By Jim Byers, on 04/07/2012

Chicago Wolves (39-26-3-3) at Oklahoma City Barons (43-20-4-5)
Barons Game 73 |  Home Game 37 |  AHL Game 1083
April 7, 2012, 7 pm CDT  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Midwest Division-leading Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks)  make their only 2011-12 regular season appearance at the Cox Center to conclude a 2-game season series. The Wolves took the other game 4-1 on March 4 at Allstate Arena. Chicago rallied on the road last night to beat Houston 4-2, scoring the tying and go-ahead goals 26 seconds apart in the third. The Wolves are third in the Western Conference with 84 points. The Barons, who dropped a 3-1 home decision to Peoria last night, are atop the conference with 95 points, 4 more than Toronto.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons’ magic number to clinch the Western Conference title is 5. Any combination of points earned by OKC and lost by Toronto totaling 5 will give the Barons the title outright. OKC has alternated wins and losses over its last 5 games since seeing a 2-game winning streak end on March 24. Until last night’s 3-1 setback against Peoria, only Grand Rapids had beaten OKC in regulation over the previous 13 games. The Barons are now 8-3-2-1 in their last 14.  The Barons have at least 1 standing point in 11 of the last 14 games, 12 of their past 16 and 13 of the last 18 games. The Barons lead the Western Conference in points (95), the second-highest total in the league behind Norfolk (105). OKC’s point percentage (.660) is second only to Norfolk’s .729.

DANIS A FIRST-TEAMER: Yann Danis was named Thursday as the first-team netminder for the 2011-12 AHL All-Star team, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities. Also a participant in the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, Danis is third in the AHL in goals-against average at 2.11, trailing only Lake Erie’s Cedrick Desjardins (2.05) and Toronto’s Ben Scrivens (2.07). Danis is fifth in wins (25), tied for second in shutouts (5) and seventh in save percentage (.924). He was injured and did not dress in the previous meeting this season with Chicago.

RETURN OF RODNEY: Edmonton returned defenseman Bryan Rodney to OKC on Thursday after the veteran defenseman played 1 game for the Oilers, April 2 at Los Angeles. Rodney was acquired Feb. 16 from the Anaheim Ducks’ organization for center Ryan O’Marra.

MARINCIN MOVES IN: The Edmonton Oilers reassigned defenseman Martin Marincin to the Barons from the WHL’s Regina Pats on Monday and he has played the past 2 games. The 6-5, 196-pound native of Slovakia was a second-round choice (46th overall) by the Oilers in 2010. As a signed player reassigned from his junior team, Marincin is eligible to play in all remaining Barons games this year, regular season and playoff, even though he’s not on the Clear Day list.

PRODUCTIVE FARMING: The past 2 years mark the first time in the Edmonton’s NHL tenure that its top affiliate, shared or exclusive, has had back-to-back 40-win seasons. Last season’s inaugural edition of the Barons also qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs, going 40-29-2-9, good for 91 points.

RED HOT ROOKIES: Rookies have scored 8 of OKC’s 10 goals over the last 5 games and the only non-rookie goals have been by Ryan Keller. Antti Tyrvainen has goals in 3 of the past 5 games (3 total). Tyrvainen enters tonight with a 5-game point streak (3G, 3A). Tanner House and Hunter Tremblay have each scored twice in the past 5. Tyler Pitlick had the other goal, a game-winner in Milwaukee March 30.

PLUSES: Ryan Keller is tied for seventh in the AHL in plus-minus at +23. Alex Plante and Josh Green are part of a tie for 20th at +17. Keller and Bryan Helmer  are both +13 at home, while injured defenseman Taylor Chorney is +16 at the Cox Center.

POWER TRIPS: The Barons are 27-1-2-4 when scoring at least 1 power play goal. When they tally 2 or more in a game, they are 7-0-0-1. When held without a power play goal, the Barons are 16-19-2-1. The Barons are 0-for-16 on the man advantage in their past 5 games and 1-for-23 in the last 7.

March 31: Colten Teubert recalled by Edmonton.
April 2: Bryan Rodney recalled by Edmonton.
April 2: Martin Marincin reassigned from Regina.
April 5: Bryan Rodney returned on loan from Edm.
April 6: Ryan Lowery returned to Stockton.

Player                     Issue              Out
Dan Ringwald
       concussion   week-to-week
Curtis Hamilton    knee               week-to-week
Andrew Lord         concussion   indefinitely
Taylor Chorney     upper body    indefinitely
K. Montgomery     lower body     indefinitely

Last 5 games:
Date        Opp.     Result     OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie            Attn.
March 25 GR         L, 1-4       LeNeveu (3, 30)             McCollum (1, 43)        2,710
March 30 @ Mil     W, 3-2      Danis (2, 36)                   Smith (3, 24)              9,344
March 31 @ GR    L, 2-6       Danis (6, 25)                   McCollum (2, 38)        7,884
April 3      Ham       W, 3-0      LeNeveu (0, 30)             Delmas (2, EN, 32)    2,652
April 6      Peo       L, 1-3       LeNeveu (2, EN, 24)       Allen (1, 31)               3,105

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date        Opp.          Site                                Time   Broadcast
April 13    Hou            Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
April 14    @ Texas     Cedar Park Center          7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
April 15    @ SA          AT&T Center                   3:30     KXY 96.1 FM
Playoff Game 1, date, site and opponent TBD                                        

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