Hartford Wolf Pack prepare for final stretch before playoffs

Hartford Wolf Pack celebrate goal versus Springfield (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)
Hartford Wolf Pack celebrate goal versus Springfield (Photo: John Mrakovcich / Hartford Wolf Pack)

The final week of the American Hockey League’s regular season is here and the Hartford Wolf Pack have three games remaining before the Calder Cup Playoffs begin. After clinching a spot last Friday at the XL Center by defeating the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-3 in front of an electric 8,090 fans, Hartford is likely to rest a veteran or two.

It was also a remarkable past weekend for Hartford, as not only they snap their six-game losing streak (0-5-0-1), they also avoided a season-series sweep against the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday with a dominant 5-2 victory.

Through 69 games, Hartford is 32-27-7-3 for 74 points and have almost locked up 5th place in the Atlantic Division. Entering the week, the Pack need to secure just one point over the 6th place Lehigh Valley Phantoms (69 points) to hold their position.

Related: Louis Domingue scores goalie goal

Hartford Wolf Pack Weekly

Louis Domingue scores for Wolf Pack
Louis Domingue celebrates after scoring a goal (Photo: Joseph Desrosiers / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Playoff Scenarios

At this time, Hartford would be facing the Checkers, unless they can overtake the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for 3rd place. Charlotte has three games remaining while Wilkes-Barre has two, who lead the Checkers by two points.

From the Wolf Pack’s perspective, rooting for Charlotte to overtake Wilkes-Barre is the best scenario. Hartford has shown good fight against the Penguins this season, and could do well in a best-of-three series.

The 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs begin on April 22nd. Hartford’s playoff schedule will be released late next weekend. I expect Hartford’s first game will be on Wednesday or Thursday depending on the opponent. The opening round will conclude on April 28th.

Louis Domingue’s big night

The XL Center witnessed a goalie goal on Friday against Springfield. Louis Domingue in the winding seconds of the third period scored on an empty net goal to help propel Hartford to playoffs.

The last goalie goal in the building was during the Hartford Whalers tenure when Chris Osgood scored with the Detroit Red Wings on March 6th, 1996.

Domingue joins Jean-Francois Labbe as the only other goalie to score with the organization. Labbe registered the franchise’s first goalie goal, which was against the Quebec Citadelles on February 5th, 2000.

In addition to his goal, the veteran played well in both games over the weekend, securing two wins to improve his record to 15-8-4.

Anticipated Roster Moves

The organization’s ECHL affiliate, Cincinnati Cyclones completed their regular season last weekend and will not be participating in the playoffs. There are a couple of players who should be called up to Hartford from the team:

  • Sahil Panwar (F)
  • Olof Lindom (G)
  • Talyn Boyko (G)

In addition, defenseman Zach Berzolla could join the team at a later date. He is playing with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, which secured a playoff spot.

Regarding the Rangers taxi squad, there are a couple of players expected to be called up. However, that number could be less given the Rangers have Filip Chytil possibly returning in addition to having eight defenseman up.

For the third goalie, Louis Domingue will likely be the Rangers choice. The Wolf Pack will be comfortable will be fine with Dylan Garand and Olof Lindbom in the playoffs.

As for the forwards group, potential call up candidates include Alex Belzile, Tyler Pitlick, and Adam Edstrom. If a defenseman is needed, Brandon Scanlin or Connor Mackey are the best options.

One Timers

  • Congrats to Jaroslav Chmlar on registering his first pro goal on Sunday.
  • Alex Belzile recorded 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) on Friday.
  • Brett Berard is on a 3 game point streak (2 goals, 2 assists).
  • Riley Nash recorded 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in the last 2 games.
  • Adam Edstrom recorded 1 goal and 1 assist in the last 2 games.

Hartford Wolf Pack Schedule

Friday, April 19th vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh) at 7pm, XL Center

  • This is the 6th and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 2-3 against the Penguins.
  • Entering the week, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is 38-23-8-1 for 85 points. They are ranked 3rd in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Penguins are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
  • Defenseman Ty Smith leads the Penguins in points with 43 (9 goals, 34 assists) in 63 games. Forward Vinnie Hinostroza is second in points with 33 (16 goals, 17 assists) in 40 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Saturday, April 20th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7:05pm, MassMutual Center

  • This is the 10th and final meeting in the season series. Hartford is 4-5 against the Thunderbirds.
  • Entering the week, Springfield is 30-35-3-2 for 65 points. They are ranked 7th in the Atlantic Division and 14th in the Eastern Conference. Springfield is 3-7 in their last 10 outings.
  • Adam Gaudette leads the Thunderbirds in points with 69 (44 goals, 25 assists) in 65 games. Gaudette is ranked 3rd in the league for points and 1st for goals. Dylan Coghlan and Matthew Peca are tied for 2nd in points on the roster. Both have 41 points. Coghlan has 16 goals and 25 assists in 59 games. Peca registered 12 goals and 29 assists in 48 games.
  • Listen – Mixlr. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, April 21st vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3:05pm, 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 40-20-6-3 for 89 points. They are ranked 2nd in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. The Bruins are 4-2-3-1 in their last 10 outings.
  • Georgii Merkulov leads the Bruins in points with 60 (22 goals, 38 assists) in 64 games. Anthony Richard and Jayson Megna are tied for 2nd in points with 51. Richard has 25 goals and 26 assists in 57 games. Megna has 18 goals and 33 assists in 67 games.
  • 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

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