What We Learned About The Barons In The Quarterfinals

Toni Rajala Anglin'
Toni Rajala, Anglin’. Photo by Steve Christy.
  • Yann Danis is pretty good, but he’s not great. Only three goaltenders in the quarterfinals played five games, two of them were Rob Madore of Charlotte, the other was Yann Danis. The Barons netminder has a goals against average just barely under three, but he’s also leading the entire league in the number of saves (157). His save percentage is .913, and is something that improved as the series went longer. He laid a few eggs in the five game series before finally hatching a golden one. I’m hoping he’s turned the corner, and ready to be the postseason Yann that steals games away.
  • Josh Green is one point shy of averaging two points a game. That’s unreal. So much so that it’s leading the entire AHL after the first round of games. What’s even more remarkable is that he’s doing all of this while on a third line centered by C.J. Stretch and featuring Tyler Pitlick. He’s finding ways to make others better, and push the offensive envelope wide open. My favorite moment had to be his final goal of the Charlotte series where he slightly hesitated on a wrap around behind the net, went for it, stayed tenacious, and punched it in. That’s the Josh Green we know and love.

  • The Barons defense is still so young. Martin Marincin and Taylor Fedun have been moving the puck very well, but also keeping the play in front of them. Garrett Stafford and Brandon Davidson worked the long pass in tandem to perfection. Plante/Teubert/Hotham/Jones are the seniors of the defensive core, and they’ve been decent. In all, this group does have a tendency to panic, but Coach Nelson has thwarted that fairly well.
  • Speaking of Coach Nelson, what a game plan he put together in the final two games. After being defeated by five goals, the team turned around and punished the Charlotte Checkers. Bum rushing Rob Madore, and taking the puck directly at defenders (as opposed to going around) were two ways the team was able to turn the tides. Nelson has long been a well fancied coach, and he continues to show you exactly what he does well. Mr. Adjustment, well done.
  • Toni Rajala is reaping the benefits of finally playing long stretches of AHL hockey. The man child is just beating every obstacle in his way. Sure he’s racking up points, but his defensive game has become increasingly strong. In earlier games this season, he was easy to bump off the puck. He’s quickly learned to be stronger, but ultimately just be faster than the opponent. The Linus Omark comparisons continue, and I’m okay with that sentiment.
  • Charlotte was a good opponent, and were ultimately undone by goaltending. Texas has more options in this regard, as well as an overall deeper lineup. Be scared.
  • Oklahoma City Calder Cup Playoff games are fun. Regardless of the low attendance in Oklahoma City (2,017 in two games; lowest in the league and nowhere near the second lowest in the league), playoff hockey in any market is pretty great hockey. Even in defeat, the stakes are higher and thus the play is greater. GO TO A GAME!