It’s a Christmas miracle! The Abbotsford Canucks kick off an incredibly light pre-end-of-year schedule with a doubleheader against the visiting San Jose Barracuda!
Following their two-game series against the ‘Cuda, the Farm will take an eight–game hiatus before hitting the road to close out 2022 with a doubleheader against the Manitoba Moose on December 30th and New Year’s Eve!
Before previewing the series against the ‘Cud, let’s see how good we did with last week’s predictions!
Week 10 prediction review
Regardless, there should be no excuse for the Canucks not to throttle the Gulls.
They’re just so bad that anything less than two points should be considered a missed opportunity.
While San Diego put up a valiant effort to score 4 goals on 23 shots, the Canucks nonetheless throttled the Gulls. The Canucks thoroughly dominated their overmatched opponent, outshooting them 45-23 en route to generating a first-period hat trick for Lane Pederson, with two helpers from Arshdeep Bains and Danila Klimovich to secure the victory.
Expect the Canucks’ power play to struggle to convert against the elite penalty kill of the Silver Knights. Depending on how the team chooses to use ECHL PTO Jake Kupsky on this road trip, fatigue may also factor in the results from a goaltending side. Arturs Silovs was the Canucks’ starter for five of their six games on the most recent homestand and has been the starter for six of the team’s last eight. Assuming the team can get Silovs at least one game of rest on this upcoming three-in-four road trip, the Canucks should come away with at least four points from three games.
We were a bit pessimistic that the Farm could make it three in a row against a Henderson team battling against brutal on-ice shooting luck. Sure enough, the Farm lost Lane Pederson to a well-deserved call-up, and the red-hot offence dried up en route to a 3-0 shutout loss.
During the Canucks’ three-game road swing, their power play converted once on 14 opportunities, while their penalty kill conceded 2 goals on nine chances.
Games 24 & 25 versus San Jose Barracuda
To this point of the season, the Abbotsford Canucks’ schedule has been quite favourable to them. Injuries and call-ups have been few and far between, leaving them with mostly the same lineup every night. The Barracuda sit three points below the Canucks in the Pacific Division standings with the 16th-best power play and 8th-best penalty kill in the AHL.
Over their last five games, the Canucks’ power play has gone remarkably cold, converting twice on 23 power play opportunities. During that same period, the team scored 14 goals at 5v5, 2.8/game.
Fortunately, the team has Nils Höglander joining their ranks, which will almost assuredly improve their power play’s conversion rate.
Getting Höglander out of Vancouver may be the best thing for his development and will give him a chance to play on a line with fellow 2019 draft pick Vasily Podkolzin.
While in Vancouver, Högz and Podz have spent 158 minutes together at 5v5 across 68 games. During that split, the Canucks out-attempted opponents 152-139, outshot opponents 79-77, outscored opponents 8-7, and had an expected goals-for percentage of 50.94%.
In the NHL!
While it’s true that a small sample of NHL success won’t equate to immediate AHL success, it is proof of concept that the two can have success together in a much more difficult league!
Weather permitting, the Högz and Pödz connection will get to flex their chemistry against a middling Pacific Division opponent who ranks quite “mid” among league stats.
The Barracuda are currently 22nd in the AHL by points percentage, scoring the 20th-most goals per game while conceding the 18th-highest goals per game against the 9th-most shots against per game.
In brighter news, they have held a playoff spot for much of the season thanks to their 8th-best penalty kill and the 15th-best team save percentage in the league. Like the Henderson Silver Knights, the Barracuda have spent much of the season battling against a brutal on-ice shooting percentage. San Jose has only managed to convert on 9.06% of their shots — 73 goals on 806 shots — the fourth-worst conversion rate in the league!
Following their three-game road trip, the Abbotsford Canucks still sit with the 2nd-best rate of shots allowed per game while their team save percentage has slowly climbed from 2nd-worst in the AHL to sixth-worst. Despite their shutout loss to the Silver Knights, the Canucks sit with the 12th-best shooting percentage in the AHL at 10.96%.
The Baraccuda enter this doubleheader on a three-game losing streak, carrying a 5-7-0-0 road record while being outscored 44-31 on the road.
Through 12 home games, the Canucks are 8-3-0-1 with a 0.708 points percentage, having outscored the visitors by a combined total of 50-31!
Week 11 Predictions
It’s impossible not to bet against the home team for this doubleheader series.
Factoring how dominant they’ve been at home with the midnight addition of Nils Höglander to the roster, the Abbotsford Canucks should earn three out of four points, at minimum.
Again, provided the weather doesn’t delay the series entirely!
Drive safe out there, everyone!