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Tale of the Tape: Feb. 28

 After wrapping up the season series with San Antonio last week, the Chicago Wolves will complete another tonight as they close out their eight-game slate against Grand Rapids. The Wolves have earned nine of a possible 14 points thus far while the Griffins have captured seven.

Saturday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.
Allstate Arena

GR
Team Record: 31-17-5-1
Last Game: 4-0 W vs. Milwaukee (Feb. 27)
2013-14 Season Series: 3-3-1-0
Last Meeting: 5-1 Road Win (Feb. 15)
CHI
Team Record: 27-20-5-1
Last Game: 2-5 L vs. San Antonio (Feb. 22)
2013-14 Season Series: 4-2-1-0
Last Meeting: 1-5 Home Loss (Feb. 15)

Storylines

  • After wrapping up the season series with San Antonio last week, the Chicago Wolves will complete another tonight as they close out their eight-game slate against Grand Rapids. The Wolves have earned nine of a possible 14 points thus far while the Griffins have captured seven.

  • Grand Rapids snapped Chicago’s four-game winning streak in its last visit to Allstate on Feb. 15 and now the Wolves will look to return the favor. The Griffins enter tonight on a seven-game winning streak with points in their last 11 games, including a win over Milwaukee last night.

  • The Midwest Division remains tight with the top three teams within four points of each other, seeming once again as though it will come down to the wire for the title. While the Wolves were knocked out of the No. 8 seed with Hamilton’s win Friday night, they trail by just one point with two games in hand. If the Wolves regain the spot and Grand Rapids, Milwaukee, and Rockford maintain theirs, it will be the first time the Midwest Division has sent four teams to the playoffs since the league realigned from a two-division to a three-division conference in 2011-12.

  • Right wing SHANE HARPER added to his AHL career high point total with two more last weekend against San Antonio, notching a goal in each contest to maintain pace in the AHL scoring race. The forward is tied for second in the league in goals (first among active skaters due to Teemu Pulkkinen’s recall to Detroit) with 23 in 53 games, more than half of which have come since Jan. 2. The forward has scored in bunches this season, registering eight scoring streaks of two-plus games and with just four of his tallies being both preceded and followed by games without a marker. 


By The Numbers

999 – Regular-season contests, including tonight, broadcast by Wolves color analyst Billy Gardner, who hits milestone game No. 1,000 tomorrow night against Milwaukee. The broadcaster and veteran of 380 NHL games, almost all with the Chicago Blackhawks, is in his 13th season with the Wolves.

4 – Wolves who have appeared in all 53 games this season, an amount that dropped by two last week after ROB BORDSON and PAT CANNONE missed Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests, respectively. SHANE HARPER, JEREMY WELSH, BRENT REGNER, and MATHIEU BRODEUR remain as the final four iron men.

0 – Power-play goals for the Wolves — the league’s fourth-best PP team at 20.1 percent — in their last three games (0-for-12), not including Feb. 13 when they received no power-play chances. It is the second-longest stretch for the team this season behind a four-game drought from Nov. 22-28 (0-for-16). 


Follow The Action

Tonight’s game begins at 7 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

Adam Cracknell

Adam Cracknell
Right Wing

The former  Wolves forward returns to Chicago for his first game in the burgundy and gold since last season.   

Cracknell spent the beginning of this season in Columbus’ system, playing 17 games with the Blue Jackets and 18 with Springfield. He recorded three goals and four assists for the Falcons. The 29-year-old forward played a crucial part for the Wolves down the stretch into the Calder Cup playoffs last season, tallying nearly a point per game with 12 goals and 13 assists in 28 games. He added another three goals and an assist in their seven playoff appearances.

With seven weeks left in the regular season, the Wolves find themselves one point out of the final playoff spot and fourth in the Midwest Division. A spark is needed to finish the last 23 games on a high note and clinch a playoff berth, and the Wolves are hoping Cracknell can help provide that as he did last season.

Petr Mrazek

#34 Petr Mrazek
Goaltender

After a rough start to the season in Grand Rapids — posting a 1-2-0 record with .854 save percentage and 3.63 goals against average in four appearances — Mrazek has rebounded in stellar fashion. 

Since that stretch in October, the 23-year-old netminder has won all six AHL starts with a .949 save percentage and a 1.46 goals against average and two shutouts. He was recalled by Detroit and appeared in 20 games between late November and as recent as Feb. 11, earning a 13-5-1 record, .909 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average. 

Mrazek has put on a show between the pipes for the Griffins in each of their last four games, posting two shutouts and giving up just four goals to put Grand Rapids atop the Midwest Division. The Wolves will have to find a chink in his armor for a much-needed win tonight.