Firstly, I hope all had a Merry Christmas and had a lovely time with family and friends! Secondly, these guys again. The Chicago Wolves started their 2017-18 season rather poorly with a lot of varying pieces across their lineup. They’re the Vegas Golden Knights’ AHL affiliate. They still have a slight working agreement with the St. Louis Blues who have no dedicated AHL affiliate this season. And then their own AHL contracted players. It took time to get going but they are now. They arrive out of the AHL Christmas break on a seven-game point streak.
The Wolves current record is 12-12-5-1 (30 points, 0.500 points percentage). They are now nipping at the heels of the Milwaukee Admirals (0.552) for fourth place in the Central Division standings. This surge of course comes from their current run of form which involved an active seven-game point streak (6-0-1-0).
The Admirals are currently leading this season’s Amtrak Rivalry with a 3-2-0-0 record. With the exception of the Admirals 3-0 shutout back on the School Day Game this series has been rather tight. All games beyond the AM contest have been separated by two goals or less. Harry Zolnierczyk is the fixture’s top scorer with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 5 games while the Wolves top scorer in the match-up is defenseman Jake Walman who has 4 assists in 5 games. Anders Lindbäck has been, as he has against anyone this season, brilliant against the Wolves: 3-1-0-0 record with a 1.49 goals against average, 0.947 save percentage, and shutout.
There is a really strong contingent of players firing away for the Wolves at the moment. Teemu Pulkkinen continues to be their top scorer on the season: 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists) in 30 games. He is followed by Brandon Pirri who has 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 24 games. Paul Thompson currently leads the Wolves in goal scoring having banked 10 goals in 30 games. Tomas Hyka is also a real threat having produced at a 0.72 points per game clip in 18 games of work.
There is a nice duo operating in net for the Wolves at the moment. Maxime Lagacé in 9 appearances has a record of 6-2-1-0 with a 2.86 goals against average and 0.908 save percentage. He stopped 33/35 shots on goal in the Wolves 4-2 win at the Allstate Arena in the last meeting between the two teams. Lagacé also has a 6-6-0-1 record in the NHL this season with the Golden Knights with a 3.79 goals against average and 0.872 save percentage. He is accompanied by Kasimir Kaskisuo who has made 13 appearances with the Wolves since joining the team on loan from Toronto. He has a 4-8-1-0 record with the Wolves with a 2.76 goals against average, 0.900 save percentage, and shutout.
What are your expectations for these next two installments of the Amtrak Rivalry? Do you feel like the Milwaukee Admirals finally found their identity once again after their games against the Cleveland Monsters? What do the Admirals need to do in order to slow down the Chicago Wolves?
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