Preview: Islanders at Wolf Pack

Preview: Islanders at Wolf Pack

Feb 9, 2024


The Bridgeport Islanders (13-25-5-0) return from the AHL All-Star break with a 7 p.m. puck drop against the Hartford Wolf Pack (23-13-5-0) at the XL Center. It’s the first of two games this weekend, with the Islanders hosting the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (18-18-5-2) tomorrow night at home. The Islanders have 29 games left in the regular season and are looking to close on a 15-point gap between themselves and the sixth-place Springfield Thunderbirds, who hold the Atlantic Division’s final playoff spot. Bridgeport is 12 points behind the seventh-place Phantoms.





Tonight’s game is the sixth of 10 meetings between the Islanders and Wolf Pack this season, and the third of five in Hartford. Bridgeport is 1-1-0-0 at the XL Center but just 1-4-0-0 against the Wolf Pack overall, including a 3-0 setback in their most recent meeting on Jan. 20th. The Islanders beat Hartford 5-4 at the XL Center on Dec. 22nd, led by William Dufour’s two-goal performance. Ruslan Iskhakov and Otto Koivula lead Bridgeport in the series with four points each (two goals, two assists).



The Wolf Pack sit fourth in the Atlantic Division, three points behind the third-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but are just 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 games. Hartford entered the All-Star break with a 6-3 loss to Springfield on Saturday, despite goals from Matt Rempe, Alex Belzile and Brandon Scanlin. Dylan Garand (11-6-3) made 26 saves. Rookie forward Brett Berard had one assist and now has points in four of his last five games (four goals, one assist). Berard ranks fourth among all AHL rookies with 14 goals. Fellow rookie Brennan Othmann and defenseman Mac Hollowell, who is tied for second among all AHL blue-liners in points (32), represented Hartford at the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic in San Jose.  



Grant Hutton is expected to play his 200th AHL game tonight. The 28-year-old defenseman has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 26 games this season and 71 points (21 goals, 50 assists) in 199 AHL contests - all with Bridgeport. Hutton has also played two games with the New York Islanders this season and 18 career NHL games. He has four goals and seven points in 38 career games against the Wolf Pack.



The American Hockey League announced Wednesday that Cole Bardreau is the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending February 4, 2024. Bardreau had five points last week, recording three goals and two assists over three games. His five points came during the Islanders’ sweep of back-to-back games against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Last Wednesday evening, Bardreau tallied a goal and an assist to spark a third-period rally and send Bridgeport to a 3-1 victory. The 30-year-old winger then scored twice and notched another assist to earn first-star honors in the Islanders’ 5-1 win on Friday night. His three points on Friday matched a career high.



Forward Julien Gauthier cleared waivers and was loaned to Bridgeport by the New York Islanders last Saturday. The 26-year-old signed a two-year contract with the organization on July 5, 2023, and had nine points (five goals, four assists) in 27 NHL games this season. He played four games in the AHL last year, scoring two goals during his only stint with Hartford. Gauthier has 105 points (71 goals, 34 assists) in 188 AHL games between the Wolf Pack and Charlotte Checkers. He won the 2019 Calder Cup championship with the Checkers, and was selected with the 21st overall pick by Carolina in 2016 - one selection before Detroit took Dennis Cholowski.



Bridgeport’s penalty kill is 14-for-14 over its last four games... Henrik Tikkanen has allowed two goals or fewer in each of his last four starts, going 2-1-1 with a .957 save percentage over that span… Daylan Kuefler made his AHL debut last Saturday in Hershey... Kyle MacLean scored his first NHL goal on Monday night in Toronto... He was returned on loan to Bridgeport yesterday… The Islanders return from the break with four straight games against Atlantic Division opponents.



New York Islanders (22-17-12): Last: 6-2 W vs. Tampa Bay, last night -- Next: Tomorrow vs. Calgary, 1 p.m. ET

Worcester Railers (20-18-3-2): Last: 6-4 W at Trois Rivières, Saturday -- Next: Tonight vs. Maine, 7:05 p.m. ET

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