Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 | 8:00 p.m. | Facebook | U Too

SNOWBIRDS

The Chicago Wolves are visiting Arizona — escaping the 20-degree average temperatures in Chicago — to wrap up a four-game season series with the Tucson Roadrunners. The teams opened their first season series in October with a set of games at Allstate Arena. The weekend series — Oct. 21 and 22 — was a split. Tucson took the first game 4-3 while Teemu Pulkkinen netted both goals — including the overtime game-winner — for the Wolves to earn the victory in the second game. The two-goal performance was Pulkkinen’s first of the season.

CENTRAL RISING

The Chicago Wolves stand fourth in the Central Division but only one point — and 11 percentage points — behind the second-place Iowa Wild. The Central Division figures to be a close race to the end as the sixth-place Grand Rapids Griffins are just 47 percentage points behind the Wild. The Manitoba Moose are leading the division with 59 points and a .702 win percentage — they also have games in hand on every team except the Milwaukee Admirals (No. 5). Meanwhile, the Wolves will try to keep climbing while facing the Pacific Division’s No. 1 team in Tucson. The Roadrunners own the second-best winning percentage (.635) in the Western Conference.

BACK IN THE SADDLE

Forward Tobias Lindberg has earned at least one point in 13 games this season and when the 22-year- old Swede gets on the scoresheet, the Chicago Wolves own a 10-1-1-1 record. Only recently — Jan. 17 against the Iowa Wild — did the Wolves earn that lone regulation loss when Lindberg appeared on the scoresheet. However, Lindberg put himself right back on the scoresheet in the next game when the Wolves throttled the visiting Bakersfield Condors 6-1 on Saturday at Allstate Arena for their largest margin of victory this season. While there may be a blemish on Lindberg’s point record, the Wolves own a 5-0-1-1 record when he scores a goal.

DANSKING IN THE DARK

On Wednesday, the Vegas Golden Knights returned goaltender Oscar Dansk on loan to the Chicago Wolves. The 23-year-old rejoins the team after almost three months with the Golden Knights — a stretch that featured his NHL debut on Oct. 21 against the St. Louis Blues and appearances in three more games — including his first NHL start on Oct. 24 against the Chicago Blackhawks. Through four games and three starts, Dansk compiled a 3-0-0 record with a 1.78 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.

By the Numbers:

  • 2: This season, the Chicago Wolves have given up just two short-handed goals and are one of just five teams to do so. However, both of those markers were surrendered to the Tucson Roadrunners. When the Roadrunners debuted at Allstate Arena, Nick Merkley (Oct. 22) and Dakota Mermis (Oct. 22) each recorded a shortie. Conversely, the Wolves have netted a league second-best seven short-handed goals and forward T.J. Tynan owns three of them, which is a season personal-best for the 25-year-old.
  • 4: The Chicago Wolves currently have four goaltenders residing on their roster: Oscar DanskKasimir Kaskisuo, Max Lagace and C.J. Motte. Kaskisuo and Motte are the tandem in Arizona looking to backstop the Wolves for their first two games in the state of Arizona. Dansk returned to the Chicago roster on Jan. 24 while Lagace has not been between the pipes for Chicago since exiting the Jan. 17 game against the Iowa Wild late in the second period. If Kaskisuo appears in tonight’s game, he will match Lagace (Dec. 17-29) for most consecutive appearances this season with five.
  • 13: Since Jan. 1, forward Tomas Hyka owns three goals and 10 assists for 13 points, which leads all Chicago Wolves players in that timespan. Hyka arrives in the desert riding back- to-back two-point performances as he produced two assists against the Bakersfield Condors (Jan. 20) and a goal and an assist versus the Cleveland Monsters (Jan. 21). January hasn’t just been rewarding in terms of points for Hyka — he was named to the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic roster on Jan. 11. It will be the first time Hyka has skated for the AHL in the All-Star Classic. He previously competed in the 2014 all-star event as the opponent when he was a member of Färjestad.
  • 23: The last time the Chicago Wolves and Cleveland Monsters faced off, the Wolves were nearing the end of their 14-game franchise-tying point streak. Cleveland was the team against which Chicago kicked off its point streak with a 3-0 shutout on Dec. 9 in the second contest of back-to-back contests at Quicken Loans Arena. The teams again competed on Jan. 3 when the Monsters made their first appearance of the season at Allstate Arena.
  • 23: Twenty-three of the Chicago Wolves’ 43 games this season — including the previous two games against the Tucson Roadrunners — have been decided by a one-game margin. The Utica Comets lead the AHL with 25 one-goal decisions, but the Wolves are tied for second. Last season — when Chicago ascended the Central Division ranks and claimed its eighth division title in franchise history — the team participated in 36 one-goal games and earned a 14-9-8-5 record — good for a .569 win percentage. This season the Wolves tout a 9-7-5-2 record in one-goal contests. The club’s 36 one-marker margins in 2016-17 was the highest in a season since the 2014-15 campaign. The Wolves are on pace to potentially finish the season with 41 one-goal games.
  • 30: Over the weekend, Tomas Hyka and T.J. Tynan hit the 30-point benchmark. Tynan — second in team scoring with 32 points (8G, 24A) — joined the 30-Point Club on Jan. 20 against the Bakersfield Condors when he registered four assists en route to a Chicago Wolves win. The feat made him the third Wolves player this season to reach the mark and his four-point performance was the first of his career. The next day against the Cleveland Monsters, Hyka collected a goal and an assist to push his season point total to 31 (12G, 19A) and place him third in team scoring.
  • 23: Twenty-three of the Chicago Wolves’ 43 games this season — including the previous two games against the Tucson Roadrunners — have been decided by a one-game margin. The Utica Comets lead the AHL with 25 one-goal decisions, but the Wolves are tied for second. Last season — when Chicago ascended the Central Division ranks and claimed its eighth division title in franchise history — the team participated in 36 one-goal games and earned a 14-9-8-5 record — good for a .569 win percentage. This season the Wolves tout a 9-7-5-2 record in one-goal contests. The club’s 36 one-marker margins in 2016-17 was the highest in a season since the 2014-15 campaign. The Wolves are on pace to potentially finish the season with 41 one-goal games.
  • 32: With eight goals and 24 assists for 32 points, forward T.J. Tynan is well on his way to another 40-point season. If the 25-year-old Orland Park, Illinois native can reach the benchmark he will continue his streak of 40-point seasons since becoming a professional four seasons ago. Tynan is looking to extend a three-game point streak in which he has earned seven assists. The four helpers he recorded on Jan. 20 against the Bakersfield Condors was his first career four-point performance. If Tynan keeps at his current scoring clip, he is on pace to finish the season with a career-best 57 points.

Game Review

Sunday, Jan. 21 (at) Chicago 3, Cleveland 1

  • The Wolves set a franchise record with their 10th consecutive home victory.
  • Rookie Defenseman Jake Bischoff and forward Tomas Hyka each registered a goal and an assist.
  • Center Wade Megan netted the empty-net insurance marker.
  • Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 25 saves in his second consecutive start.

Saturday, Jan. 20 (at) Chicago 6, Bakersfield 1