Call up, play up: Hartford pregame

This afternoon’s Dal Colle call-up and Jones suspension left Bridgeport two non-vets short up front. One spot gets filled from Worcester, Matty Gaudreau coming up to make his AHL season debut (still in No. 40). The other gets filled from the back end. Yannick Rathgeb hasn’t been afraid to get in on the forecheck, to find himself deep in the offensive zone. Tonight, it’ll be his job, on the right wing.

(How long that lasts, we’ll see. Heading out on a three-game actual road trip this week might change their thinking as far as other call-ups.)

Jeff Kubiak is week-to-week (upper); Steve Bernier is day-to-day (lower). Travis St. Denis goes into Dal Colle’s spot; Ryan Hitchcock takes Jones’. Gaudreau goes in where St. Denis finished last night, alongside Tanner Fritz and Mike Sislo. Stephen Gionta steps back in for Ben Holmstrom. Chris Casto is back in, and the pairs are unshuffled to familiar units. Other than that, Bridgeport looks pretty similar.

Hartford, with its top three scorers suspended tonight, pick up Lias Andersson from the Rangers and rearrange the top six slightly. It’d seemed as if the bottom six might remain the same, but Shawn O’Donnell wasn’t out there for warmups that I saw, and they just rushed the three centermen over and over. On defense, Brandon Crawley and Ryan Lindgren are back in after missing Thursday’s game injured. Sean Day was out there for warmup, but don’t believe he rushed. Edit: According to the scratches, O’Donnell’s out, Day’s in.

So just a little different out there. But same goalie matchup as the other night.

Charlotte won in overtime this afternoon to restore its lead to five points. Bridgeport is still 10 points up on a playoff spot, which is the kind of cushion it rarely has.

F: St. Denis-Koivula-C.Bourque
Bellows-Hitchcock-R.Bourque (A)
D: Wotherspoon-Burroughs (C)
Vande Sompel-Aho
Helgeson (A)-Casto
G: Smith

F: Beleskey (A)-Andersson-Meskanen
Melanson/St. Amant
D: O’Gara (A)-Bigras (A)
G: Tokarski

R: Duco, Kelly. L: Colby, Galvin.

This should be the box.

Bridgeport scratches (believed healthy unless noted): Bernier (lower), B.Holmstrom (veteran), Jones (suspended 1/2), Kubiak (upper), Stevens (lower).

First Bridgeport game for referee Dan Kelly. There are a few Dan Kellys who’ve played (not to mention one legendary broadcaster), and I’m not sure which if any this one is (aside from the sadly deceased broadcaster).

Michael Fornabaio