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Panthers Prospect Report: 04.07.10

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

PROSPECT ON FIRE
TYLER PLANTE

Intangibles
Position: G             Catches: Left
Height:   6-3            Weight: 191
Born: 4/16/87 in Milwaukee, WI
How Acquired: Panthers second-round pick (32nd overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
The Skinny
Goaltender Tyler Plante takes home this week's honor of “Prospect On Fire”.

The netminder has been rock solid the past five weeks for the playoff-bound Rochester Americans, picking up the AHL's Goaltender of the Month for March as well as the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week to start April.

Plante compiled a 1.88 goals-against average with a .942 save percentage and two shutouts in his nine appearances in March.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native stopped recorded his shutouts to open and close the month of March. He had 40 saves in a 1-0 shutout victory over Toronto on March 6 and had 37 saves in a 3-0 shutout at Grand Rapids on March 31.

The Panthers second-round pick in 2005 picked up the Player Of The Week Award, ending April 4 as he recorded three victories in three games and had a 1.30 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage, including wins over the league-leading Hershey Bears (stopped 32 of 33 shots in 3-1 win) and the Western Conference leaders Hamilton Bulldogs.

Stats
Team GP W L OTL GAA SV%
Rochester 26 12 11 1 2.57 .916

AMERKS.COM
(43-31-3, 5th in AHL Western Conference)

THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS
Wednesay April 7th at Grand Rapids (7:00pm)
Friday April 9th vs Hershey (7:05pm)
  Saturday April 3rd at Syracuse (7:30pm)

WEEKLY NOTES: In just four days, the 2009-10 American Hockey League regular season will officially come to a close, thus paving the way for the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs where the league’s top 16 teams compete for the AHL’s top prize. A dozen teams have now crossed the finish line and locked up berths into the postseason, with just four others awaiting their fate to determine if their season will extend well into the spring. The surging Rochester Americans, who secured their spot into the playoffs last week, enter the final week of play still in sole possession of second place in the North Division, four points ahead of the Abbotsford Heat. After winning three straight this past weekend, including back-to-back upsets over the league’s top two teams, the Amerks now have their sights set on ending the regular season on a high note heading into the postseason. This week, the Amerks return north for a divisional bout with Grand Rapids before hosting Toronto and visiting Syracuse on consecutive nights to conclude the campaign.    

TAYLOR PASSES GARWASIUK, NEARS MERRELL AND PAPPIN:
Three weeks removed from becoming just the 80th player in the 74-year history of the AHL to hit the 500-point plateau, veteran forward Chris Taylor recently surpassed Ron Garwasiuk for 13th on the all-time goals list to move within three goals of tying Barry Merrell and Jim Pappin for 11th all-time. Further, the 18-year pro is just three assists away from his 300th as an Amerk.

ROAD WARRIORS: After taking a 3-0-0-0 sweep on the road to kickoff the month of March, the Amerks have posted an 8-2-0-0 record since then in their 10 road contests away from the friendly confines of The Blue Cross Arena. Rochester enters the week matching its season-long four-game road winning streak, one that was previously set from March 5th to March 13th.

JOHNSON NEARS 70-POINT BENCHMARK: Amerks forward Jamie Johnson is three points away from becoming the first player since the 2004-05 campaign to reach the 70-point benchmark. He has just three games left to accomplish the feat, which was last achieved by Taylor in 2004-05.

AMERKS NOTES: Rochester (43-31-2-1, 89 points) enters the week after adding three more victories to their win column in a weekend that saw Rochester outlast the AHL’s top two teams on consecutive nights. The Amerks come into the final stretch the winners in four of their last five games with just three games to go in the regular season. 

Johnson, who shows 16 points (6+10) in his last 24 games, continues to be Rochester’s top point-getter with a team-high 67 points (25+42) and is only one of two skaters to play in all 77 games. Playing at under a point-per-game pace, Johnson is 14th in the AHL in overall point production, while his 42 assists are also 15th best in the league.      

Jeff Taffe leads Rochester’s offense with a team-high 26 goals and has four points (1+3) in his last two games with the Amerks. He presently ranks tied for 17th in the league in goals scored and is second among Rochester’s active roster with seven power-play goals.

Despite presently being on recall with the Florida Panthers, veteran defenseman Clay Wilson, who made his Panthers debut on Saturday, remains first on the team and 10th in the league with 46 assists, in addition to leading his club with 188 shots on goal. He enters the week with 19 points (4+15) in his last 17 games. He also has a team-best 24 assists on the power-play this season, good enough for third in the AHL in that category. Wilson continues to be Rochester’s top scoring defenseman with 60 points (14+46) and currently ranks second in scoring among league blueliners. 

Rookie goaltender Alexander Salak boasts a 28-14-0 record with a 2.86 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 46 games. His 28 wins presently rank him fourth among league netminders. Tyler Plante, who has started five straight games between the pipes for Rochester, currently shows a 12-11-1 record with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in just 26 games of service. He also ranks 10th with three shutouts. The reigning Goaltender of the Month for March was also named the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week for his performance this past weekend, finishing with 99 saves on 103 shots faced. He needs just one game to reach 100 pro games for his career.

Veteran forward Mike York, who leads the team with eight power-play markers, has collected 20 points (9+11) in 19 games since returning to the lineup on February 19th. Amerks captain Rory Fitzpatrick is three points from 200 as a pro, while 2010 AHL All-Star forward Graham Mink, who is in the midst of a four-game point streak, recorded both his 200th pro goal and 400th pro point over the weekend.


FLORIDAEVERBLADES.COM
Kelly Cup Playoffs
American Conference Quarterfinals
Blades Lead Series 1-0
THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS
Wednesday April 7th vs Elmira (7:30pm)
Friday April 9th at Elmira (7:35pm)
Saturday April 10th at Elmira (7:35pm)*
Sunday April 11th at Elmira (4:05pm)*
*if necessary

WEEKLY NOTES: The Florida Everblades finished the regular season in Germain Arena last weekend before getting started in the first round of their playoff series against the Elmira Jackals.

The ‘Blades dropped a decision to Charlotte on Friday night 3-1 before a near sell-out crowd of 7, 151. The Everblades treated a crowd of 7,101 on Saturday night to an exciting 4-3 shootout victory. Florida finished the regular season 21-13-2-0 at home.
 
The Everblades, making their 12th straight appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, hosted Elmira on Tuesday, posting a 4-3 victory in front of the home crowd in the Best-of-Five first-round series. Florida scored a goal 39 seconds into the game and then held off a late scoring surge by Elmira to take the one game to none lead in the series.

They host the Jackals Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. Then the series shifts to Elmira with Game 3 on Friday, April 9 at 7:35 pm. If necessary, games 4 and 5 are also in Elmira on Saturday, April 10 (7:35pm) and Sunday April 11 (4:05pm).

                                                                                    




STATISTICS




Information from the amerks.com and floridaeverblades.com used to create this report.
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