They still give up a lot of shots, still spend a lot of time in their own end (though less today in the third, a big part of the finish), still live a little dangerously sometimes.
Today’s streak-breakin’ win seemed to limit some of those endless shifts in their own end. Yeah, they had a few, especially that one in the second. But not the cannonade, one after the other. And when you’ve got Kevin Poulin stopping every single first shot, not giving up second shots is gonna win you games.
“I think we did good,” Poulin said. “I don’t remember any rebounds that much. That’s a good thing.”
Poulin’s seventh AHL shutout and first shutout anywhere since Dec. 27, 2012, at Hartford. “It would be perfect if every game was like that. We played really good on second chances.”
They had a decent first, leading 1-0 on Harry Zolnierczyk’s short-handed goal, picking his spot low-blocker on Jeremy Smith. They had a less-decent second but got out unscathed thanks to Poulin. They had a good third, spending lots more time around Smith, scoring on their last power play (after two rough ones in the second period) and into an empty net.
The relief in the room was palpable even from outside.
“We’ve had a six-game streak. It doesn’t go over well with our team,” defenseman Scooter Vaughan said. “We expect to win.” He wondered if maybe they got overconfident after the good start.
“We were close,” Poulin said. “We knew we had way better, another couple of levels. Ten shots on net Saturday after two periods is not good enough. Even sometimes you get bounces that go in, you’ve got to put the puck on net.”
(I obviously should’ve talked to Poulin last night. Quoted one of my angles back at me.)
Sunday wasn’t perfect, but it was enough. “Streak: 1-0-0-0” looks a lot better than “Streak: 0-4-2-0.”
Nothing apparent in either direction on Ryan Pulock’s imminent future after the game. We’ll see what else comes this week. A Pulock departure coupled with whatever’s got Jesse Graham would leave them short on defense (if you don’t count defenseman Scooter Vaughan), and though Johan Sundstrom’s injury doesn’t sound long-term at all, they basically played their healthy bodies today.
Speaking of whom, Vaughan said he had fun moving back to defense. “It got my brain thinking a bit,” he said. “It was definitely a different train of thought coming into the game.” Not an easy team to step back in against, either, with the likes of Alexander Khokhlachev, Ryan Spooner, Jordan Caron. Practicing hard as a team, watching video, he said, helped.
“I thought Scooter was very good for us,” Brent Thompson said. “He moved the puck well. His footspeed certainly helps. It’s doing whatever he can do for the team.”
Bridgeport had four shutouts since Poulin’s last (Rick DiPietro, Kenny Reiter, Anders Nilsson and Nilsson again) but none since Feb. 1 against Springfield. Think that’s the second-longest run in team history without one, from Game 999 to Game 1,049. Among the leaders if it’s not. The longest lasted over a year: Game 743 to Game 834, Nov. 28, 2010-Jan. 2, 2012. It ended with the first of Poulin’s three shutouts in a row to start 2010.
Andrey Pedan in the house, back in town to pick up some stuff.
Prescout, ongoing as we type. Steve Oleksy came right back to the Bears and is in today.
Edmonton waived Jesse Joensuu, who was clearly the problem*.
Day off planned Monday, so unless moves do go down, probably, more Tuesday.
*-caution: may be sarcasm