Monsters and Rampage Ready for Two

The Lake Erie Monsters begin a two-game set this evening against the San Antonio Rampage; a team the Monsters haven’t beaten since March 27, 2010. As a matter of fact, the Monsters haven’t beaten the Rampage at The Q since February 1, 2008, and that’s the only time the Monsters have earned a home win over the Rampage.

Things are different this season, however. For one, the Rampage complexion has changed completely with an affiliation switch. Over the offseason, the Rampage agreed to an affiliation with the Florida Panthers, ending a six-year partnership with the Phoenix Coyotes. Last season, Florida’s affiliate was the Rochester Americans, whom the Monsters were 7-1-0-0 against last season.

Both teams are looking to rebound over the back-to-back. The Monsters have fallen in three straight games after Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Hamilton, and San Antonio has just one win over its last five contests. The Monsters (25 goals) and Rampage (23 goals) have the American Hockey League’s two lowest goal totals, and each team boasts one of the league’s most talented netminders. 

Lake Erie's Cedrick Desjardins has stopped 93 of 97 shots over his first three starts with the team, and despite his 1.35 goals against average, he has just one win over three starts. Jacob Markstrom has yet to see action with the Rampage this season, but the 21-year-old was 2-2-1 with a goals against average of 2.04 in five NHL games with the Florida Panthers. His .944 save percentage also stood as the fourth-best mark in the NHL to this point.

With a win tonight, the Monsters stand a chance to leapfrog the Grand Rapids Griffins in the North Division standings; a jump that would put the Monsters in fourth in the five-team division.

NOTES: David van der Gulik’s team-leading and season-long four-game assist streak and four-game point streak were snapped in Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Hamilton… The Monsters have surrendered a power play goal to their opponent in each game of their current three-game skid; in the back-to-back wins prior, the penalty kill was perfect… The Monsters have surrendered at least one power play goal in eight of their nine regulation losses this season… The Monsters are 2-8-0-0 when they fail to score a power play goal this season…

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