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Barracuda vs Gulls Game 4 Preview: San Jose looks to take commanding 3-1 lead

A win away from being a win away.

Courtesy San Jose Barracuda

The San Jose Barracuda can match the record for most postseason wins by a Sharks AHL affiliate and move one step closer to advancing to the franchise and head coach Roy Sommer’s first Conference Final with a win tonight in Game 4 of their Pacific Division Finals series against the San Diego Gulls.

After dropping Game 1 a week ago, the Barracuda have won the series’ last two contests, including a come-from-behind overtime win on Wednesday. San Jose overcame three separate one-goal deficits in Game 3, and took the series lead thanks to Timo Meier’s overtime winner.

The Barracuda’s offense has exploded for nine goals in the last two games, with nine players accounting for those goals. San Jose’s power play, which struggled in the Barracuda’s first round series against the Stockton Heat, failed to find the back of the net on Wednesday but has still converted 30% (3-for-10) of its opportunities this series.

Ryan Carpenter, who continues to lead the AHL in postseason scoring, and Julius Bergman have paced San Jose with four points apiece this series. Bergman’s quietly climbed the scoring charts himself, and now sits in a tie for second among AHL defensemen in postseason points, and tied for third in assists.

Troy Grosenick has also been much better this series than he was in the first round. The Baz Bastien award winner as the AHL’s best goalie, Grosenick’s posted a .916 SV% in three games against San Diego.

It’s a noted improvement over the .907 SV% Grosenick maintained in the first round against Stockton. The goaltender has also stopped 30 or more shots in each of the last two games, and appears to be rounding back into the form that propelled him to new heights in the regular season.

If San Jose wins tonight, they could end the series as soon as tomorrow in San Diego, when the series continues for Game 5 at the Valley View Casino Center. It’s not a must-win, since the Barracuda will still have two chances to advance should they split this weekend’s games.

But for a franchise and head coach that have never made it out of the second round? It just might feel that way.