Preview: Islanders vs. PenguinsJan 21, 2023
THE STORY COMING IN
The Bridgeport Islanders (17-15-6-1) face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (18-13-2-3) tonight on Cancer Awareness Night at Total Mortgage Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. The Islanders are looking for their third straight win following a 1-0 overtime victory against the Rochester Americans last night. Cory Schneider (13-3-2) and Rochester’s Malcolm Subban put on a goaltending clinic and were perfect for more than 61 and a half minutes before William Dufour notched his second career OT winner at the 1:35 mark. Schneider made 40 saves for his 40th professional shutout (14 AHL, 26 NHL). The win moved the Islanders into a tie for fifth place in the Atlantic Division, even with tonight’s opponent, the Penguins (41 points).
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GAME AT A GLANCE
Tonight’s game is the third of six meetings between the Islanders and Penguins this season, and the second of three in Connecticut. Bridgeport has taken each of the first two matchups including a 5-1 win in Pennsylvania on Dec. 3rd, along with a 4-2 victory at Total Mortgage Arena on Nov. 19th. Schneider was in net for both games, going 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .954 save percentage. Dufour (2g, 1a) and Chris Terry (1g, 2a) each have three points to lead all skaters in the series. Bridgeport went 2-4-0-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2021-22, but was 2-1-0-0 in those games at home.
VIEW FROM WILKES-BARRE
The Penguins have lost back-to-back games including a 5-2 setback to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at home last night. Lukas Svejkovsky and Nathan Legare each found the back of the net, while Filip Lindberg (6-6-1) made 28 saves on 33 shots in his 15th appearance of the season. Lindberg is one of four goalies on the Penguins’ active roster, which also includes veteran Dustin Tokarski, who was sent down by Pittsburgh yesterday. Tokarski is third among AHL netminders in save percentage (.926) and fourth in GAA (2.22) through 18 games. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is led offensively by Alex Nylander (15 goals, 30 points) and Valtteri Puustinen (14 goals, 30 points).
William Dufour made his NHL debut against the Boston Bruins at UBS Arena on Wednesday, returned to Bridgeport on Thursday, and scored the game-winning goal in overtime last night. It was his second consecutive game-winner and extended his point streak to four games (2g, 2a). Dufour is fourth among all AHL rookies in goals (14) and ranks second on the team. He now leads Bridgeport with four game-winning goals this season. The 20-year-old forward has at least one point in each of his first two career games against the Penguins, including a goal and assist on Nov. 19th at Total Mortgage Arena.
BRIDGEPORT’S BRICK WALL
Cory Schneider has stopped 81 of the 83 shots he’s faced since Monday, going 2-0-0 with a 0.98 GAA and .976 save percentage over that span. He’s won three straight games overall including last night’s 40-save shutout. The 36-year-old ranks third among all AHL goalies in save percentage (.928), tied for fourth in wins (13), and seventh in GAA (236).
Jeff Kubiak is expected to play his 300th professional game tonight... Kubiak has scored twice in the last four games and his six goals are three shy of his AHL career high set in 2018-19... Last night was Bridgeport’s first win at home since Nov. 30th and the team’s first of the season when scoring fewer than three goals (1-10-2-0)... Ruslan Iskhakov shares second place among all AHL rookies in assists (19) and is tied for fifth in points (28)... Aatu Raty was recalled by New York Islanders this morning.
New York Islanders (23-19-5): Last: 3-2 OTL at Buffalo, Thursday -- Next: Tonight vs. Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET
Worcester Railers (19-16-3-0): Last: 3-2 L vs. Newfoundland, last night -- Next: Tonight vs. Maine, 7:05 p.m. ET