujarvi clicks and he makes no mistake on the breakaway. Pass from Laleggia.
- Puljujarvi now 22, 9-11-20 in the AHL.
- In his last six games, Laleggia is 4-6-10.
- In his last six games, Lander is 6-6-12.
- In his last six games, Puljujarvi is 3-5-8.
- Another nice two on one, Justin Fontaine cashes. Bakersfield many, Charlotte 2.
- Greg Chase with an assist on the Fontaine goal, it has been an encouraging weekend for the young man. He is 1-1-2 in two weekend games after going 35, 1-5-6 in previous games this season.
- Final 7-2, 32-27 Bakersfield in shots, big games for Lander (2-1-3), Laleggia (0-3-3), Puljujarvi (0-2-2), Jaedon Descheneau (0-2-2), Brodie Dupont (0-2-2) and I thought Nick Ellis was strong in stopping 25 of 27.
- Thanks for reading!