Wolf Pack Weekly: Nils Lundkvist stays hot, and Hartford begins 5 game road trip

The Wolf Pack’s regular season is two months away from being complete. The club has 22 games remaining on the docket. After completing a home heavy slate in recent weeks, the group is going on their first lengthy road-trip of the season.

This weekend, the Wolf Pack are in the Keystone state to face Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Then Hartford will face Syracuse before going on their first Canadian trip of the season. Currently the schedule breakdown is eight home and 14 away games.

Wolf Pack Weekly

Hartford enters the week having secured 5 of 6 points last weekend to maintain third in the Atlantic Division. In order for the group to secure the bye for the first round of the 2022 Calder Cup Playoffs, they must rank first or second, which are occupied currently by Providence and Springfield.

Those two clubs are neck and neck in the division while Hartford has catching up to do. The regular season ends on April 30th, while Hartford’s slate ends on April 24th.

Nils Lundkvist stays hot

After struggle for several weeks, the talented prospect is now one of the best players for Hartford. In addition to being on the scoresheet frequently, the defenseman is solid in his own end. Despite a few mistakes, Lundkvist bounces back strong and continues to excel in Hartford playing a high volume of minutes. The combination with Zac Jones is a lethal paring for the club. Both players are able to generate offense and help setup plays while also being reliable in their own end.

Entering the weekend, Lundkvist has points in the last four of five games. The prospect secured two goals and five assists. He recorded a three point performance last Saturday against Hershey registering three assists. In the prior weekend on 2/27, Lundkvist recorded another multiple point game (two assists) against Providence.

nils lundkvist
Nils Lundkvist struggling (Photo: Kelly Shea / Hartford Wolf Pack)

Matt Lorito continues to be an offensive threat

The 31 year old veteran had another strong week. The forward secured points in four straight games (two goals, four assists). Despite being held off the scoresheet last Sunday against Bridgeport, Lorito still had a stellar game. Offensively he knows where to be and is able to get goals from deflections or tips. He also has a strong shot, especially his wrist shot. Add in his strong hockeyIQ, Lorito continues to be a new reliable forward for Hartford.

Through 10 games, Lorito registered three goals and four assists for seven points.

Jarred Tinordi Adjusts to AHL Action

After being a healthy scratch for majority of his time in New York this season, the 30 year-old defenseman adjusted well to Hartford. Tinordi brings additional experience to the roster with a a big serving of physical, gritty defense. While not playing on a nightly basis, the defenseman has proved he can play well when inserted in the lineup.

The veteran played in two of three games last week. Both games were solid for Tinordi as he was defending well and has brought an physical edge to Hartford’s lineup. In addition to defending tough against opponents, he is willing to block shots and not afraid to standup for his teammates.

Anthony Greco Ties Jonny Brodzinski in Points

While Hartford’s captain is in New York on a call up, Anthony Greco has taken the opportunity to make up lost ground in points to tie Hartford’s captain. Greco now co-leads with Brodzinski in points (39). The veteran is on fire offensively as he is on a six game point streak. In that span, Greco secured three goals and five assists.

The 28 year old forward continues to be a consistent cog in Hartford’s offense. He fires the puck often and is determined to generate chances. Greco has a strong offensive mindset and continues to play strong. He leads the group in shots at 173. The second highest is 104 (Brodzinski) and the third highest is Ronning (91).

Wolf Pack Injury news

Lauri Pajuniemi Returns From Injury

After missing nine games, the 22 year-old prospect returned to action last Saturday against Hershey. Pajuniemi did not play for a month and is adjusting to the new lines and getting back into the grove.

Other Injuries

  • Keith Kinkaid
    • Minor injury and is day to day.
  • Matthew Robertson
    • Day to day with a minor injury.

Both players could see action this weekend.

Wolf Pack News and Notes

The American Hockey League publishes the daily Playoff Primer here. Updated each morning, you will see updates of clinching the playoffs, division, and regular season title. For the first time since the 2014-15 season, As of Wednesday, Hartford’s magic number is 29 points. To clinch the division it’s at 50 points.

Be on the lookout for my article in April previewing potential playoff opponents. The journey to the Calder Cup begins soon. The last time Hartford went to the playoffs IN 2014-15, they went to the Eastern Conference final.

One Timers

  • Tanner Fritz has points in two straight games (two goals).
  • Austin Rueschhoff has points in two straight games (one goal, one assist).
  • Justin Richards has points in the last two of three games (two assists).
  • Abbott Girduckis registered his first AHL goal on Sunday against Bridgeport.

Transactions

  • Patrick Salkind signed a PTO and was released on the same day. Salkind was the ebug for Hartford against Bridgeport on Sunday March 6th.
  • Abbott Girduckis signed a PTO on March 4th.
  • James Sanchez returns to Hartford from loan on March 4th. Prior to the call up, Sanchez was in Jacksonville ECHL.

WolfPack Schedule

Saturday, March 12th vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia) at 7:05pm, PPL Center

  • This is the final meeting between the clubs in the season series. Hartford is 2-2-0-1 against Lehigh Valley this season.
  • Entering the weekend, Lehigh Valley compiled a record of 18-24-7-3 for 46 points (.442). That ranks the group eighth (last) in the Atlantic Division and 15th (last) in the Eastern Conference. The Phantoms are on a six game losing streak (0-5-1) and are 2-6-1-1 in their last ten outings.
  • Forward Cal O’Reilly leads the Phantoms in points with 34. In 51 games, the veteran recorded 13 goals and 21 assists. Former Rangers defenseman Adam Clendening is second in points with 30. The veteran registered five goals and 25 assists in 50 games.
  • Listen – Phantoms Radio Network. Watch – AHLTV.

Sunday, March 13th vs Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh) at 3:05pm, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

  • This is the fourth of six meetings in the season series. Hartford is 2-0-1 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton thus far. The first three meetings were early in the season (10/22, 10/29, 11/6). After Sunday’s game, the next meting will be on March 30th.
  • Entering the weekend, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton compiled a record of 23-23-4-4 for 54 points (.500). That ranks the group sixth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins lost four straight games (0-2-2) and are 4-3-2-1 in their last ten outings.
  • Penguins prospect Valtteri Puustinen leads the group in points with 34. The forward secured 17 goals and 17 assists in 53 games. Forward Alexander Nylander is ranked second in points on the active roster with 28. The prospect joined the Penguins in January through a trade. In 24 games with the Penguins, the forward secured eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. Prior to the trade, Nylander was with Rockford IceHogs (Chicago) and registered eight goals and four assists in 23 games.
  • Listen – News Radio WILK. Watch – AHLTV.