Saturday, April 16, 7:00 p.m. Allstate Arena
The Wolves wrap up their 22nd season with First Responders Night, presented by Turtle Wax. It’s just the fifth time Chicago won’t be using the regular-season finale as a springboard for the playoffs.
This year’s picture looked much brighter five months ago when the Wolves broke out to a 8-1-0-1 record, which served as the second- fastest start in franchise history. It ranked among the top four winning percentages in professional hockey on the morning of Nov. 13.
So what happened? For starters, a massive number of injuries struck the Wolves’ NHL affiliate and the Wolves themselves. Of the 20 players who suited up for Chicago on Opening Night — when the Wolves scored 3 power-play goals in the first period enroute to a 5-1 victory over Milwaukee — 11 of them left the team for the NHL at various points during the season.
In addition, a handful of key players missed anywhere from 25 to 90 percent of the Wolves’ season due to injury. During a 10-week stretch, the Wolves called up 14 players from the ECHL to bolster the roster.
By The Numbers
26: The next home game is 26 Saturdays from today when the Wolves host their 23rd home opener on Oct. 15 at Allstate Arena. The opponent will be revealed this summer.
22: If defensemen NICK PETRECKI is in the lineup tonight, he’ll become the sixth Wolves player to wear No. 22 this season (joining Konrad Abeltshauser, Drew Daniels, Dmitrij Jaskin, Mike Embach and Travis Walsh). That would be the second-busiest number in Wolves single-season history. In 1998-99, seven players donned No. 24 — a group that included Eddie Olczyk and Dallas Eakins.
0: ZACH O’BRIEN attempts to set the Wolves’ single-season record for most games played without committing a penalty. The gentlemanly forward has appeared in 61 games this year without any penalty minutes. The record for a Wolves skater is 12 games, which was set by center Brad Schell in 2006-07 (though he had 4 PIMS during the postseason). If you include goaltenders in this category, then Eddie Lack owns the record with his 46 whistle-free appearances in 2011-12.
Follow The Action
Today’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on WCIU The U Too and 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.