SAN JOSE BARRACUDA (00-00) vs TUCSON ROADRUNNERS (00-00)
TUES., MAY 18 | 1:00 P.M. | FivePoint Arena | Irvine, CA
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Playoff Preview: The Barracuda (15-15-4-2) and Tucson Roadrunners (13-20-3-0) are set to play in the first single-elimination play-in game on Tuesday at the FivePoint Arena in Irvine. The winner of Tuesday’s game between the Barracuda and the Roadrunners will then play the winner of the game between the Ontario Reign and Colorado Eagles which will also be played in Irvine on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. On Wed., May 19 (7:00 p.m.) in Irvine, the play-in winners will compete head-to-head for the fourth playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The winner of Wednesday’s game will face the Henderson Silver Knights in a best-of-three series which will begin on Friday in Las Vegas. The semifinal winners will advance to the best-of-three finals, with that winner being awarded the John D. Chick Trophy as champions of the Pacific Division.
Tale of the Tape: The Barracuda faced the Tucson Roadrunners twice during the regular season in 2021, with both games taking place in Tucson on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8. The Barracuda lost their season opener to the Coyotes affiliate 2-1 in overtime on Feb. 7 and proceeded to fall 5-3 the following night. The two clubs were originally scheduled to face each other a total of six times in 2021 but four of the games were canceled due to COVID-19. The Barracuda boast a lifetime regular-season record against the Roadrunners of 16-11-3-2. In the only postseason meeting between the two clubs, the Barracuda lost three-games-to-one in the Division Semi-Finals in 2018.
Things to Know: The Barracuda finished the regular season with the AHL’s best home power-play (26.7) while Tucson finished tied for third in the league on the penalty kill (84.8) and first in shots per-game (33.69).
World Championship Bound: The Barracuda will be without the services of Sasha Chmelevski (USA), Alex True (Denmark) and Lean Bergmann (Germany) on Tuesday as all three skaters will be headed to Riga, Latvia for the 2021 World Championships. In addition, the team will be without Joachim Blichfeld (injury).
Joe the Wall: With the Sharks season officially over, the team assigned goaltender Josef Korenar back to the American Hockey League. Korenar is expected to get the start on Tuesday against the Roadrunners after appearing in 10 games with the Sharks, where he made seven starts and went 3-5-0, with a 3.17 goals-against average and an .899 save percentage. Korenar’s only AHL postseason action came in 2019 where he appeared in four games against the San Diego Gulls, going 1-3, with a 3.45 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.
Timur Time: Sharks’ 2019 sixth-round draft pick Timur Ibragimov is expected to make his AHL debut on Tuesday, playing on the team’s fourth line, along with Zach Gallant and Steen Pasichnuk. Ibragimov just finished his first campaign with TPS of the Finnish Elite League, where he skated in 51 games and collected 14 points (eight goals, six assists) and was a teammate of Barracuda forward Evan Weinger at the start of the year. The six-one, 185-pound, native of St. Petersburg, Russia is also a former teammate of Alexei Melnichuk and Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyshov while back in his native Russia.