Wolf Pack Weekly: Hartford looking for offense, and Nils Lundkvist struggling
The Wolf Pack lost ground in the Atlantic Division last weekend as Hartford dropped two games in regulation. The Pack lost a 2-1 decision against Providence on Saturday while getting shutout for the second time of the season on Sunday in Bridgeport by a score of 2-0.
Hartford’s struggles as of late comes at a time where the standings are really tight. The group will have a huge weekend coming up to snap their two game skid as Hartford meets Springfield, then a home-and-home with Providence.
Wolf Pack Weekly: Offensive Struggles
In the last four games, Hartford’s talented offense is showing struggles sustaining pressure and producing goals. This season, the club has shown they can be lethal, especially in the third but have hit a rut of late with just 6 goals during this stretch.
The Wolf Pack’s slump on the scoresheet along with defensive errors has resulted in dropping the last three of four games and the last five of eight. Despite the recent losses, Hartford can rebound and break their slump against teams in the Atlantic Division.
This season has had its fear share of ups and downs, with this being one of those down times. I expect to see changes to the lineup in the next couple of games and see the club respond after last weekend. Head Coach Kris Knobluach should be able to turn the ship around and Hartford will start rolling once again. The question is the matter of when, not if.
Nils Lundkvist struggling
One name that is now repeatedly popping in New York Rangers trade talks is Swedish defenseman Nils Lundkvist.
Since being sent down to play in the AHL, he’s struggled to make a significant impact on the scoresheet. In 14 games, Lundkvist has just one goal and three assists for four points. The defenseman is known to have an elite shot but thus far is only average 1.7 shots per game.
Defensively, Lundkvist has been good but is sporting a -1 rating. Coach Knoblauch is working to help Nils develop but he certainly needs more work in the AHL to adjust to the smaller ice surface and speed of the game.
– Note: Section on Nils Lundkvist added by Managing Editor
Wolf Pack Watch
Ty Ronning Heats Up
The 24 year old forward collected points in the last two of four games (one goal, two assists). Ronning is a streaky player and when he gets going, the forward can provide an impact to Hartford’s offense.
Through 41 games this season, Ronning collected 10 goals, 12 assists for 22 points surpassing last year’s totals (18). The experienced forward should help push Hartford out of their offensive slump. He has that ability in him.
Matt Lorito Continues Adjustment to Hartford
Hartford’s newest veteran found himself on the scoresheet last Saturday as he recorded his first goal of the season with the Pack.
Lorito’s presence bolsters the offensive lines on right wing. He gives Hartford further depth and additional reinforcement in the group’s top six. As Lorito continues to adjust, he will become another powerful forward for Hartford, especially in the late stages of the season for playoff seeding.
Hartford currently has one player out of the lineup resulting from injury.
- The Rangers prospect missed the last five games as he was injured on February 4th against Springfield. Regarding the exact injury, the organization has kept quiet and there is no timetable for return. Pajuniemi had a great rookie season in the organization thus far and progressed well in development. He also bolsters right wing for the group. Hartford is missing the forward with his skill abilities.
AHL Standings Update
Entering Friday, Hartford is ranked third in the Atlantic Division with a record of 23-15-4-2 for 52 points (.591). Springfield and Providence are ahead of Hartford as both clubs have been on a tear in recent weeks.
The Charlotte Checkers are behind the Wolf Pack in fourth but they are heating up. The Hershey Bears, who were impressive in January have slid into fifth place.
You can view the current standings here.
Wolf Pack Upcoming Games
Hartford will have another three in three weekend coming up. The Wolf Pack have 28 games remaining on the docket. The season continues to fly by in an exciting season.
Friday, February 25th vs Springfield Thunderbirds (St. Louis) at 7:05pm, Mass Mututal Center
- This is the 10th of 12 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 4-4-1 thus far against Springfield. The final two meetings will be in Hartford on March 23rd and 25th.
- Entering Friday, Springfield is 27-14-5-2 for 61 points (.635). That ranks the group first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds are 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 games and are on a 5-0-0-1 run. Springfield played on Wednesday as they secured a 5-3 victory over Bridgeport.
- Veterans Sam Anas and Matthew Peca co-lead the Thunderbirds in points with 40. In 47 games, Anas recorded 12 goals and 28 assists. He is ranked 20th in the AHL for points. Peca registered 12 goals and 28 assists in 42 games.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Saturday, February 26th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 7pm, XL Center
- This is the eighth of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 3-3-1 thus far against Providence. This begins a home at home series against the Bruins.
- Entering Friday, Providence is 22-13-3-3 for 50 points (.610). This ranks the group second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins enter the weekend winning three straight and are 5-3-0-2 in their last 10 games.
- Experienced forward Cameron Hughes lead the Bruins in points with 29. In 37 games, Hughes recorded eight goals and 21 assists. Jesper Froden is second on the team and is inactive as he is in Boston. Veteran Steven Fogarty is second on the active roster in points with 26. Fogarty recorded eight goals and 18 assists in 33 games.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
Sunday, February 27th vs Providence Bruins (Boston) at 3:05pm, Dunkin’ Donuts Center
- This is the ninth of 10 meetings in the season series. Hartford is 8-8-3-1 on the road while Providence is 11-6-1 at home.
- The final meeting is in Providence on April 4th.
- Listen – Mixr. Watch – AHLTV.
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