For the Ontario Reign, Game 40 on the schedule won’t matter much in the standings. However, they still want to put a stamp on the end of their regular season.
Following Friday’s win, combined with outcomes of a few other games, the AHL Pacific Division postseason matchups are all set.
Ontario will face the Colorado Eagles the coming Tuesday night in a win-or-go-home play-in game. It will take place at Five Points Arena in Irvine and be available for streaming via AHL TV. Earlier that afternoon, the San Jose Sharks and Tucson Roadrunners will play a similar game. The two winners will then faceoff on Wednesday night in the same building.
The team who earns two victories in those games will be declared the fourth-seed in the postseason tournament and travel to Las Vegas for a best-of-three series vs. the Henderson Silver Knights starting on Friday.
For more on the format of this year’s AHL postseason schedule, see here.
Ontario Reign play their final regular season game tomorrow.
Hearing LA Kings prospect Alex Turcotte will sit this one out. We'll see what Tuesday brings once the playoffs start.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) May 16, 2021
Two LA Kings roster moves coming…
Lias Andersson and Rasmus Kupari will rejoin the Reign, as AHL playoffs start Tuesday.
Reign have two regular season games remaining, tonight and Sunday at Tucson. Lineup projection coming soon to MM — including a major note on Tyler Madden.
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) May 14, 2021
As for Sunday’s regular season finale, the Reign roster will again see some changes.
— As we reported Saturday, LA Kings prospect Alex Turcotte won’t play. He left Friday’s game in the second period due to an apparent injury. From what we’re hearing, he isn’t likely to play Tuesday either.
— Tyler Madden returned to the lineup on Friday after missing more than two months and he will play again today.
— Ditto for LA’s 2020 first round selection Quinton Byfield. After being up with the Kings for a few weeks, he rejoined the Reign in their last game and was a plus-1 on the night. He’s also being reunited with Arthur Kaliyev as his right winger for this one. They played together quite a bit prior to Byfield’s time in the NHL. Barring a five point afternoon from Akil Thomas, Kaliyev will end the season as the team leader in goals and points.
— Rasmus Kupari and Lias Andersson will slot in today, which should give them a chance to reacclimate after being up in the NHL of late. Andersson has faced Tucson one time this season, recording a goal in that contest. Meanwhile, Kupari has five points in six games vs. the Roadrunners in 2021.
— Goaltender JF Berube, who won a Calder Cup with the franchise during his first tour of duty with the team, will get the start in net and this could conceivably be his last game for the Reign. We’re assuming Kings prospect Matt Villalta will take the net on Tuesday and should he win, he could continue in the role as long as their postseason run plays out. Berube signed a one-year deal with the Reign just before the season began.
Ontario Reign Projected Lineup vs. Tucson Roadrunners
Andersson – Kupari – Frk
Johnson – Byfield – Kaliyev
Eyssimont – Thomas – Fagemo
Imama – Dudas – Madden
Moverare – Durzi
Phillips – Clague
Brickley – Sadek
Other Roster Notes:
— Reign captain Brett Sutter will sit out today’s game as a healthy scratch. He will rest in favor of giving other players additional ice time.
— Defenseman Austin Strand is sidelined with an injury.
— Devante Smith Pelly and Nick Halloran will be healthy scratches, while Blaine Byron remains out with an injury. All three players are on AHL-only contracts.
— Defenseman Cole Hults and goaltender Jacob Ingham are not on the trip.
Puck drop this afternoon is scheduled for 2pm PST and can be streamed through AHL TV.
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Photo courtesy of AHL Tucson Roadrunners