Previewing the Abbotsford Canucks’ week 5 double-header against the Bakersfield Condors
24 days ago
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Sorry, I’m still reeling from Monday night’s Canucks win over Edmonton.
The Canucks organization has the chance to do the funniest thing ever this week: turning a Thursday night game between the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks into must-watch television before defeating their AHL team in back-to-back games on home ice.
It may be wishful thinking to believe this injury-addled Abbotsford team can pull off the trifecta of “dunkage” on the Oilers organization. But let’s look at the raw stats and see why and how they can do it!
But first! A brief review of last week’s predictions!
Week 4 predictions reviewThe Coachella Valley Firebirds are, pardon the pun, firing on all cylinders. I predict the Firebirds to run up the score at home. Arshdeep Bains and Christian Wolanin’s point streaks will stay alive, but it will be the first time we see a goaltender hook this season.
Can you say, “Nailed it!”
I might as well stop doing weekly predictions because no prediction will ever top how accurate this one was.
The Henderson Silver Knights series will be infinitely more competitive. I will return to my positive ways and predict that Abbotsford will win both.
My positivity-channeling almost worked! The under-gunned Canucks put up a valiant effort against a much larger, more experienced Henderson Silver Knights team. The result was a 5-2 regulation loss on Friday before a stirring 2-0 shutout victory on Saturday, Arturs Silovs’ first of the season.
Games 12 & 13 versus the Bakersfield Condors
The slumping Oilers recalled their three leading point producers in the past week: Sam Gagner, Raphael Lavoie, and James Hamblin.
Fantastic news for the Abbotsford Canucks, assuming the Oilers don’t re-assign any of those three to Bakersfield by the weekend.
Through six games, the Condors have been very good at denying goals. They are number one in the AHL in fewest goals allowed per game and have the 9th-best penalty kill. Their goaltending tandem of Olivier Rodrigue and Calvin Pickard have combined for a seamless transition away from Stuart Skinner. Rodrigue leads the AHL with a 0.968 save percentage and a 1.00 goals against average, while Pickard is 4th in the AHL with a 0.939 save percentage and a 2.03 goals against average. They’ve been excellent despite playing behind a group that generates the second-fewest shots on goal while giving up the 5th-highest shots against per game.
The Abbotsford Canucks sit one spot above the Condors in the shots-conceded per-game chart but are getting below-league-average goaltending from Arturs Silovs and Nikita Tolopilo. Combined, Abbotsford’s starting duo have the 8th-worst save percentage in the AHL. On the bright side, Abbotsford is generating the 14th-most shots per game and converting on just a hair less of their shots than Bakersfield. The Canucks are rocking a shooting percentage of 12.5%, while the Condors are converting on 13.16% of their shots.
The absences of Lavoie, Gagner, and Hamblin will be noticed most on special teams. The Condors’ power play ranks 17th, while Abbotsford’s penalty kill ranks 8th-worst in the AHL. Abbotsford’s power play ranks 22nd, while Bakersfield’s penalty kill ranks 8th-best. Three key contributors being gone from Bakersfield’s lineup will swing the game into being heavily decided at even strength, a game state that Abbotsford has performed well in despite a clear lack of experience and depth. The Canucks are dead-even in even-strength goalscoring: 29 for and 29 against.
Week 5 Predictions
This weekend will likely see some high-scoring entertainment at the Abbotsford Centre. I’m going to be uber-positive and predict that Abbotsford will pick up their second shutout of the season in two straight regulation wins against their division rival. The vibes are too immaculate for the organization not to continue their dismantling of a division rival.
The Edmonton Oilers placing Jack Campbell on waivers to recall Calvin Pickard bodes very well for Abbotsford’s chances to do the funniest thing this weekend.
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