Game 4 Preview: Gulls vs. WolvesMay 24, 2019
The Gulls can take a commanding series lead against the Chicago Wolves tonight. Leading the Western Conference Finals best-of-seven series, 2-1, the Gulls host the Wolves for Game 4 this Friday, May 24 (7 p.m.) in a contest that will be televised locally on FOX 5 San Diego and nationally on NHL Network.
The Gulls took Game 3 with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Pechanga Arena San Diego. With the win, San Diego improved to 9-4 this postseason and have not lost in regulation in 11 straight playoff contests (8-3; all three losses in overtime). The Gulls lead the postseason in goals (52), goals-per game (4.0) and home goals (25) after ranking second in the regular season with 3.51 goals-per game.
Corey Tropp, Sam Steel, and Trevor Murphy scored for San Diego in the Game 3 victory in front of arguable the loudest crowd to date this season. Steel collected his first career postseason shorthanded goal, his sixth goal of the playoffs and second in as many games to co-lead San Diego in playoff goals. Steel has points in all three games to begin the series (2-1=3) and now co-leads all rookies in playoff goals and points (6-7=13). He ranks tied for third in goals and points among all Calder Cup Playoff leaders.
After earning his first career postseason shutout in Game 2, Kevin Boyle again started in net for San Diego and made 21 saves for his third consecutive win. Over his past three games, Boyle is a perfect 3-0 and has stopped 69-of-72 shots to post a 1.07 GAA and a .958 SV%. Boyle and Jeff Glass are the only goaltending tandem in the AHL with three-or-more postseason victories each.
“We have the greatest confidence in Kevin Boyle and Jeff Glass,” said Gulls head coach Dallas Eakins. “They’re both a big part of us being here today. It’s not lost on our staff, management or players how well both of these guys have done.”
With Boyle anchoring the San Diego net the past two games, the team’s penalty kill has continued to succeed killing all four penalties in consecutive games, and nine-of-10 in the series. In six home playoff games, the Gulls have allowed just three power-play goals, killing 20-of-23 for an 87.0 percent mark while also scoring two shorthanded goals. With the victory, the Gulls improved to 7-0 this postseason when not allowing a power-play goal.
In total, San Diego has allowed five goals through three games against Chicago, who entered the series with an average of three goals-per game. The Gulls have kept Daniel Carr, the 2019 AHL MVP, in check thus far as the veteran winger has one point and a -2 rating through three games.
“You have to be aware of it but you have to just keep playing and not change anything,” said Gulls defenseman Simon Benoit regarding Chicago’s offense. “If you let this bother you like ‘oh they’re so good’, you’re going to play more defensively. You don’t want that. You want to keep pushing and grinding and I think that’s what makes us good.”
While the Gulls have been able to keep Carr off the scoreboard, Wolves forward T.J. Tynan has registered three points (0-3=3) in as many games. Tynan led the AHL with 59 assists in the regular season. Tye McGinn opened the scoring in Game 3, and leads Chicago with 5-6=11 points in the postseason.
All fans in attendance for each home game of the Western Conference Finals will receive a series-branded rally towel. Fans attending tonight’s Game 4 will receive a light-up wristband upon entry. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 6:50 p.m. for each home game to see a unique pyrotechnic and laser-light show, followed by a ceremonial puck drop with San Diego legend and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member Bill Walton.
Prior to Game 5 on Saturday, the Gulls will host a Pregame Tailgate in the North Parking Lot from 5-7 p.m. with food truck options, $5 Bud Lights, sponsor booths with prizes, street hockey, a guest DJ from the Anaheim Ducks, and the Gulls Girls and Gulliver taking photos with fans.