Bulldogs Calder Cup bound?
Corey Locke scored two goals and added two assists in four regular season meetings against the Wolves.
MONTREAL - The Bulldogs have picked up the scent of the Calder Cup and next up for the Baby Habs is a showdown with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL Western Conference Final.
After disposing of the division champion Manitoba Moose in six games, the Bulldogs are now getting some well-deserved rest before getting back at it Friday night in Chicago.
The top dogs for Hamilton so far are Corey Locke and Carey Price, who have teamed up to give the Bulldogs some added bite. Locke is a late-blooming 23-year-old finally flexing the muscle that made him a two-time OHL scoring champ. Price is showing the poise of a veteran between the pipes, despite being only a month removed from playing in junior.
With 14 points in 12 games, Locke sits fifth in AHL playoff scoring while leading the league with seven goals. Drafted 113th overall by the Canadiens at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Locke is enjoying his greatest postseason success since putting up 38 points in 23 games for the Ottawa 67s in 2002-03.
After being tossed into the fire by head coach Don Lever with all of two regular season games under his belt, the 19-year-old Price has been brilliant for the Bulldogs. Chosen fifth overall by the Canadiens in 2005, Price has responded with a stingy 2.19 goals against average and a sparkling .929 save percentage in 12 games.
The Bulldogs' hopes of reaching the Calder Cup final for the second time in franchise history rest heavily on shutting down the Wolves' explosive offense. Led by AHL scoring champ Darren Haydar, no team scored more goals than the 331 potted by the Wolves during the regular season. With 20 points in 10 playoff games, Haydar will definitely be on the Bulldogs' radar.
Hamilton boasts a lethal weapon of their own-Mikhail Grabovski. The speedy Belarussian torched the Thrashers farm team with six points in three games against the Wolves, to lead the Bulldogs to a perfect 3-0-1 mark against Chicago this season.
The slate will be wiped clean beginning Friday night, as the Bulldogs and Wolves look to draw first blood in their quest for a ticket to the Calder Cup Final.
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com