Islanders Begin Road Trip in Syracuse Tonight
The Bridgeport Islanders (4-5-0-2) open a season-long, five-game road trip tonight with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Syracuse Crunch (5-3-1-0) at Upstate Medical University Arena. The Islanders are still looking for their first win on the road (0-3-0-2), but have registered a couple of points in shootout losses to Providence and Springfield on opening weekend. Last time out, Bridgeport earned a 3-2 win at home against Hartford on Sunday to snap a three-game slide.
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MacLEAN PLAYS HERO
Kyle MacLean broke a 2-2 tie in the final 25 seconds of regulation last Sunday, guiding the Islanders to victory with his first goal of the season. It was also his first professional game-winning goal. Aside from MacLean, Arnaud Durandeau set career highs in points (three) and shots (eight), including one goal and an assist on MacLean's winner, while Otto Koivula also scored and now has 10 points in his last nine games. Jakub Skarek made 26 saves to improve to 4-1-1 in seven appearances.
SERIES AT A GLANCE
Tonight's game is the first of two meetings between the Islanders and Crunch this season, and the only matchup in New York. It is Bridgeport's first trip to the Upstate Medical University Arena since Dec. 7. 2019. Bridgeport will host Syracuse on Mar. 18th.
VIEW FROM SYRACUSE
The Crunch have won four of their last five games and have scored four or more goals in each of those to move into third place in the North Division. Last time out, Amir Miftakhov made 29 saves for his first AHL shutout in a 4-0 win against Laval on Saturday. He also improved to second in the AHL with a 1.29 goals-against-average in three appearances. Tristin Langan, Daniel Walcott, Cole Koepke and Gabriel Dumont all scored. Tonight's game completes a three-game homestand and is Syracuse's third game against an Atlantic Division team, having already topped Hershey and Lehigh Valley (both in overtime).
LEADING THE WAY
Otto Koivula has two goals and eight assists for 10 points in his last nine games. He scored the first goal in Sunday's win against Hartford, added seven shots, and now leads the Isles in scoring through 11 contests. He also leads the team with a plus-4 rating. Koivula's eight assists are tied for seventh among all AHL players and tied for 19th in league scoring. He's registered at least one point in all but three games this season.
DURANDEAU KEEPS DIGGING
Arnaud Durandeau is second on the Islanders in scoring with nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 11 games. He has five points in his last five games, including a three-point effort on Sunday afternoon. Durandeau has already surpassed his point totals from each of his first two professional seasons. The former sixth-round draft pick (2017) had eight points in 14 games last season and eight points in 21 outings as a rookie in 2019-20.
Bridgeport boasts the seventh-best power play on the road, going 4-for-14 (28.6%)... The Islanders are tied for third in the Eastern Conference with 10 first-period goals scored... Bridgeport is 1-0-0-0 against North Division teams this season, a 3-0 win against Laval on Oct. 24th... Simon Holmstrom has seven points in his last seven games (one goal, six assists)... Anatolii Golyshev has four goals and five points in his last five games... Austin Czarnik played his 200th AHL game last Sunday against Hartford.
IN THE ORGANIZATION
New York Islanders (5-3-2); Last: 5-2 L at Minnesota, Sunday - Next: Tomorrow at New Jersey, 7 p.m.
Worcester Railers (1-4-0-0): Last: 4-1 L vs. Florida, Sunday - Next: Friday at Newfoundland, 5:30 p.m.
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