Friday, Nov. 3 | 6:00 p.m. | Van Andel Arena

DEJA VU

One week ago, the Chicago Wolves and Grand Rapids Griffins met for the first time during the 2017-18 campaign on a Friday night at Van Andel Arena for a 6 p.m. game. With a 5-3 loss, the Wolves suffered the same fate as they did in their first contest last season against the Griffins, which doubled as the season opener. That game was a close affair as the Griffins edged the Wolves 3-2 in overtime. The Oct. 27 game was tightly contested as Chicago matched Grand Rapids goal-for-goal and even carried a 3-2 lead into second intermission. However, the Griffins netted three consecutive goals to rally in the third.

THE MATT HATTER

In last Friday’s 5-3 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Chicago Wolves gave up their first hat trick of the season as Matt Lorito netted three goals. Last season, the Wolves did not allow an opposing player to collect three goals in a game until Feb. 26 when Tyler Graovac — then with the Iowa Wild — registered a hat trick in a 4-3 overtime Chicago victory. The win was the exclamation point on a wild weekend that saw Chicago rookie defenseman Vince Dunn and Iowa’s Kurtis Gabriel get into an off-ice altercation on their way to their respective dressing rooms.

DIFFERENT DEFENSE

In the seven days since Chicago and Grand Rapids last met, several roster changes have been made to the Wolves’ blue line. Most notably, 22-year-old Shea Theodore was recalled from loan by the Vegas Golden Knights and made his 2017-18 NHL debut on Oct. 31 against the New York Rangers. Last Friday marked Griffin Reinhart’s first game of the season with the Wolves as he was loaned to Chicago for conditioning that same day. However, three days later, the 23-year-old was formally assigned to Chicago after clearing waivers. On Oct. 28, Jason Garrison cleared waivers and also joined the Wolves. Friday could be Garrison’s Wolves debut and his first AHL appearance since April 27, 2010, when he skated with the Rochester Americans. Additionally, the Wolves loaned 21-year-old rookie defenseman Dmitry Osipov to the Quad City Mallards on Wednesday.

ON THE BUBBLE

The Wolves and Griffins ended last season as the 1-2 seeds in the Central Division. This year, both teams are off to disappointing starts with records below .500. The reigning Calder Cup champion Griffins have yet to string together consecutive wins, but had a four-game skid from Oct. 14-25. Similarly, Chicago has yet to win back-to-back contests and remains in search of its first road victory.

By the Numbers:

  • 2: Defenseman Jake Walman collected two assists the last time the Wolves and Griffins met on Oct. 27. A late addition to the Wolves roster last season, Walman registered two goals and an assist in seven regular-season games. In the Calder Cup Playoffs, the 21-year-old again collected two goals and an assist, but this time in eight contests. This year, Walman isn’t far off last season’s pace with two points through seven games.
  • 4: Center Ivan Barbashev looks to push his point streak to four games tonight. Through his first three contests of the year with the Wolves, the 21-year-old has two goals and two assists for four points. Barbashev joined Chicago for the first time this season on Oct. 22 and made his debut on Oct. 25 against the Manitoba Moose. In that contest, the Moscow native netted the Wolves’ only goal in the third period.
  • 10: On Oct. 28, defenseman Jason Garrison cleared waivers and joined the Wolves on loan from the Vegas Golden Knights. When Garrison makes his Wolves debut, he will do so sporting the No. 10 jersey and become the 26th player in franchise history to don those digits. Prior to joining Chicago, the 32-year-old skated in four games with Vegas and logged an assist and a -2 plus/minus rating.
  • 35: Through the first four games of the season, the Wolves boasted a 35 percent success rate on the power, netting seven man-advantage markers in 20 opportunities. Since Oct. 22, the club’s power-play fortunes have turned and Chicago has cashed in just 10 percent of the time with an extra skater. In the last four games, the Wolves are 2 for 20 on the man advantage. In three of those four games, the team was held scoreless through 16 opportunities. Overall, through the first eight games of the season, Chicago owns a 22.5 percent success rate on the power play. Even with the recent downturn, the club remains one of the top-five power-play performers in the American Hockey League.

Game Review

Saturday, Oct. 28 (at) Chicago 2, Milwaukee 1

  • Chicago rallied in the third period with two goals 1:58 apart to capsize Milwaukee.
  • Forward Teemu Pulkkinen and defenseman Shea Theodore each tallied for the Wolves.
  • Goaltender C.J. Motte made 27 saves for his first victory in a Wolves sweater.

Friday, Oct. 27 (at) Grand Rapids 5, Chicago 3 

  • The Wolves collected their fourth regulation loss against the Griffins.
  • Forward Ivan Barbashev netted his second goal in as many game while veteran Brett Sterling registered his first tally of the year and Teemu Pulkkinen scored against his former team.
  • Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo turned aside 36 shots in his second game for the Wolves.