Monsters: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Cleveland Monsters)

Well, would you look at that. The Milwaukee Admirals are currently working on a winning streak. Yeah, they’ve won back-to-back games via the shootout – but they’ve taken 4 points. It hasn’t been easy this season for the Admirals to sustain positive flows of momentum from one game into the next. By no means over the last few weeks have the Admirals played their best game of hockey but piece by piece they are showing flashes of the high caliber team that they can be. With a team in the Cleveland Monsters arriving to town with the worst record in the entire league it might be time for the Admirals to show more than a flash.

The Monsters record is 10-17-3-3 (26 points, 0.394 points percentage). They are the worst team in the AHL based on points percentage. The next closest team to them are the Binghamton Devils (0.400). In fact, the next closest Western Conference team near the Monsters are the Grand Rapids Griffins (0.513). It’s rather remarkable that the difference between second and sixth place in the Central Division is down to 0.068 right now.

In this series match-up all games in Cleveland have already been played. That leaves the final three games to be played in Milwaukee. The Admirals are 3-2-0-0 against the Monsters this season. That includes -hey, hey- a shootout win in Milwaukee back on 11/22/17. That is something of a regular occurrence these days for the Admirals. They have played beyond overtime 11 times in their last 20 games.

Something that still feels weird is that the two times that the Admirals lost to the Monsters came with Juuse Saros in net. Those were a pair of the roughest games of the season by the Admirals. They’ve since tightened up defensive details far better. And, good news, Saros has a chance to avenge those losses as he was reassigned by the Nashville Predators this morning.

Carter Camper is the current leading scorer for the Monsters this season. The 29-year old forward has produced 22 points (7 goals, 15 assists) in 33 games. He is also the leading scorer in this head-to-head having tallied 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 5 games.

This brings me back to a running theme that perhaps best sums up the Monsters season so far. They aren’t producing enough offensively. The Monsters have scored the least amount of goals in the AHL and are averaging 2.30 goals per game. By contrast, the Admirals average 2.91 goals per game.

The story doesn’t get that much better defensively and in net. The Monsters are allowing 3.45 goals against per game. Things could tighten up that little bit following yesterday’s move by the Columbus Blue Jackets that saw Joonas Korpisalo reassigned to the AHL.

The 23-year old Finn has made 9 appearances in the NHL with the Blue Jackets this season where he has earned 4 wins and had a 3.10 goals against average and 0.904 save percentage. Korpisalo has made 3 starts in the AHL this season with the Monsters where he has a record of 1-1-0-1 with a 2.29 goals against average and 0.927 save percentage. He earned a win against the Admirals on 11/18/17 where he stopped 32/33 shots in Cleveland. He last appeared on 1/6/18 in a shootout loss on the road against the Rockford IceHogs.

What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Can the Milwaukee Admirals go on their first three-game winning streak since they opened the season winning four straight? Are we in for yet another overtime game?

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