BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Coach Rob Laird hopes to have three of his offensive spark plugs, Alfie Turcotte, Steve Seftel and Tyler Larter, back in uniform tonight (7:30) when the Baltimore Skipjacks meet the Binghamton Rangers in the first game of the American Hockey League's Calder Cup playoffs at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Turcotte, the Skipjacks' leading scorer, and Larter and Seftel, two checkers, have been out nearly two weeks with injuries.
"Everyone has practiced this week, and I expect all of them to be ready to go," Laird said. "Also, defenseman Chris Felix [who has been out three months with a broken leg] is a possibility. He is making excellent progress, and he could be a great help to us with Kent Paynter on recall with Washington."
Paynter is with the Capitals, replacing injured Mikhail Tatarinov and Al Iafrate. Also with the Capitals is right wing Jeff Greenlaw.
"Binghamton is a very good hockey team," Laird said. "We are going to have to be very strong to beat them. They like to go to the goal and create problems in front of the net.
"We have to play patient, disciplined hockey, just like we have all season. We have to make Binghamton commit penalties and then make them pay for them with a good power play. We can get it done with hard work and discipline."
The Skipjacks and Rangers will play here again tomorrow and then head for the Baltimore Arena for games Thursday and April 13.
Laird said he has worked on line combinations against the Rangers, whom the Skipjacks beat, 4-2-0, during the regular season. "I'm not going to reveal what they are, because I don't want to tip my hand.
hTC "We have to get scoring from all three of our lines," Laird said. "We've had one or two lines doing the job most of the year, but never have we had all three scoring up to their potential at one time. We have a lot of firepower on this club, and if we can get rolling, we can score a lot of goals."
Rangers coach John Paddock said: "Baltimore is a very tough offensive team. We know they have the potential to score a lot of goals, and they have excellent goaltending with [Jim] Hrivnak in the nets. We have to play tough against them, force them into mistakes with good forechecking and take advantage of their mistakes."
Laird said that this is the time when everyone should be playing with a little more fire. "We have to take a hit to score a goal, and we have to apply pressure to their skilled people. It all comes down to execution and wanting to win more than Binghamton."
The Skipjacks' Tim Taylor said: "Our goal is to win the Calder Cup. We have to stay focused on that. We need to get in a groove and play the way we are capable of playing. We are working together well right now, and we want to continue to play well."