Game 4 Preview: Abbotsford Canucks looks to force a game five tonight on home ice
By Faber6 months ago
The AHL playoffs continue to roll along and the Abbotsford Canucks will once again need a win to keep their season alive.
After losing the first two games of the series in Calgary, the Canucks pulled off a 3-2 win in game three on Wednesday and will need a similar result to force a game five on Sunday.
The Abbotsford Centre has been rocking throughout the playoffs and we’ve learned that Friday night games in the Fraser Valley provide an incredible atmosphere and boost for the home club.
Abbotsford is going to need their big guns to come firing early and often in this one and we are here to give you some information ahead of the Friday night fight between the two Pacific Division rivals.
Need more Nils
Nils Höglander was electric in the opening series of the AHL playoffs, but has not found that level in the second round.
The young winger has just one assist through three games and has taken seven minor penalties through those three games. Höglander has the potential to single-handedly win games for this Abbotsford team and Friday night presents a great showcase game for Höglander to come up big and impress the organization. He’s the best player on this Canucks team when he’s going, and they need Höglander to be going tonight.
Arty or Marty?
It’s the question we’ve had many times throughout the past two months.
The Abbotsford Canucks are confident in both of the goaltenders on their roster.
Spencer Martin is leading the AHL playoffs in save percentage — sporting a 0.943% save percentage and coming up clutch for the Canucks on Wednesday night in game three.
Arturs Silovs is the team MVP but has a 2-4-3 record against the Wranglers this year.
The Abbotsford Canucks have alternated goalies in each of the past 21 consecutive games. We aren’t sure who will be in net for Abbotsford tonight — you have the goalie with the best save percentage in the AHL playoffs but also have the 21-game streak of alternating goalies.
We’re guessing it’ll be Silovs but have been wrong before.
Special Teams winner likely wins
Power play and penalty kill success has brought wins throughout this series. It’s likely to be more of the same on Friday night.
Abbotsford have some very skilled players on their power play units and we saw Höglander bumped up to the first unit on Wednesday. He set up Linus Karlsson for Abbotsford’s first goal of the game on Wednesday and the Canucks will need more of that on Friday night.
Another note is that Danila Klimovich did not see power play time during Wednesday’s game three. Klimovich still has his struggles at five-on-five but he is an extremely effective power play point producer. His shot and vision are elite with the man-advantage and we hope to see him get back onto one of the power play units.
John Stevens left Wednesday’s game in the first period with an injury and we aren’t sure about his status on Friday. Stevens underwent abdominal surgery in February and if he is out of the lineup for game four, we may see Aatu Räty, Vinny Arseneau or Vasily Podkolzin come back from their own injury to fill the open spot left by Stevens’ injury.
The other change that expect to see is right-shot defenceman Filip Johansson being replaced by either Alex Kannok Leipert or Brady Keeper.
Johansson looks like he needs more time to adjust to this league and team structure. Keeper and Kannok Leipert have been here all season long, they understand the defensive structure and are more physical than Johansson.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:07 pm at the Abbotsford Centre.
I’ll be out there to cover the game and Cody Severtson will be bringing you The Farmies postgame report right after the game.
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