Wolf Pack Watch: Vitali Kravtsov heating up for Hartford
Last weekend saw the Wolf Pack face some adversity, as the group collected just three of a possible six points against divisional opponents. That was enough to hold second in the division entering the new week. However, the Pack were unable to capitalize on opportunities to tie or get ahead of the first place Hershey Bears.
Entering this week, Hartford is 30-14-6-5 for 71 points and second place in the Atlantic Division. That ranks them third in the Eastern Conference and fifth in the American Hockey League. The Wolf Pack are 4-4-2 in their last ten games. In that span, the group lost twice at home and four times on the road.
Scouting The Opponents
Hartford’s biggest rival in the standings is the Hershey Bears. The club has given Hartford fits in the season series and is giving the Pack a run for their money for 1st in the division and possibly the conference. The Bears continue to be a robust and impressive team that is led by quality prospects and veterans similar to Hartford. The difference is the Bears found their game mid-season as opposed to Hartford.
Hershey enters the week 33-17-3-3 for 72 points. The Bears are 6-3-1 in their last ten games. The stakes are high for both clubs if they want dibs for tops in the division. Both fanbases are definitely watching the scoreboard in the upcoming few weeks to see who wins this fight.
The two biggest games of the season will be on March 6th and 7th as the Wolf Pack host the Bears for the final two meetings of the season. That could be a huge boost or killer for the Pack against the Bears.
Updated daily, you can check out the magic number for Hartford to clinch a playoff spot. As of Tuesday prior to any games played, the magic number is 32.
Click here to view the latest.
Yegor Rykov Struggles
Through 25 games with Hartford, Rykov is having a rough rookie season. Despite joining the team in December and looking good early on, the prospect has found himself struggling in all aspects of the game. The mix of minor injuries plus healthy scratches has led the prospect out of the lineup, especially as of late.
The young defenseman is still finding his game. Defensively he has made a plethora of mistakes, especially ones ending up back of the net. He is out of position at times, which doesn’t allow him to be effective against opponents. He plays with limited minutes and is still learning how to compete against opponents. The coaching staff is working diligently on the prospect, and progress should be made long term. Considering him joining late in the season, that is difficult on the prospect. He is working to improve his game and has the right attitude.
Rangers Enhance Wolf Pack Roster
Announced on February 19th, Hartford acquired goaltender Jean-Francois Berube in exchange for future considerations listed below.
Looking at the trade as a whole, the move is to benefit Hartford for their upcoming playoff run as Adam Huska and Tom McCollum were unable to fill the void Igor Shesterkin left when he was called up to the Rangers.
You can read more about Huska and Berube in the following links as both articles were written by Greg Markiewicz .
What JF Berube Brings to the Pack’s Playoff Push
Rangers make trade to bolster Wolf Pack goaltending for Playoffs
Vitali Kravtsov Heats Up
The Rangers prospect had himself a great weekend. In the last two games, Kravtsov recorded a goal and two assists. In the last four games, he has 15 shots on net as he is shooting the puck more while in possession. The offense is slowly coming life for the talented prospect. He may not be on the scoresheet nightly, but his play has improved throughout the year. He fights for the puck, he tries to create plays and spark the offense. He has worked on his defensive game as well and has looked better in the neutral and defensive zones. He is still growing as a player and we are seeing the progress.
Check out his breakaway goal last Saturday! That was a beauty as Nick Ebert fed Kravtsov the perfect pass.
2020 Calder Cup Playoff Eligibility
Along with the NHL trade deadline on Monday, the Rangers had the option to assign players to Hartford and call them back up for paper transactions.
Along with the current Hartford roster, the Rangers elected to give Brett Howden and Julien Gauthier an opportunity to participate in Hartford’s 2020 playoff run. However, if the Rangers do make the postseason, the forwards could join Hartford at a later time.
- Captain Steven Fogarty is on a five-game assist streak. Through 48 games, the forward has collected 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points. His career best was last season, registering 52 points.
- Vinni Lettieri recorded three points in the last two games. Entering the week, Lettieri is five points away from tying his career high in points of 48. The forward ranks 16th in the league for points (43) and eighth in goals (24).
- Darren Raddysh has five points in the last four games. The defenseman recorded three assists last Sunday against Bridgeport. Raddysh has 27 points in 55 games thus far and is three points away from tying his career high from last season of 30 points.
- Nick Jones continues to have a solid rookie season with Hartford. Jones recorded two points last Sunday to bring his point total to 18 through 54 games.
- After registering three power-play goals on Sunday, Hartford’s power play percentage jumps to 13.6%. Despite the continual power play struggles, the group found a way to convert with the man advantage after not being able to do so for a while.
- Tim Gettinger recorded a goal and an assist on Sunday. His short-handed goal was beautiful! Check it out.
Hartford has 21 games remaining (12 home, 9 away).
Friday, February 28th vs. Binghamton Devils (New Jersey) at 7:05 pm, Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena
- This is the fourth and final meeting in the season series. Hartford leads the series 3-0 and could potentially sweep the Devils. The group outscored Binghamton 12-6 thus far.
- Entering the week, Binghamton is 27-24-4 for 58 points in the North Division. That ranks the club fifth in their division. The Devils have won six of their last ten games.
- New Jersey’s prospect Brett Seney leads the Devils in points (41). Through 54 games, the forward collected 18 goals and 23 assists.
- Listen – Fox Sports 1430 Binghamton. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, February 29th vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders) at 7pm, Webster Bank Arena
- This is the 8th of 10 meetings in the season series with the Sound Tigers. Hartford leads the series 6-1. Hartford will face Bridgeport once again next Saturday on 3/14. Then both clubs will face each other for the final meetings in the last three weeks of the season.
- Entering the week, Bridgeport is 19-30-5-2 for 45 points in the Atlantic Division. That ranks the group eighth in the division and last in the Eastern Conference. Bridgeport is on a 0-3-0-1 run and has four of their last ten games.
- Defenseman Sebastian Aho leads the Sound Tigers in points (26). The Islanders prospect collected 2 goals and 24 assists in 42 games.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Sunday, March 1st vs. Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3pm, XL Center
- This is the 7th of 10 meetings in the season series against Providence. Hartford lead the series 6-0-0-1 with the lone shootout loss occurring on 11/15.
- Entering the week, Providence is 31-18-3-3 for 68 points in the Atlantic Division. As of Tuesday, three points separate the Bruins from the Wolf Pack. The Bruins are on a 5-0-1 run and have won six of their last 10 games.
- Boston’s prospect Jack Studnicka leads the Bruins in points (41). Through 53 games, the forward collected 20 goals and 21 assists.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.