Islanders Face Bruins, T-Birds in "Three-In-Three"
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Islanders (13-17-3-4), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, open their first "three-in-three" since early November with their second trip to Rhode Island in less than a week. The Islanders face the Providence Bruins at 7:05 p.m. tonight before returning home for a Saturday night rematch against the Bruins (7 p.m.) and Sunday matinee against the Springfield Thunderbirds (3 p.m.) at Webster Bank Arena. The busy weekend marks Bridgeport's fourth "three-in-three" of the season.
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The Islanders host "Hockey Night in Connecticut" and "Wizarding World Night" this Saturday and Sunday. The first 1,000 kids will take home a Bridgeport Islanders youth jersey when doors open at 6 p.m. this Saturday, and the Webster Bank Arena atrium will include a full Kids Zone with inflatables and a slap-shot game. On Sunday, the concourse will be transformed into a "Wizarding World" with a virtual reality station, photo booth and more. Tickets for kids 11 and younger are just $10 at the Yale New Haven Health Box Office during every Sunday home game this season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Islanders saw their season-long, six-game point streak come to an end last Sunday with a 6-3 loss to the Bruins at the Dunkin' Donuts Center. Andy Andreoff, Blade Jenkins and Sam Bolduc each found the back of the net, but Providence scored five times in the second period en route to its third straight win. Tonight's game is the seventh of 12 meetings between the Isles and Bruins this season, and the third of six in Rhode Island. Bridgeport is 2-2-0-2 in the series, but 0-1-0-1 at Dunkin' Donuts Center.
VIEW FROM PROVIDENCE
Providence has won three straight games and five of its last six to take first place in the Atlantic Division standings (16-9-3-1, .621 points percentage). Sam Asselin scored his second career hat trick to lead the way in the Bruins' 6-3 win against Bridgeport last Sunday, while Jeremy Swayman (2-0-0) made 22 saves. Boston's affiliate has scored at least three goals in each of its last six games and at least five goals in four of those contests. Steven Fogarty paces the offense with 23 points (8g, 15a) in 26 games and has collected more than one point in three of his last four.
ISLES VS. T-BIRDS
Sunday's game is ninth of 12 meetings between the Islanders and Thunderbirds this season, and the fifth of six at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport is 1-6-0-1 against Springfield so far, but hasn't seen the T-Birds since Dec. 28th (5-1 setback). The Islanders lone win in the series came during their home opener on Oct. 23rd, when Robin Salo scored his first AHL goal at 4:10 of overtime for a 4-3 victory. The two division rivals met seven times before Thanksgiving and won't square off again until Feb. 23rd at the MassMutual Center.
VIEW FROM SPRINGFIELD
The Thunderbirds have lost five of their last six games since Jan. 8th, falling to fourth place in the Atlantic Division standings (19-12-3-1, .600 points percentage). Drew Bannister's club split a two-game series against the Charlotte Checkers this past week, including a 4-2 setback in North Carolina on Thursday. Rookie forward Mitchell Balmas scored for the third straight game and Quinnipiac product Sam Anas also had a goal for Springfield, while Joel Hofer (9-8-1) made 32 saves. The T-Birds don't play again until Sunday's 3 p.m. matchup in Bridgeport.
ANDREOFF BITES THE BRUINS
Andy Andreoff has scored in both trips to Providence this season, including his sixth goal of the year in his 300th AHL game on Sunday. Andreoff is fourth on the club in scoring (17 points) and has points in back-to-back games for the first time since he went on a four-game scoring streak, Dec. 4-12. He has also played five games with the New York Islanders this season (one goal against the New York Rangers on Nov. 24th).
Jakub Skarek stopped all 11 shots he faced in 26:09 of relief on Sunday (no decision), taking over for Cory Schneider in the second period. The 22-year-old has won each of his last three starts and is 3-0-1 over his last four starts dating back to Jan. 1st. He ranks fourth among all AHL goalies in minutes played (1,317:20) and saves (614). Skarek has made 27 or more saves in eight of his last nine starts.
COLE KEEPS ROLLING
Cole Bardreau has four points in his last five games (three goals, one assist) and nine points in his last 11 dating back to Dec. 15th. He set up Seth Helgeson's goal on Wednesday, Jan. 12th and although he didn't register a point last Sunday, he screened goaltender Jeremy Swayman to help Andreoff's opening tally. Bardreau shares 10th place on the Islanders' roster in scoring (10 points), and is tied for second in goals (seven) despite playing just 17 games.
Bardreau is fourth among all AHL players in shooting percentage (7-for-24, 29.2%)... Michael Dal Colle has points in six of his last eight games, but has gone two straight games without a point for the first time all season... The Islanders are winless in regulation in six straight road games since Dec. 19th... Bridgeport's 37 games played are the most in the Eastern Conference and tied for the most in the AHL (Milwaukee).
New York Islanders (13-13-6): Last: 4-3 SOW at Philadelphia, Tuesday -- Next: Tonight vs. Arizona, 7:30 p.m. ET
Worcester Railers (11-16-1-1): Last: 6-4 L at Reading, Monday -- Next: Tonight vs. Trois-Rivieres, 7:05 p.m. ET
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