They stuck with those lines for quite a while, but when it all went to pot the past two days, they changed ’em up pretty good last night.
And give them this: When that wasn’t working again, they changed ’em up pretty good again this afternoon.
Some things clicked. The power play worked; all those things the coaches talked about Friday and Saturday, like driving to the net, like executing the forecheck, like taking the body, every cliche about paying the price: They all came true in the second and third.
It was just enough.
Billy Thompson looked shakier on some of his early stops than he did on his goals against; peppered with 21 shots (there’s that number again) in the first, he shook off the rust and got the job done. “We have to come up with a little more hop in our step off the bat, stop leaving our goalies out to dry,” said Jason Pitton, whose work and drive in the second and third was a good lead to follow.
There were a lot of little efforts that got rewarded, like Brandon Nolan’s second effort on his goal, like Steve Regier’s screen on the Fraser goal that began the comeback, like Fraser’s continued willingness to shoot the puck and to get involved in the offense. Playing undermanned against a team that was just as tired and almost as well-traveled this weekend, Bridgeport worked for what it got.
The start has to change. At least the finish was there today, because they needed it.
G. Johnson/J. Johnson
D: Wotton (C)-Berry (‘A’)
D: Stuart-Jon. Sigalet
Sorry for the late post. Had to get out before they locked me in, and then other stuff was going on.
Lines in the third were Pitton-Comeau-Nokelainen, Nilsson-Regier-Ferraro and Marjamaki-Nolan-Boguniecki, rolling pretty regularly. Either in Wednesday’s paper or here Tuesday, look for some things Nokelainen said today about playing the wing again.
Nokelainen’s second wasn’t an official empty-netter, BTW, though Sauve had started for the bench. Sauve actually started back when Nokelainen put it to the net from the neutral zone. And Nokelainen, BTW, was teased mercilessly by buddies Marjamaki and Comeau when they figured out I was looking for him after the two-goal game.
As usual, the A’s on Berry and Ferraro weren’t on Berry and Ferraro.
Jeremy Colliton said he is feeling better and hopes to be back Wednesday.
The PK — team playing five D, four penalty killers up and another injured — has allowed five goals in the past nine chances.
You don’t often get a deal where they announce one guy as a scratch, then find on the third shift that he’s playing. And here, it happened twice in three days: Friday in Worcester with Kurtz and Staubitz, and again today with DiCasmirro and Havern… though at least DiCasmirro definitely took warmup today, unlike (I think) Kurtz the other night. Swap Kalus and Pelletier above, and you have pretty much what Scott Gordon used.
If you noticed, whether from being there or from radio calls, the shots on the scoreboard in Providence sometimes change rapidly. That’s because the board’s shots are estimates from the scorer’s table, while official stats are kept upstairs. Especially with the renovations ongoing, there’s no easy way to keep the lines of communication open. The board gets caught up at the end of periods, usually, and when possible otherwise.
Fata had 13 shifts for 8:30 and two hits in his NHL debut; got almost a minute of PP time. If you watched the Isles, how did he look?
So 541 miles, a few stops at Tim Hortons and Dunkin’ Donuts, and three games later, that’s one three-in-three down in February. Just 12 games in 19 days to go.