ABBOTSFORD CANUCKS VS CALGARY WRANGLERS SERIES PREVIEW
The Abbotsford Canucks will round out the regular season this week with three consecutive home games against the Calgary Wranglers. The puck drops at 7:00pm from the Abbotsford Centre on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night.
Calgary sits in first place in both the Pacific Division, and the entire AHL. Sitting at 50-15-3-1 with 104 points, the Wranglers hold a three point lead over second place Coachella Valley, the only team that could catch them for the first place bye that comes with winning the division.
Abbotsford sits in fourth place in the Pacific Division with a 38-24-3-4 record and 83 points. With home ice secured for the opening round of the playoffs, seeding is still up for grabs as the Canucks sit three points behind third place Colorado, with Abbotsford holding a game in hand.
The Wranglers hold the league lead in multiple categories, including: Wins (50), Points (104), Points Percentage (0.754), Regulation Wins (44), Fewest Goals Allowed (166), Active Win Streak (13-0-0-1), and have scored the second most amount of goals in the league with 252.
Nine games into a 12 game season series, Calgary is Abbotsford’s most common opponent this year. Having gone 2-4-2-1 against the Wranglers this season so far, it has been a close and competitive fixture every time the two sides clash. Six of the nine games played were decided by two goals or fewer, with three requiring more time than 60 minutes.
The last time the two teams squared off was back on February 15th, where Abbotsford emerged from the Scotiabank Saddledome as 4-2 winners. Scoring in that game was Christian Wolanin, which was also his last game for Abbotsford before being recalled to Vancouver.
Wolanin is the current team leader in points and assists, but the player who leads the active Canucks roster is Linus Karlsson. The Swedish rookies leads Abbotsford in goals (23) and points (48). Justin Dowling leads the active roster in assists with 34. Arturs Silovs and Spencer Martin have been the goaltending duo for the bulk of the last few months, with Silovs going 9-2-1 since the start of February.
On the other side of the Rockies, Matthew Phillips leads the way in goals (36), assists (39) and points (75). Phillips’ 36 tallies has him as the top goal scorer across the AHL, while his 75 points sets him at 4th in total points scored across the league.
Dustin Wolf has been amongst the top netminders of the league all season long, with the Calgary goalie leading the AHL in : Shutouts (7), Wins (41), Saves (1,486), Save Percentage (0.932) and Save Percentage In Shootout (1.000).
Special teams is another area of strength for the visiting Wranglers, as they come into the series leading the league in powerplay goals scored with 67. Their 12 shorthanded goals is tied for third-most in the league, and lead the league in penalty kill percentage with 85.1%.
Wednesday night will be Autism Acceptance night presented by Canucks Autism Network. Friday’s game will be Country Night, while Saturday’s regular season finale is Fan Appreciation Night. Following the games this week, Abbotsford will host the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs the following week on April 19th, 21st and 23rd. The opponent is still to be determined, however it will be against either the Ontario Reign, Bakersfield Condors or Tucson Roadrunners. All Round 1 playoff games will get underway at 7:00pm from Abbotsford Centre.
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