The Bridgeport Sound Tigers (5-13-1-0), American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Islanders, defeated both of their Atlantic Division rivals this past week, scoring four goals in each victory and earning back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
The Sound Tigers outscored the Hartford Wolf Pack (10-7-1-0) and Providence Bruins (14-5-1-0) by a combined 8-1 margin in their last two games, which began with a road contest at the XL Center on Saturday.
Ken Appleby (2-2-0) stopped all 22 shots he faced in a 4-0 win that afternoon, posting his 13th professional shutout and the first clean sheet for a Bridgeport netminder in 2020-21. Arnaud Durandeau (one goal, one assist) and Otto Koivula (two assists) each had a multi-point effort, while Dmytro Timashov, Robert Carpenter and Cole Bardreau also found the back of the net in the Sound Tigers' biggest victory of the season. It ended Hartford's seven-game winning streak.
Durandeau, Timashov and rookie defenseman Samuel Bolduc played a key role in another win on Tuesday, each recording a multi-point performance in a 4-1 victory against the Bruins at Webster Bank Arena. Bolduc scored twice including the game-winning goal at 3:49 of the first period, while Timashov (one goal, one assist) and Durandeau (two assists) stayed hot and Jakub Skarek (2-8-0) made 23 saves. Jeff Kubiak kicked off the scoring just 78 seconds into the contest with his first goal of the season in his 200th professional game.
The Sound Tigers remain third in the Atlantic Division, 10 points behind the second-place Wolf Pack, with five games remaining in the abbreviated season. Bridgeport fell to Hartford at home last Thursday, 4-2, despite Blade Jenkins' first professional goal on a rebound from the right circle. Bardreau also scored and Appleby made 21 saves.
The Sound Tigers return to the road this Saturday for a 1 p.m. rematch against the Wolf Pack at the XL Center. Fans can follow all of the live action via AHLTV or the Sound Tigers Radio Network, beginning with the pre-game show at 12:45 p.m.
The Week Ahead
Saturday, Apr. 24 at Hartford Wolf Pack (1 p.m.): The Sound Tigers make their fifth of six trips to the XL Center this season, where they are 1-3-0-0 so far. Bridgeport is 3-6-0-0 against Hartford overall and is led offensively by Samuel Bolduc's eight points (four goals, four assists) in nine meetings.
Milestone Men: Jeff Kubiak and Seth Helgeson each celebrated a professional milestone on Tuesday. Helgeson, the Sound Tigers' captain, played his 500th pro game and his 450th in the AHL, split between Bridgeport and the Albany Devils. The 30-year-old defenseman has also played 50 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils (2014-17). Helgeson has three points (one goal, two assists) and a team-leading 34 penalty minutes in 19 games with Bridgeport this season. In addition, Kubiak scored a goal in his 200th pro game on Tuesday. He has played 138 AHL games with the Sound Tigers and 62 ECHL contests with the team's ECHL affiliate, the Worcester Railers. Kubiak has one goal and six assists in 18 games this year.
Bolduc Bolsters Bridgeport: Samuel Bolduc continues to turn heads in his first professional season. The 20-year-old rookie recorded his first career multi-goal game on Tuesday with a pair of tallies against Providence, including his first game-winner in the opening four minutes of the contest. In addition, Bolduc's career-best plus-3 rating on Tuesday was the best rating for any Sound Tigers' player this season (fellow defenseman Grant Hutton also had a plus-3 rating on Tuesday). Bolduc leads the Sound Tigers in points (12) and shots (43) and is tied for the team lead in assists (six) and games played (19). He is one of six players to appear in every game for Bridgeport this season.
Picking Up the Pace: Arnaud Durandeau had just one assist in his first six games of the season, but the 22-year-old winger posted his second straight two-point effort on Tuesday and now has multiple points in three of his last four outings. Durandeau leads the Sound Tigers in points-per-game (0.70) and has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last four. He's tied for fifth on the team in scoring (seven points in 10 games) and has 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 31 AHL contests with Bridgeport over the last two seasons.
High Five: Kyle MacLean is on a career-best five-game point streak (one goal, four assists), which is the longest for any Bridgeport player this season. He also has one assist in each of his last four games, the longest assist streak for the team this year. MacLean is tied for fifth on the club in points (seven) and tied for sixth in assists (five) through 17 appearances. Both of his two professional goals have come against Providence.
Quick Hits: Jakub Skarek didn't allow a goal until 17:11 of the second period on Tuesday, ending Bridgeport's shutout streak at 97:42, dating back to the third period on Apr. 15th… It's the longest shutout streak for the Sound Tigers this season… Dmytro Timashov has scored in back-to-back games and has four points (two goals, two assists) in his last four outings… Timashov, Arnaud Durandeau, Cole Bardreau and Otto Koivula are tied for the team lead with three multi-point performances… All five of the Sound Tigers' wins this season have come when they don't allow a power-play goal.
Goals: Cole Bardreau (8)
Assists: Five Tied (6)
Points: Samuel Bolduc (12)
Plus/Minus: Tom Kuhnhackl (+4)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (34)
Shots: Samuel Bolduc (43)
Games Played: Six Tied (19)