Wranglers Playoff Game Day: Time to take back the series

Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Paige Siewert
11 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers and Abbotsford Canucks continue their best of five playoff series on Friday night for game four of a possible five. Abbotsford still sits in a possible elimination game situation as they are behind 2-1 in the series. They beat the Wranglers on Wednesday for their first home game of the series and Calgary needs just one win to earn themselves a spot in the third round. 

Projected lineups

Jakob Pelletier – Ben Jones – Matthew Phillips
Dryden Hunt – Connor Zary – Walker Duehr
Brett Sutter – Kevin Rooney – Clark Bishop 
Mitch McLain – Cole Schwindt – Adam Klapka
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman 
Yan Kuznetsov – Nicolas Meloche
Dustin Wolf
Oscar Dansk (backup)
Tristen Nielsen – Justin Dowling – Linus Karlsson
Nils Hoglander – Max Sasson – Kyle Rau
Arshdeep Bains – John Stevens – Danila Klimovich 
Matt Alfaro  – Chase Wouters – Marc Gatcomb
Jett Woo – Noah Juulsen 
Christian Wolanin – Zach Giuttari 
Jack Rathbone – Filip Johansson 
Spencer Martin 
Arturs Silovs 

Post-season leaders

Nick DeSimone – 3GP, 1G, 4A
Matthew Phillips – 3GP, 1G, 2A
Dryden Hunt – 3GP, 2G
Nils Hoglander – 5GP, 2G, 3A
Kyle Rau – 5GP, 1G, 4A
Christian Wolanin – 5GP, 1G, 3A

Notes and expectations

Calgary needs to dig deep at this point in the series. The Canucks got a sliver of hope with their win in their last game and are going to continue to play desperately with their season on the line. A reality that has yet to set in for the Wranglers. Yes, they are ahead in this series and losing three in a row is not a common occurrence for them, but if they do not take game four, they are making things very hard on themselves by forcing a fifth game.
They have been playing to a just good enough standard. Not the standard they established in the regular season. They had enough juice to win the first two in overtime and only fell in game three by one goal. However, a defenseman leads the team in scoring with a two point lead on the next closest player… All the props to Nick DeSimone for the series he is having, but the top producers need to give more. 
Matthew Phillips has been right there in the plays he needs to be in but there are some obvious names that aren’t sitting in their regular spots in team scoring. Ben Jones and Jakob Pelletier only have two points in this series, and with them making up two thirds of the top line, these guys need to get the job done. 
Walker Duehr is another name that comes to mind. After coming off a lengthy stint with the Flames, he only has one assist in the whole series. The success he was having on the fourth line in the NHL needs to translate to the second line in the AHL. Connor Zary is another talented forward only sitting at one assist in this series. They’ve now played this team 15 times this season. They know what they’re up against. 
Not that I intend this game piece to be a witch hunt, but this team is way too talented to let this series fade away. They don’t have the luxury of time to take a few games off. Every game needs to be treated like an elimination game. They can’t reflect on this postseason run with what if’s and missed opportunities. 
They also need to have each other’s backs. It is clear Abbotsford is being tough on their top line, Matthew Phillips especially. Where is the pushback? Now not every game situation allows for fights and big hits to start becoming more apparent, but you can’t have your opponents beating up on your teammates as badly as they were in game three. 
This is as good of a time as any for a big bounce back for the Wranglers. Game four is set to take place on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. MT. You can stream this game on AHL.tv or listen on the Fan960 for the radio broadcast. Multiple FlamesNation contributors will have game updates on Twitter. 

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