Tuesday, Feb. 27 | 11:00 a.m. | Allstate Arena | Facebook
The unseasonably warm weather in February has thawed the Chicago Wolves power play. It’s now cooking with its best performance in a one-month span. During February, the Wolves own a 37.1 percent success rate on the man advantage. The squad has recorded a season-high five multi-PPG games in February and have scored a man-advantage marker in six of their nine games. The last time the Wolves finished a month of play with a power-play conversion rate above 20 percent was October 2017, when they nabbed nine goals for a 22.5 percent success rate. In October, the Wolves recorded three multi-PPG games — the previous team season-high — but recorded PPGs in five of their eight games.
During February, the Chicago Wolves’ most productive player when the team is on the power play has been center Beau Bennett. The 26-year-old has collected eight of his 11 points in February while on the power play. All three of his goals are man-advantage markers while five of eight assists have aided Chicago’s PP efforts. To no one’s surprise, the Wolves’ second-best player on the power play in February has been T.J. Tynan, who owns a goal and five assists for six points on the man advantage.
Weirdly, the Chicago Wolves are way better at killing penalties on enemy ice than at home. The club owns a 87.7 percent kill rate on the road and a 79.2 percent kill rate at Allstate Arena. Coincidentally, the Texas Stars are the same way with an 83.6 percent kill rate on the road and a 75.7 percent mark at home.
BOOMING BLUE LINE
On Monday, the Vegas Golden Knights acquired 26-year-old Philip Holm in a deadline-day trade with the Vancouver Canucks and sent the Sweden native to the Chicago Wolves. When Holm makes his debut, he’ll become the 17th defenseman to skate for the Wolves this season and his presence gives the team nine active defensemen. Three of the nine — Nolan Valleau (Jan. 31), Zac Leslie (Feb. 5) and Holm (Feb. 26) — were added in the last 30 days while rookie Dmitry Osipov was reassigned to the ECHL’s Quad City Mallards. Jake Bischoff — who played in the first 50 games this season — hasn’t seen game action since Feb. 17 against San Antonio while Petteri Lindbohm has not played since Dec. 17. He was ruled out for the rest of the season after shoulder surgery on Jan. 6.
By the Numbers:
- 4: On Sunday, forward T.J. Tynan recorded his fourth short-handed goal of the season. That tally, scored just two minutes shy of the 10-minute mark in the second period, moved the 26-year-old into a four-way tie for the No. 1 spot among the American Hockey League’s shorthanded goal-scorers. Binghamton’s Kevin Rooney, Charlotte rookie Warren Feogele and Springfield’s Anthony Greco each also own four shorties this season. The quad has already reached the total of tallies recorded by last year’s top short-handed scorers — seven players led the league, including Rooney. The previous season, 2015-16, Chicago Wolves forward Wade Megan ran the table with seven short-handed goals while with Portland. He was three better than the next-best short-handed scorer.
- 7: So far this season, the Chicago Wolves are the only team in the 30-team American Hockey League that has not lost at home when leading at either intermission. Chicago stands 7-0- 0-0 when leading after 20 minutes and 14-0-0-0 when leading after 40 at Allstate Arena. In addition, the Wolves have handily outscored opponents 92-65 and own an 18-7-1-0 record at home.
- 10.96: This season, the Chicago Wolves rank second in the American Hockey League in fewest penalty minutes per game with 10.96. Perhaps more important, the Wolves own the third-best penalty-minutes margin with a plus-95. Chicago has been whistled for just 592 minutes while their opponents have been assessed 687 minutes. That differential has led to 36 more power-play chances through 54 games.
- 40: With two goals and an assist in Sunday’s victory over the Central Division-leading Manitoba Moose, forward Teemu Pulkkinen became the second Chicago Wolves’ player to reach the 40-point threshold this season. Center Brandon Pirri is poised to be the Wolves’ next 40-point scorer for the 2017-18 campaign — he is two points shy of the mark. Currently, the Wolves are three players short of matching last year’s total of 40-point getters. Last season, the Wolves also boasted three players with at least 50 points and one — Kenny Agostino — with more than 75 points on the season. The Wolves could have five 40-point scorers again this season, and a few 50-point producers, as T.J. Tynan (11-34—45), Pulkkinen (15-25—40), Pirri (20-18—38), Tomas Hyka (13-21—34) and Beau Bennett (8-25—33) are all on pace for 50 point seasons if they keep up their current scoring clips.
- 45: Forward T.J. Tynan leads the Chicago Wolves with 45 points (11G, 34A) and quietly ascending the American Hockey League’s scoring charts. The 26-year-old sits eighth in the league in scoring — he shares the spot with Reid Boucher (Utica), Chris Bourque (Hershey) and Chris Terry (Laval). However, two points could rocket him into the No. 5 spot; four or five points could rank him fourth in the league and 11 points separate Tynan and the league’s leading scorer, Phil Varone (Lehigh Valley). Of the seven players ahead of Tynan, only one — Manitoba rookie Mason Appleton (15-36—51, 2nd) — is in the Central Division. Hot on Tynan’s heels — just one point behind him — are Grand Rapids’ Matt Puempel (19-25—44) and Iowa’s Cal O’Reilly (9-35—44). Four of the final five scorers in the league’s top 20 hail from the Central Division.
Sunday, Feb. 25 Chicago 5, (at) Manitoba 2
- The Wolves upended the Moose for the second time this season and the first at Bell MTS Place.
- Forwards Beau Bennett (G, 2A) and Teemu Pulkkinen (2G, A) each recorded three-point efforts while T.J. Tynan netted his league-leading fourth short-handed goal.
- Defenseman Zac Leslie accounted for the fifth goal, his second since being acquired by the Wolves.
- Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo made 36 saves for the win.
Saturday, Feb. 24 (at) Manitoba 2, Chicago 0
- Chicago suffered its first shutout setback against Manitoba in nine years.
- Wolves goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 37 shots, including 19 of 21 in the second period.
- Moose netminder Eric Comrie made 33 saves in the shutout win.
- Forwards Francis Beauvillier and Cam Maclise scored for Manitoba.
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Nov. 21, 2017
|10/06/2017||H-E-B Center||L, 5-6|
|10/07/2017||H-E-B Center||OTL, 5-6|
|11/21/2017||Allstate Arena||L, 2-1|
- The Chicago Wolves return from a three-game road trip looking for their first win of the 2017-18 season series against the Texas Stars.
- This season’s series is six games, so the Wolves will need to take all three of the remaining meetings with the Stars in order to break even in the series.
- If the Wolves can tie the series, it will be the second time in eight seasons they have done so. If they cannot tie, it mark the fifth time they’ve dropped a season series against the Stars.