Sound Tigers Look for Eighth Straight Home Win Tonight
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (37-20-5-2), proud AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders, have won seven straight home games for the second time this season and will look to push that streak to eight in a row when they face the Toronto Marlies (34-21-6-4) at 7 p.m. Tonight's game is the first of three straight against North Division opponents and continues a season-long eight-game homestand for the Sound Tigers.
LAST TIME OUT
On Sunday, Jeremy Smith was lights out, making 29 saves for his first shutout with Bridgeport and the team's second blank sheet of the year. Jeff Kubiak led the offense with one goal and one assist for his third multi-point game, while Chris Casto, Chris Bourque and John Stevens also scored. The Sound Tigers have won nine of their last 11 games overall dating back to Feb. 16.
During tonight's game and every Wednesday home game at Webster Bank Arena, take advantage of $1 hot dogs, $2 popcorn boxes and $3 bottled Pepsi products as part of "1-2-3 Wednesdays!" Great seats for tonight's game are still on sale!
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TIGERS VS. MARLIES
Tonight's contest features the second and final meeting between the Sound Tigers and Marlies this season, and the only matchup at Webster Bank Arena. Bridgeport will attempt to sweep the series following a 3-2 shootout win north of the border just 10 days ago, in which Jeff Kubiak and Josh Ho-Sang each converted a second-period tally. Chris Bourque and Otto Koivula added goals in a three-round shootout, while Jeremy Smith made a season-high 40 saves in 65 minutes. The Sound Tigers won their only tilt with the Marlies at Webster Bank Arena last season - a 1-0 shootout victory on Jan. 21, 2018.
VIEW FROM TORONTO
Sheldon Keefe's club has won six of its last 10 games and currently sits third in the North Division standings. on Wednesday, the Marlies continued a four-game road trip through the Atlantic Division with a 4-2 victory against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Chris Mueller opened the scoring with a goal for the eighth consecutive game (the longest such streak in the AHL in more than three years), while Adam Brooks, Michael Carcone and Pierre Engvall also found the back of the net. Jeremy Bracco added two assists and now leads league with 51, and is also tied for second in the AHL with 69 points (18 goals, 51 assists). Mueller, who is on a nine-game point streak overall, is tied for eighth in the AHL with 57 points (28 goals, 29 assists).
SMITH STANDS OUT
Jeremy Smith has stopped 69 of the last 71 shots he's faced over two games (.972), including 29 saves on Sunday for his first shutout of the season. He also made a season-high 40 saves against Toronto on Mar. 10. The 10th-year netminder has won five of his last six decisions since Feb. 22, with a 1.65 goals-against-average and .946 save percentage in those wins. Smith, who signed a two-way (NHL/AHL) deal with the Islanders for the rest of the season on Feb. 24, leads Bridgeport with 19 victories in 36 appearances, which is tied for eighth on the team's all-time single-season wins list.
WINNING AT WEBSTER
Nine of Bridgeport's final 11 games will take place at Webster Bank Arena, where the Sound Tigers have won seven in a row for the season time this year (also Oct. 19 - Nov. 11). In addition, Bridgeport leads all AHL teams in winning percentage at home (77.6%) as it continues an eight-game homestand. The Sound Tigers haven't lost at home since a 7-5 setback to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Feb. 1.
LEADING THE WAY
Veteran winger Chris Bourque continues to lead Bridgeport in scoring through 64 games. His 47 points (14g, 33a) are within the AHL's top 40 and he also leads the team in shots (144), power-play points (18), game-winning goals (5) and shootout goals (4). Bourque is attempting to lead his AHL club in scoring for the fourth time in the last five years and remains the AHL's all-time active leading scorer (23rd all-time) with 739 career points, two behind Rene Drolet for 22nd place. His goal on Sunday was his 250th in the AHL.
Steve Bernier's next goal will set a new career high for the 14th-year veteran... He is second in the AHL in shooting percentage (25%)... Josh Ho-Sang leads Bridgeport in points per game (0.79, min. of 35 games played)... Otto Koivula has gone five straight games without a point, but continues to rank ninth among AHL rookies in scoring (40 points)... Sebastian Aho has gone eight straight games without a point, but is 11th among AHL blue-liners in scoring (38 points)... Tanner Fritz had one assist on Sunday, tying Alan Quine for seventh place on the team's all-time assists list (86)... Bridgeport is 6-4-1-1 against the North Division.
NHL: New York Islanders (42-24-7) - Next: Tomorrow at Montreal Canadiens (7:30 p.m.)
ECHL: Worcester Railers (30-24-5-4) - Next: Friday vs. Maine Mariners (7:05 p.m.)
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