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CONDORS: Bakersfield looks to take series stranglehold in Game 2

The Condors are back in playoff action against the Colorado Eagles for Game 2, looking to take a 2-0 series stranglehold to Bakersfield

by Paul Gazzola /

LOVELAND, CO - Playoff hockey.

There's nothing quite like it and the Bakersfield Condors are having a ball so far at The After Party, also known as the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.

After skating away with a 3-2 victory in Game 1 of their Pacific Division Semifinal showdown versus the Colorado Eagles, the nascent Condors seek gripping a stranglehold on Saturday in the best-of-five series when the two clubs claw it out in Game 2.

Video: CONDORS | Pre-Game 2 at COL 04.20.19

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GAME STORY: Condors 3, Eagles 2 - Game 1

Logan Day netted the game-winner in the third period, while netminder Shane Starrett made 24 saves as the Condors go up 1-0 in their series versus Colorado

by Paul Gazzola /

LOVELAND, CO - The After Party came as publicized.

It was loud, fast and exhilarating - with no shortage of dance partners - as the Bakersfield Condors defeated the Colorado Eagles 3-2 in what was an entertaining and competitive playoff grudge match.

Logan Day scored the game-winning goal, Brad Malone and William Lagesson recorded a goal and assist each, Patrick Russell tallied a pair of helpers and netminder Shane Starrett stood tall with 24 saves on 26 shots to backstop his club to a 1-0 best-of-five series lead. 

Video: CONDORS | Post-Game 1 at COL 04.19.19

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LIVE BLOG: Condors at Eagles - Game 1

Get regular updates, highlights and more as the Condors begin their 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs against the Colorado Eagles

by Paul Gazzola /

The Condors visit the Colorado Eagles in Game 1 of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.

You can watch on AHL Live or listen on Fox Sports 970 AM.

Read below for updates, highlights, tweets, commentary and more in our live in-game blog.

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CONDORS: Bakersfield's Calder Cup quest begins

Game 1 against the Colorado Eagles gets under way Friday at Budweiser Events Center

by Paul Gazzola /

LOVELAND, CO - Welcome to The After Party.

Also known as the 2019 American Hockey League Calder Cup Playoffs, where the Bakersfield Condors - who clinched first in the AHL's Western Conference and Pacific Division in the 2018-19 regular season - will go talon-to-talon against the Colorado Eagles in a best-of-five series.

The Condors organization enter playoffs for the first time in their AHL history, going 1,788 days since the franchise's last postseason match in 2013-14 when they lost to the Alaska Aces in Round 3 of the ECHL Playoffs.

Video: CONDORS | Pre-Game 1 at COL 04.19.19

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IN DEPTH: King Leon

Relive Leon Draisaitl's incredible 2018-19 season

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Leon Draisaitl ruled the 2018-19 season.

He completed his quest to score 50 goals and reigned atop the Western Conference goal-scoring throne, becoming just the 92nd player in National Hockey League history to reach the feat.

He was the king slayer against Los Angeles when he collected his first career hat trick. He decided outcomes versus the Bruins, Sharks and Rangers in overtime duels. He scored 16 power-play goals and ended the year with 105 points to place fourth in NHL scoring. 

Draisaitl graced Oilers fans with a rich collection of treasures. The forward showed his dexterity with an end-to-end dangle in Toronto, displayed his precision with a toe-dragging snipe against the Vegas Golden Knights and was money when attacking on a 2-on-1. 

He became just the fifth Oilers player to reach the 50-goal mark in franchise history, putting himself on a legendary listing which includes Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Jari Kurri and Glenn Anderson - and although there's no statue of him just yet, Draisaitl's '18-19 performance is deserving of high prestige.

The Oilers goal king was rewarded with red lamps in 39 of 82 matches, bending the knee only to notch one-timers, and remained noble when he was asked of his conquest.

"If I scored 20 goals this year and we make the playoffs, I don't care, I'm happy," he said in the Oilers Hall of Fame Room. "I'd be happier than I am now."

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FUTURE WATCH: McLeod scores in Saginaw's 5-0 series-clinching win

Oilers forward prospect Ryan McLeod netted an insurance goal in Saginaw's 5-0 series-deciding victory

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers forward prospect Ryan McLeod scored an insurance marker at 16:08 of the second period in the Saginaw Spirit's series-deciding 5-0 win over the Soo Greyhounds on Sunday.

The Oilers 40th-overall selection in the 2018 NHL Draft notched his fourth goal and 10th point of the 2019 OHL Playoffs on the play, helping the Spirit take the series 4-2. The forward walked in from the slot and released a wrister to beat netminder Matthew Villalta.

Tweet from @SpiritHockey: .@EdmontonOilers second-rounder @ryan10mcleod's 4th 🚨of the post-season!#SAGvsSSM #SoarWithUs #letsgooilers

McLeod collected 19 goals and 62 points in 63 games split between Saginaw and the Mississauga Steelheads during the 2018-19 regular season.

Saginaw's win marks the first time in franchise history the club has reached the OHL Western Conference Finals.

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FUTURE WATCH: Condors claim the Pacific Division

The Bakersfield Condors will face the Colorado Eagles in Round 1 of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - They continue to fly.

The Bakersfield Condors clinched first place in the American Hockey League's Pacific Division Saturday on Fan Appreciation Night at Rabobank Arena with a 6-3 win over the Ontario Reign.

Tweet from @CondorsHolty: Condors open in Colorado Friday and Saturday. Game 3 is Tuesday, April 23 in Bakersfield.

Joe Gambardella scored two goals and one assist in the victory, as the Condors will face the Colorado Eagles in Round 1 of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. 

Stay tuned for coverage in the following weeks as the Condors navigate the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs.

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BLOG: Chiasson floored by McDavid-Draisaitl

"They'll be one of the best one-two punches in the National Hockey League, for sure, that's ever been around if those two stay healthy and stay together," said Alex Chiasson

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - Peanut butter and jelly. Eggs and bacon.

Connor and Leon.

No matter who's dishing it to who, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have become one of the most elite pairs in the National Hockey League over the past three seasons.

The tandem has combined on an NHL-high 143 goals since the 2016-17 season to lead the League in that regard and ended the '18-19 campaign with 221 points between the two of them, making the Orange & Blue the first team to have multiple plus-100 point players in a year since the '09-10 Washington Capitals when Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom culled 109 and 101, respectively.

The young Oilers are in the NHL's upper echelon of talent, and players like Alex Chiasson couldn't help but marvel at their offensive assault after watching it for himself.

Video: RAW | Chiasson 04.07.19

"In 10-15 years, I'll be done by then for sure, those two might be still kicking around," laughed Chiasson at his exit interview. 

"They'll be one of the best one-two punches in the National Hockey League, for sure, that's ever been around if those two stay healthy and stay together."

Chiasson, the 22-goal scorer who got to ride shotgun with McDavid and Draisaitl at times, has experienced skating with prolific pairs - such as the aforementioned Ovechkin and Backstrom - and detailed how the Oilers dynamic duo gets it done.

"Just the way they read off each other and how they can create space," Chiasson continued. "I had the opportunity to play with them for a little bit this season and sometimes you just get caught mesmerized by what they do."

Chiasson also added how impactful McDavid and Draisaitl are for the Oilers organization going forward.

"It's great to see for this organization," he said. "They have a solid base like that and their two young guys are great kids in the locker room. I think it starts there because when you have good people it makes good teams. Those two, along with Nuge and the guys that carry our forward group, are good people and that's important."

Video: RAW | Hitchcock 04.07.19

Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock admitted it wasn't difficult coaching McDavid and Draisaitl, simply because of the high hockey IQ both possess.

"Really, all I had to do was lift the latch," said Hitchcock. "Open the gate. They bought in right away. 

"I don't want to say it was easy but it was much easier than I've had before. It was fun. When you say go and do this and they go and do it or these are the adjustments you need to make and then they go and make the adjustments. The team has success, they have success. It becomes easy."

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FUTURE WATCH: Samorukov stays alive; Safin's Mooseheads sweep

Dmitri Samorukov netted one assist in 4-3 win over London to stave off elimination, while Ostap Safin and the Halifax Mooseheads move on in the QMJHL Playoffs

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - It's not over until it's over.

In the Ontario Hockey League battle between a pair of prospective Oilers blueliners, at least, as Dmitri Samorukov and the Guelph Storm defeated Evan Bouchard and the London Knights by a score of 4-3 Wednesday to stave off playoff elimination. 

Samorukov, the Oilers 2017 third-round selection, had one assist in the win to increase his point total to nine (3G, 6A). 

Last year's 10th-overall selection Bouchard extended his point streak to eight games with a helper, maintaining the OHL scoring lead with 19 points (4G, 15A).

Oilers right wing prospect Ostap Safin was also in action on Wednesday, bringing out his broom in the Halifax Mooseheads' 4-2 series-sweeping win over the Moncton Wildcats. Safin, who recently returned from injury, was held pointless in the series and has two assists in 11 postseason outings in the 2019 playoffs.

Oilers goalie prospect Olivier Rodrigue's Drummondville Voltigeurs also took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 4-2 victory in Game 4 against the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Rodrigue has yet to suit up in the playoffs.

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FUTURE WATCH: Condors cohesion

"This is a brotherhood and playoffs really bring everyone together," said Condors defenceman Logan Day

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - The playoffs are a different beast but not one the Bakersfield Condors are shying away from.

The Condors, who didn't lose a single game all February during their epic 17-game winning streak earlier in the year, are preparing for their first American Hockey League postseason experience and are doing so with a strong sense of cohesion.

Video: THE DRILL | E10: Bakersfield

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