ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS VS CALGARY WRANGLERS SERIES PREVIEW
For the eighth and ninth times this season, the Abbotsford Canucks are set to take on the Calgary Wranglers for a pair of mid-week games in Alberta. Having gone 1-3-2-1 against Calgary in the opening seven contests of a 12-game season series, Abbotsford has it’s eyes on continuing their five game win streak on Tuesday and Wednesday night from the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Tuesday’s contest gets underway at 6:00pm pst, while Wednesday’s puck drop is set for 5:00pm pst.
Three games were decided by a single goal, with one more being a one goal difference before Calgary grabbed a late empty-net tally. In the last three-game series between the two sides, the Wranglers took all three games at the Abbotsford Centre, however two of the games required overtime or a shootout.
The Calgary Wranglers sit atop the AHL standings with a 33-11-2-0 record, and 68 points. Abbotsford, who sit third place in the competitive Pacific Division, are 28-15-2-2 with 60 points. The Pacific Division has five members in the top 11 places of the league standings, with Calgary, Coachella Valley (5th), Abbotsford (7th), Colorado (9th) and Ontario (11th) all amongst the top of the standings.
The Wranglers sit atop the league for good reasons, as they lead the AHL in wins (31), goals scored (173), and have conceded the second fewest times (116).
Matthew Phillips has been instrumental to the Wranglers offensive success, as the All-Star currently leads the league in goals (25), and sits sixth in points (50). Phillips has put up 11 points in seven games against Abbotsford (5G and 6A), including the OT winner seven seconds into the frame during the January 18th contest.
At the other end of the ice is Dustin Wolf, who has put together another impressive campaign thus far in the Wranglers goal. Wolf leads the AHL in wins, saves, minutes played, shutouts, and ranks second in Goals Against Average (2.15) and Save Percentage (.930).
Wolf is also tied for the league lead in games played (35) with Abbotsford’s Arturs Silovs. Silovs is 21-9-4-3 this season with three shutouts, including two in his last eight appearances, pitching a .947 save percentage over that stretch.
Wyatt Kalynuk is expected to make his 100th AHL game appearance over the series, sitting at 99 games played in his career.
Special teams is another area where Calgary excels, as they lead the league in penalty kill percentage (81.5%) and sit seventh in the league in powerplay percentage (23.0%). Calgary’s 48 powerplay goals is good enough for third most in the AHL, while the Canucks aren’t far behind in seventh with 42 tallies.
As for Abbotsford, a key part of their powerplay unit is rookie Linus Karlsson, who leads the active roster in goals with the man advantage (6). Karlsson also lines up as one of the top rookies in the AHL, with the Swedish winger registering the sixth most goals (15) and points (34) from rookies.
In terms of overall team leaders for the Canucks, that title still belongs to Christian Wolanin for assists and points, picking up 47 and 52 respectively. Wolanin leads all AHL defencemen in points, assists, and sits fifth overall in the AHL for points. Karlsson also leads the active roster in goals scored with 15.
Following the mid-week series in Alberta, the team returns home for a pair of games this week against the San Jose Barracuda. The two clash on Saturday night at 7:00pm, as well as Monday February 20th at 2:00pm which is Family Day in BC. Celebrate Family Day with the Abbotsford Canucks, with activities such as a bouncy castle, an autograph session with the players post game, special appearances by FIN as well as Disney/Marvel characters, and free hot chocolate and popcorn for the kids.
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