Wolf Pack Hit the Road to Battle Penguins for First Time Since 2020
HARTFORD, CT - Hit the road, Pack. It's been 18 months since the Hartford Wolf Pack last had a true road trip. That changed yesterday when the club boarded their bus and trekked to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in advance of their first meeting with the Penguins since February 22nd, 2020.
The Pack will play back-to-back games this weekend, as they will also visit the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tomorrow night. Puck drop for both games is slated for 7:05 pm live on AHLTV.
Tale of The Tape:
This is the first of six meetings between the divisional foes this season, who will do it all over again in seven days at the XL Center. This is also Hartford's first visit to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since January 11th, 2020. They'll return on March 13th and March 30th.
While the Wolf Pack are certainly excited for this first real road trip in 18 months, the team is looking to break a recent streak of futility against the Penguins. In three meetings in 2019-20, the Wolf Pack went 0-2-1-0 against the Penguins. The last meeting, a 2-1 overtime win in Hartford for the Penguins thanks to an Adam Johnson penalty shot goal, also snapped a winning streak of 12 straight wins at home for the Wolf Pack.
The Wolf Pack haven't defeated the Penguins since March 8th, 2019, when they took a 3-2 shootout decision at Mohegan Sun Arena. Bobby Butler scored the shootout winner, while Brandon Halverson made 39 saves for the victory.
Wolf Pack Outlook:
The Pack skated to a 2-1-0-0 record during opening weekend. Hartford scored a 2-1 victory over the Bridgeport Islanders on Friday night at home, with Morgan Barron scoring the winning goal 7:50 into overtime. After a tough 2-1 loss in Springfield on Saturday, the Wolf Pack grinded out a 4-3 shootout win over the Providence Bruins on Sunday afternoon.
Tim Gettinger scored his first goal of the season 7:47 into the second period, while Jonny Brodzinski scored his first at 10:21. Brodzinski's goal was also scored shorthanded, giving the Wolf Pack their first shorthanded goal of the campaign. Gettinger scored in the sixth round of the shootout, while Keith Kinkaid denied all six Bruin shooters to preserve the victory.
Kinkaid is now 4-0-0-0 all-time with the Wolf Pack and is 2-0-0-0 on the season with a .935 save percentage. Brodzinski, meanwhile, leads the club with four points (1 g, 3 a) and is tied for third overall in scoring in the AHL. Rookie Lauri Pajuniemi scored his first career AHL goal on Friday against the Islanders.
Forwards Barron and Greg McKegg were both recalled last weekend by the parent New York Rangers, and currently remain with the team. McKegg made his season debut with the Rangers on Monday night, skating in the team's 2-1 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Barron, meanwhile, made his season debut for the Rangers in Thursday's 3-1 victory in Nashville.
The Penguins opened the 2021-22 season with a pair of home games last weekend, hosting the rival Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Charlotte Checkers. Opening night saw the Penguins treat the home crowd to a 2-1 victory, with defenseman Niclas Almari scoring the deciding goal 1:09 into the third period. Goaltender Filip Lindberg made 30 saves in the victory.
On Sunday, the Penguins got a goal from Felix Robert, but dropped a 4-1 decision to the Checkers. Tommy Nappier made the start for the Penguins, stopping 28 shots in the loss.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will conclude their three-game homestand tonight and hit the road on Sunday when they visit the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at 3:05 pm. The Phantoms and Penguins will meet on Wednesday night back at Mohegan Sun Arena before the Penguins make the trip to Hartford next Friday night.
The Penguins finished with a 13-13-4-2 record in 32 games during the truncated 2020-21 season. Their 32 points, and .500 points percentage, was good for fifth in the realigned North Division.
The Wolf Pack return to the XL Center in Hartford next weekend for a pair of games. The Pack will host the Penguins on Friday night and the Checkers on Saturday. Both games are set for 7:00 pm. Single game tickets for the 2021-22 Hartford Wolf Pack season are on-sale now! To secure your seats and join the fun for this milestone 25th anniversary season, visit www.hartfordwolfpack.com.
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