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San Jose Barracuda (15-3-1-2 .786) vs. San Diego Gulls (8-11-1-2 .431)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15 | 7:00 A.M.
Valley View Casino Center | San Diego, Calif.
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Tonight’s Matchup: On Saturday, the San Jose Barracuda and San Diego Gulls (San Diego Gulls) connect for the second of 10 meetings in 2018-19 and the first at Valley View Casino Center. San Jose beat San Diego 5-3 in the only other meeting this season, which came at SAP Center on December 3. After going 2-2-0 at San Diego a season ago, the Barracuda are 5-7-2-1 all-time in SD. San Jose is riding a season-long five-game winning streak and eight-game point streak.
Road Warriors: SJ boasts the Western Conference’s best road winning percentage (7-2-1-1 = .726) and have won back-to-back games on visiting ice. In addition, the Barracuda have earned points over their last four road contests and their +11 road goal-differential is the best in the Pacific Division.
Dynamic Duo: Barracuda netminders Antoine Bibeau and Josef Korenar have combined for the AHL’s best goals-against average (2.06) and best save percentage (.929) thus far this season. The 20-year-old rookie, Korenar, is first in the AHL in goals-against average (1.99), T-first in save percentage (.930) and is T-fourth in wins (9). Korenar made 19 saves and earned a win over San Diego on December 3. Bibeau, the CCM/AHL Goaltender of the Month in October, ranks second in the AHL in goals-against (2.16) average and third in save percentage (.927). Bibeau is 4-1-0 all-time against SD with a 2.14 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
Francis on Fire: Acquired from the Ottawa Senators in the Erik Karlsson trade, Francis Perron is first on the Barracuda in points (22), goals (10), power-play goals (5) and shooting percentage (32.3%). In addition, Perron is T-first in assists (12). On Sunday, Perron extended his point streak to five games, matching a previous career high set during the 2016-17 season with Binghamton Senators, and matched career goal totals that he had accumulated in his first 112 games of his pro career prior to this season. Perron has points in seven of his last eight games, including three multi-point games. Prior to this season, Perron had just five multi-point games in career. In 2018-19, Perron has already registered six multi-point games.
Up and Down: On Monday the San Jose Sharks assigned rookie forward Antti Suomela to the Barracuda and then recalled third-year pro Rourke Chartier on Tuesday. Suomela, who was signed as a free agent this summer by San Jose, led the Finish Elite League in scoring (21 goals, 39 assists) last year and collected three goals and five assists in 27 games with the Sharks this season. Suomela scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 26 at Carolina (Petr Mrazek). Before his recall, Chartier was riding a six-game point streak with the Barracuda (one goal, five assists).
True or False? After recording just one goal over his first 13 games, Alex True has six goals over his last eight, including four over his last four games. True who finished second on the Barracuda in goals (15) last year, is now T-second on the team in points (13) and goals (7).
Mac Attack: Prior to Sunday, Barracuda captain John McCarthy had scored in three consecutive games and has goals in five of his last eight games. McCarthy is the franchise’s leader in games played (211) and goals (52).
Head of the Class: The Barracuda have allowed a league-low 46 goals this season and are first in the AHL in goal differential (+31).
Youth Movement: The Barracuda enter Saturday as the AHL's second youngest team (24.5) only behind the Tucson Roadrunners. The Barracuda are comprised of 11 rookies and five sophomores.