Ryan Pulock’s blocked shot takes some of the juice out of this one, though we have no information yet whether he’ll miss so much as the skills contest, let alone time after the break.
Which is kind of a shame, because it was another solid team performance. And Mike Halmo’s got himself a hot streak going. They come in bunches sometimes, and he’s got eight goals in the past 13 games now.
“That seems to be the way it goes,” Halmo said. “Sometimes you’re just feeling it. That happened tonight. I had a few good chances I was able to capitalize on.”
Brent Thompson pointed to Christmas as the point when Halmo’s game started to really improve (add one scoreless game to make him 8-1-9 in 14 games since then).
“From that point on, his game is getting better. He’s simplified it. He’s been physical. He’s doing the little things,” Thompson said. “He’s paying attention to details. At the end of the day, he needs to shoot more.
“He’s one of the guys who we’ve asked to step up,” Thompson added, “and he has.”
His 14 days will be well up before Bridgeport plays again, so that was it for J.F. Berube’s conditioning assignment. “Look, he’s an outstanding goalie, controlled. He gives you every opportunity to win,” Thompson said. “He’s a big piece of our team right now.”
Berube allowed four goals in four games, all wins. “That was my goal, to get in better shape and get my game back,” Berube said. “I tried to do my best to give the team a chance to win.” He said tonight was the best he has felt.
“I’ll do the things I’ve been doing, try to improve my game the best I can,” Berube said. “It’s kind of tough to be the third goalie, but I don’t control everything. I just control what I can.”
Solid effort all around. James Wright got involved on a couple of goals, getting a stick on a Devils pass to help set up Halmo’s first, chipping a Kane Lafranchise pass ahead into the zone to Alan Quine to help set up Halmo’s second. He said the whole group was working to create turnovers: “We were able to get on their D,” he said. “They wanted to make an extra pass. That’s when we capitalized.”
The penalty kill is 24 for the past 24 back to the Lehigh Valley game, 42:47 scoreless when down a man, doing it tonight with Scott Mayfield off for two of those minors and both Ben Holmstrom and Colin Markison off for another.
Completely spitballing on Pulock — Thompson professed not to even know if Pulock could make the all-star game, though I would kind of guess not — but this afternoon Wilkes-Barre replaced its last all-star, a forward, with a defenseman. So if they, at this late point, had to replace Pulock, they could conceivably go with a forward.
Cool: When Jim O’Brien was called for a helmet violation and Paul Thompson got roughing at the same time, they were inadvertantly announced backward, Thompson for the lid and O’Brien for the rough. At the next whistle (which came just as Alan finished announcing), ref Cameron Voss came over to correct it.
Prescout. Sorta for the whole next weekend: Lehigh Valley comes in here Friday, and Bridgeport goes out to Wilkes-Barre next Saturday. Colin McDonald will be coming off a just-OK week, I guess. The Penguins broke out these beauties as they inducted John Slaney into their hall of fame.
Roy Sommer got his 636th win as an AHL head coach Saturday, tying Bun Cook’s record. Raffi Torres didn’t play in that, but the Sharks did assign him to the Barracuda today.
And a devastating NPR report on a Morton Thiokol engineer who tried to prevent the Challenger from lifting off 30 years ago.
So that’s the break, y’all. More as we find it.