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Tale of the Tape: Feb. 15

Chicago enters today’s game against Grand Rapids with the same number of points (58) as the Griffins, but the visitors hold one game in hand and own the league’s biggest offensive force in Teemu Pulkkinen. He leads the AHL with 29 goals in 43 games, which is 7 goals more than the No. 2 guy (Albany’s Paul Thompson) and 8 more than the Wolves’ Shane Harper.

Sunday, Feb. 15, 4 p.m.
Allstate Arena

GR
Team Record: 26-17-5-1
Last Game: 4-2 W vs. San Antonio (Feb. 14)
2013-14 Season Series: 2-3-1-0
Last Meeting: 2-4 Home Loss (Jan. 21)
CHI
Team Record: 26-18-5-1
Last Game: 1-0 W vs. Oklahoma City (Feb. 13)
2013-14 Season Series: 4-1-1-0
Last Meeting: 4-2 Road Win (Jan. 21)

Storylines

  • Chicago enters today’s game against Grand Rapids with the same number of points (58) as the Griffins, but the visitors hold one game in hand and own the league’s biggest offensive force in Teemu Pulkkinen. He leads the AHL with 29 goals in 43 games, which is 7 goals more than the No. 2 guy (Albany’s Paul Thompson) and 8 more than the Wolves’ Shane Harper.

  • After a lackluster showing in December and January (9-11-2-1), the Chicago Wolves have been searching for signs that they belong among the best in the Western Conference. While last weekend’s pair of wins at Charlotte were an OK start, the Wolves moved up in class this week and have been encouraged by the results.

  • After squeezing past Midwest Division leader Milwaukee with a 3-2 overtime verdict on Wednesday, the Wolves doubled down with a 1-0 triumph over West Division leader Oklahoma City on Friday. The fact that the Barons entered the night as the American Hockey League’s leader in points — and took it to the Wolves in the early going before the hosts rallied to the occasion — made it that much sweeter.

  • “It’s one of those games where it’s a measuring stick to see where we’re at,” Wolves coach John Anderson said afterward. “If we know we can compete with them on a nightly basis, there’s a chance.”


By The Numbers

2 – The Wolves were whistled for just one minor penalty on Friday night, which meant Chicago and Oklahoma City tied the franchise record for fewest combined penalty minutes. It was the fifth game in Wolves history with just 2 penalty minutes. Oddly enough, the most recent two have come in the last four weeks as Chicago (0) and Grand Rapids (2) teamed up for some clean play when the Wolves won 4-2 on Jan. 21 in Michigan.

20 – Wins for the Wolves when scoring first, a feat they have accomplished in every tilt of their four-game winning streak. The points percentage of .875 (20-2-1-1) when scoring first ranks second behind Utica (.880; 21-2-1-1).

29 – Percent success rate for the Wolves’ power play in the team’s last 11 games, going 10-for-35 in that stretch. After finishing 30th last season (43-for-342, 12.6 percent), Chicago ranks second in the AHL at 21.4 percent (41-for-192) through 50 games this year.


Follow The Action

Today’s game begins at 4 p.m. and can be seen on The U-Too (channel 26.2). U-Too also can be found on XFinity’s Chs. 230 (HD) and 360 (SD), RCN’s Ch. 35 and WOW’s Ch. 170. The game can also be streamed on www.ahllive.com.

Those away from a TV or computer can follow @Chicago_Wolves or @ChiWolvesLive on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.


Player Spotlight

30 JordanBinnington

#30 Jordan Binnington
Goaltender

As of late, it seems like as Binnington goes, the Wolves go in terms of success on the ice.   

Both him and the team are on four-game winning streaks, with their more recent two games against two of the best teams in the Western Conference. Binnington stood his ground in overtime on Wednesday night against the Midwest Division-leading Milwaukee Admirals, then turned around and blanked the then-AHL leading Oklahoma City Barons on Friday night. During this streak, he’s made 108 saves on 112 attempts with a 0.98 goals against average. 

Tonight will also mark his 13th consecutive start, which ties a franchise record with Michael Garnett in 2006 and Matt Climie two seasons ago.  

Teemu Pulkkinen

#6 Teemu Pulkkinen
Right Wing

The last time the Wolves saw the Griffins, it was the day Pulkkinen returned from his NHL stint with the Red Wings for two weeks.

Whether it was exhaustion or just coming down off a emotional high, Pulkkinen was kept off the scoresheet in his return. Since that night, the 23-year-old winger has erupted for hands down his best stretch of the season. In his last nine games, Pulkkinen has nine goals, eight assists, six multi-point games and three multi-goal games .   

An x-factor like Pulkkinen on the ice with the Wolves current streak provides an exciting match-up in today’s matinee puck drop.