Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

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Our resident “bull in a china shop” Miikka Salomaki will look to rebound this afternoon after being kicked out of Friday night’s game in the first period. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Amtrak Rivalry is here to wash away the pains of Friday night! With the Milwaukee Admirals trailing the Chicago Wolves in the standings – the stakes of today’s game are just as high as they often are between these two. Let’s rumble.

The Chicago Wolves enter today’s game with a record of 26-16-3-2 (57 points). They are in second place of the Midwest Division – trailing the Griffins by 7 points – and leading the Admirals by 3 points. In their last ten games they have gone 6-2-2-0 (14 points) and enter this chapter of the Amtrak Rivalry on a four-game point streak, 3-0-1-0 (7 points).

Through five-games between the Admirals and Wolves this season the Wolves are up big in the season series:

Oct. 19 vs. Chicago: L, 3-2 (OT)
Nov. 15 vs. Chicago: L, 4-3
Nov. 22 vs. Chicago: W, 3-2 (SO)
Dec. 22 @ Chicago: L, 2-1 (OT)
Jan. 11 vs. Chicago: L, 2-1

The Wolves have taken 9 points from a possible 10 points against the Admirals this season. To think that the Admirals trail the Wolves by 3 points in the Midwest Division… For the Admirals to cleanse the filth that was Friday night’s shutout loss – they will need to also buck this season’s downward trend against the Wolves. It’s one thing to have a bad day against a team like the Utica Comets. It’s another thing to have a bad season against a divisional rival.

The Wolves are lead in scoring by first-year pro Ty Rattie. The first-round draft choice of the St. Louis Blues in the 2011 NHL Draft has played in 46 games this season (only missing a single game). He has 30 points (18 goals, 12 assists). The next closest to him in points? Mark Mancari (27). The next closest to him in goals? Dmitrij Jaskin (13). In three-games in February, Rattie has tallied 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) – and that includes a silent night his last time out against the Iowa Wild. He’s been hot – and, along with a pesky player in Mancari, is one of the key players who will need to be slowed down and given serious attention when he’s on the ice.

Jake Allen will more than likely see the net against the Admirals today. He didn’t play in the loss to Iowa – so expect the AHL All Star goaltender to square up with Marek Mazanec this afternoon. This season Allen has played in 32 games, won 19 games, has a 2.12 GAA, and a 0.924 SV%. Last season he was able to make a quick impact at the NHL level for the Blues: playing 15 games, winning 9 games, displaying a 2.46 GAA, and a 0.905 SV%.

With the defeat Friday night the Admirals dropped to a record of 22-14-6-4 (54 points). As mentioned, they trail these Wolves by 3 points. As not mentioned yet, the Admirals do have a game at hand over these Wolves: Admirals, 46 games played… Wolves, 47 games played. The ground will be there for the Ads to climb up. Beating the Wolves today goes a long way in making that opportunity a reality.

It wasn’t posted here at the Roundtable yesterday… (apologies.. but I was with my father on our annual Chicago Auto Show trip) …but, Colton Sissons was a very late recall to the Nashville Predators for last night’s home game against the Anaheim Ducks. The move was a direct result from Matt Cullen having a quick on-off during morning practice and being scratched from the game.

Sissons’ stat line last night: no points, 12 shifts, 7:27 of ice time (0:31 on the penalty kill), and he continued his faceoff success in the NHL – going 4/6 (66.7%) on faceoffs.

The bigger news from that game came from fellow Admiral call up Simon Moser. The soon-to-be Olympian scored his first career NHL point with a primary assist on the game’s opening goal scored by Viktor Stalberg (game highlights).

Moser’s stat line last night: 1 assist, 3 shots on goal, 1 takeaway, and 17 shifts for 12:53 of ice time (1:07 on the penalty kill).

With the Olympic break now in full-swing at the NHL level – I finally expect Moser can join up with Team Switzerland after a week or two of rumors that he was getting ready to join their camp in Sochi. A first NHL stint, and ending it on a high note with a first career NHL point, not a bad delay for his travels in my book.

I would anticipate the arrival of Colton Sissons and Mr. Aaron Sims from Nashville to Milwaukee in time for this afternoon’s game. In case you’ve been living under a rock, our very own radio play-by-play man was called up to the NHL as the Predators cycled their radio man in place of Pete Weber on TV following the sad events that took place with Weber in Minnesota where he suffered a heart attack (Roundtable story). This meant that the radio play-by-play seat was empty, Aaron was right next door/state at the time, and was able to call his first ever NHL game in his home state. It didn’t end there though. He has literally been working, nonstop and across the country, since Wednesday night’s Admirals game: Ads/Bulldogs, Preds/Wild, Ads/Comets, Preds/Ducks, and finishing off his marathon today with the afternoon tilt between the Amtrak Rivals. I salute you, Aaron!

What are your thoughts for this afternoon’s game? Will the early start time have any impact on how this game plays out? Does the game against the Utica Comets have you feeling ready for a rebound or more of the same?

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