Is there a single biggest difference between last night’s insanity and tonight’s good enough playoff clincher over Providence?
“Last night,” Brent Thompson said, “the comparable is we started the game on our toes, aggressive, had that wouldn’t-be-denied attitude, shooting the puck a lot more, crashing the net, and we were rewarded with goals because of it. We have to have that mindset: The more simple the game, the better we are. Playoffs, every game will be a tight-checking game.
“There are some improvement points we have to clean up around our net area, options away from puck. But I look at the difference last night to tonight as intensity, overall desperation.”
Two goals for Bourque in the playoff clincher, and you’re thinking the other one, right? But it’s Ryan, with his sixth two-goal game as a Sound Tiger (he has 18 total goals for Bridgeport in two years).
“Maybe once I get one I loosen up a little bit, free things up out there,” Bourque said. “In the past, when I get going, they seem to come in bunches. Hopefully they continue to ride it out. I’m going to take them when they come. Obviously on this team, we have a lot of firepower. Any night, it can be someone else.”
They have three more chances in the regular season, and now we know for sure they’ll have at least three more chances after that.
So, as the ‘x’ would indicate, Bridgeport can finish no lower than fourth. One point gained by Bridgeport in the last three or lost by Providence in the last four (as early as tomorrow against Utica) clinches a Sound Tigers finish ahead of the Bruins and means the Sound Tigers will avoid Charlotte in the first round. The magic number to clinch a finish ahead of Hershey is five, though one more non-shootout win for Bridgeport (or one more loss or shootout win for Hershey) drops that number by one extra, so home ice could be clinched Wednesday night in the regular-season home finale.
Belatedly noted: Seth Helgeson and Mark McNeill pick up game misconducts for their fight after the buzzer, the legendary Fighting Other Than During the Periods Of the Game penalty. Teams get fined for that. Helgeson’s eighth fighting major (10 nets a one-game suspension), and he’s sitting on two instigators, too (three gets a suspension).
Christopher Gibson joins Jeremy Smith in the 20-win club, finally. Ninth Sound Tigers 20-win goalie season by seven different men. He said the milestone didn’t mean much personally, just about the team. “It’s a great feeling,” he said. “We battled tonight for a spot, to clinch playoffs. It’s exciting to see. Everyone gave their all.” Second time two Bridgeport goalies got there: Wade Dubielewicz and Dieter Kochan in 2003-04.
Steve Bernier caught the skate of Tanner Pond on the underside of his right arm after a first-period hit. A half-dozen or so stitches inside, eight outside. Said he’s doing OK, though.
Oliver Wahlstrom’s first pro goal is out of the way and, as Alan suggested and we’re pretty sure we have right, became the youngest Sound Tiger ever to score a goal (18 years, nine months, 24 days: 6,871 days in all). “It was a fun game. I’m getting more used to the pace,” Wahlstrom said. “The pass was awesome. (Mitch Vande Sompel) made a nice pass to me and I was fortunate to bury that one. It was a great team win.” Neat to do it in a playoff-clincher, too? “The guys in this room, it’s unbelievable learning from them every day,” e said. “I was fortunate to contribute a little bit on the power play. It wasfun. We worked hard.”
Tanner Fritz in the house. His New York Islanders won the Jennings Trophy, for crying out loud, allowing the fewest goals in the NHL. They draw the Penguins in the first round. (outstanding tweet on the other Metro matchup.)
Elsewhere, the women’s national team beat Canada 3-2 today in Finland at the worlds.
Bob Cole’s last game on Hockey Night in Canada. Superb opener.
And RIP, Roger DeJordy.