Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly: Jonny Brodzinski leading team to playoffs

NHL: New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the 2022-23 season, the Hartford Wolf Pack had one goal; to snap their eight year playoff drought. Now, two weeks remain, which features five games left on the docket and Hartford is heating up at the right time winning four straight and picking up points in the last eight of 10 games.

Last week featured a sweep of points as the group collected six of six points to overtake the Bridgeport Islanders for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. In addition, Hartford outscored the opposition 19-3 in their current four game winning streak.

The offense continues to click while Louis Domingue is rolling on a winning streak in net. The defense has also held up well, and it appears the entire roster has gone all in for the battle to get into the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Hartford has three games on the docket this week beginning on Wednesday. Their record stands at 31-25-4-7 for 73 points, for sixth place in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

rangers jonny brodzinski hartford wolf pack
Jonny Brodzinski (Photo: Kelly Shea / Hartford Wolf Pack)

The Playoff Situation

Entering the week, Hartford’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 10 the Bridgeport Islanders right on their heels. The good news is that the Islanders dropped their previous game in regulation on Sunday. Bridgeport will be playing on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday which will shed more light on the situation. The Islanders played one less game than Hartford and are three points behind the Pack.

The biggest game of the season will be on Friday night as the Islanders visit the Wolf Pack for the final game in the season series. That could damage Bridgeport’s ability to get into the playoffs significantly if Hartford wins. Further good news is that Bridgeport is 5-5 in their last ten games, opposed to Hartford playing well at 7-2-1.

While the news and possibility for playoffs is exciting, keep in mind that the job is not finished until a playoff spot is clinched. There continues to be little room for error for Hartford. The season is on the line this week, with the Wolf Pack in control of their own destiny and having the upper hand. Bridgeport’s magic number entering the week is 14.

There is a possibility that Hartford could clinch soon if the Wolf Pack continue to win and the Islanders suffer additional regulation losses. Depending how the games shakeout between both clubs, playoff positioning could come down to the final week of the season.

Check out the Playoff Primer by the American Hockey League below. This will be your friend as this week progresses. Updates are completed each morning.

Jonny Brodzinski leading Pack

Louis Domingue on a Roll; Garand Bounces Back

The 31 year-old veteran has heated up and continues to perform spectacular in net. Domingue secured his third shutout on Friday night against the Providence Bruins as Hartford won the game 5-0. Domingue stopped 25 of 25 shots for the win. He’s also won his last six straight starts in net to help the playoff push.

Domingue is 19-12-8 with a 2.62 goals against average and a .907 save percentage.

Dylan Garand bounced back in the win column on Saturday when Hartford defeated Lehigh Valley by a score of 5-1. The prospect snapped a three game losing skid and was instrumental in Hartford’s win. The Phantoms were pressuring the Wolf Pack in moments, which Garand stood tall and helped the defense in tough situations.

The rookie’s first year continues to be good. From a developmental standpoint, Garand has grown significantly under Domingue.

Garand is 12-13-3 with a 3.08 goals against average and a .891 save percentage.

Adam Edstrom Debuts

in Saturday’s game against Lehigh Valley, Rangers prospect Adam Edstrom made his debut, replacing Brett Berard in the lineup. The 22 year old had a quiet game with limited time on ice.

Currently, Hartford is rotating the new additions one game at a time. I expect Adam Sykora and Bryce McConnell-Barker to debut soon.

One Timers

  • Captain Jonny Brodzinski leads the team in points with 46. Through 43 games, the veteran has 21 goals and 25 assists.
  • Will Cuylle has points in the last two of three games (two assists).
  • Ryan Carpenter has points in the last six of nine games (four goals, six assists).
  • Tanner Fritz is on a two game point streak (two goals, two assists).
    • Fritz is three points away from tying his career high in points (in AHL). Fritz has 39 points and his highest season was with Bridgeport in the 2016-17 season with 42.
  • Lauri Pajuniemi is on a four game point streak (one goal, five assists).
  • Zac Jones has points in the last three of four games (one goal, three assists).
  • Veteran Anton Blidh has points in two straight (one goal, two assists).
  • Jake Leschyshyn has points in three straight (two goals, one assist).

Scoreboard Watching

Hartford and Bridgeport will each have three games on tap. The Islanders will play two matches against divisional rivals and one game against Hartford.

  • Tuesday, April 4th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 10:30am, Total Mortgage Arena
  • Saturday, April 8th vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh) at 7pm, Total Mortgage Arena

Wolf Pack Upcoming Games

Wednesday, April 5th vs Toronto Marlies (Maple Leafs) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the second and final meeting in the season series. Hartford dropped the first meeting by a score of 3-2 in overtime on March 11th.
  • Entering the week, Toronto is 41-21-3-2 for 87 points. The group is ranked first in the North Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Marlies snapped a seven game losing streak on April 2nd against Belleville (6-2 win). Toronto is 3-5-1-1 in their last ten outings.
  • Veteran Logan Shaw leads the Marlies in points with 65. Through 64 games, Shaw has 20 goals and 45 assists. He is ranked eighth in the AHL for points. Alex Steeves is second for points on the roster with 48. Through 60 games, the forward has 18 goals and 30 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Friday, April 7th vs Bridgeport Islanders (New York) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 12th and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 6-5 against the Islanders.
  • Entering the week, Bridgeport is 31-27-7-1 for 70 points. That ranks the group seventh in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Bridgeport is 5-5 in their last ten outings and are 3-2 in the last five games.
  • Veteran Chris Terry leads the Islanders in points with 66. Through 61 games, Terry has 22 goals and 44 assists. He is ranked sixth in the league for points. Andy Andreoff is second for points on the roster with 57. Through 63 games, Andreoff has 32 goals and 25 assists. He is ranked 15th in the league for points.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, April 8th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7:05pm, Amica Mutual Pavilion

  • This is the 10th and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 5-3-1 against the Bruins.
  • Entering the week, Providence is 40-16-8-2 for 90 points. That ranks the group second in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Bruins are on a two game skid. However, they are 8-2 in the last ten outings.
  • Bruins prospect Georgii Merkulov leads the Bruins in points with 52. Through 61 games, the prospect has 23 goals and 29 assists. Veteran Vinni Lettieri is second for points with 42. Through 43 games, the former Ranger has 19 goals and 23 assists.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Ricky Milliner is a Hartford Wolf Pack season ticket holder. While growing up, he discovered hockey by attending a... More about Ricky Milliner