This may be silly, I said. (Not that that’s stopped me before, I thought.) But, I asked Travis St. Denis, when you’ve come from four goals down to win twice, can that help you look at the standings and think, you know, we’ve done some crazy stuff before, why not this?
“I think so,” he said after this much-needed, slump-stopping win in a place where they hadn’t won in almost two years. “Even if we’re down in a game, we can kind of look at that game.”
They took advantage of what they could control tonight and got the first win of the whole lot they’ll need if they’re going to keep the season going.
It helped, obviously, that they were off last night while the Penguins played.
“We still showed up and put our best foot forward,” Ryan Bourque said. “Whether it was goalies, defense, forwards, everybody came to play.”
Michael Dal Colle lasted only three shifts before he joined the walking wounded. I didn’t see anything specific happen to him; Brent Thompson said he didn’t, either, but Dal Colle will be evaluated at home. That was one forward down. The inevitable Yanick Turcotte-Tom Sestito tilt got both of them tossed after they continued the altercation on the ice, so Bridgeport had 10 forwards for 32 minutes, lots of familiar line combinations, some unfamiliar. (St. Denis said he kind of enjoys the mix-and-match, incidentally.)
Whatever: It worked. This won’t be an easy climb, but they didn’t whimper off just yet.
Bridgeport got 11 power plays, its most in four and a half years. It even scored a couple — three, counting the empty-netter (which, mathematically, yeah). “You look at the way the power play created offense, generated momentum for our team, it was outstanding,” Thompson said.
Bourque said he took Ryan Haggerty’s high-stick “right on the button,” bloodying his nose, couldn’t get it to stop right away. They got it stopped just in time for him to score Yet Another Four-On-Four Goal.
Kyle Schempp was in when Josh Ho-Sang (upper, day-to-day) couldn’t go. Thompson said he made some good puck plays and called out the right-side, defensive-zone draw the lefty won late in regulation.
For Kane Lafranchise (lower, day-to-day), it was Tyler Mueller for the first time. “At the start, there are nerves, playing your first game,” Mueller said. “Not playing any games for probably two and a half weeks since my season (at UMass Lowell) ended, it was good to play a simple game.” He blocked a shot on his first shift, then moved the puck up to a forward to get a clear. “That felt good, making a couple of plays there,” he said. “I got into it.”
On Mueller: “To be honest, it’s a good thing I didn’t notice him,” Thompson said. “No flash; simple out there.”
That’s suddenly a long injured list, and we’ll see which if any of them come off on Tuesday, when they’ll practice next before meeting Hershey on Wednesday at home. The Bears were eliminated today with a loss to Hartford; Ryan Lindgren, whom the Rangers got in the Rick Nash deal, scored his first two pro points. The Rangers called up Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil for the last seven games.
Always nice to catch up with Kevin Czuczman and Andrey Pedan. They’re enjoying the Penguins organization.
The Penguins honored local hockey coach Don Tweedy at the first intermission, with a few familiar faces sending regards on video.
The Metropolitan Riveters, including locals Kiira Dosdall, Bray Ketchum and Rebecca Russo, are NWHL Isobel Cup champions after a 1-0 win over Buffalo.
Good wishes to Howard Johnson.
And RIP, Zell Miller.