Giving thanks, making sacrifices: Hartford postgame

OK, yeah, there’s the fun moment of Steve Bernier’s empty-netter tonight, scored from his own zone… because Ryan Graves’ blocked shot caromed off his leg and down the ice.

Cool, but: That’s veteran Steve Bernier, who doesn’t really have anything to prove, against defending all-star hardest-shot winner Ryan Graves, in the last minute of — and yes, all games are important, two points now is the same as etc., but you and I both know it doesn’t always work that way for everyone in every situation — a game before Thanksgiving.

“Those things are difference-makers, whether it’s a chip, winning a little wall battle,” Brent Thompson said. “They might go unnoticed to fans, but the guys see them. They’re the little things that separate winning teams from losing teams. We’re starting to do them a little more regularly.”

Hartford got some early chances, but Bridgeport got out of the first with a lead. (First AHL goal for Josh Holmstrom.) There were numerous dangerous moments — Kane Lafranchise blocked a Hartford look at a gaping net in the first, and Boo Nieves put a similar try wide in the second — but they got away with two points, and Thompson said he sees steps in the right direction.

What in particular comes to mind with that?

“I liked our neutral zone,” Thompson said, quickly holding that thought: “early in the game. At the end, I thought we were on our heels a bit, but the first two (periods) I thought we did a good job structurally.

“We tracked well. Our gaps were better. Things like that, they’re coming, things we’ve been working on in practice.”


Hey, 3-0 Eamon McAdam is halfway to Christopher Gibson’s start.

Some shifts in alignment at times in the third, a couple of times getting Connor Jones onto the top line with Bracken Kearns and Bernier. Involved a bit. His first period included two power plays drawn and a penalty of his own.

Prescout. Same two referees Friday night, so happy Thanksgiving in New England, Messrs. Koharski and Binda. (Happy Thanksgiving, period, to you. Team’s off tomorrow for the holiday, and I’d be otherwise occupied anyway, so more Friday night unless warranted.)

Congrats to Adam Pelech on his first NHL goal.

And RIP, Ralph Branca; never had the pleasure, but by all accounts, God pegged him right. His son-in-law, Bobby Valentine, has been tweeting some great stuff all night.

Michael Fornabaio