Sound Tiger Goaltending Impressing Islanders Coaching staff
Photo courtesy of Christian Abraham / Connecticut Post
By Christian Arnold (@CA_NYHockey)
The future of the New York Islanders goaltending has been on display up in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Kevin Poulin and now Anders Nilsson have helped backstop the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to an 8-3 record to start the 2012-13 season.
Poulin has accounted for six of the wins, going 6-2 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. Nilsson just returned from an illness, but won his first two starts. He has a 2.98 goals against average and a .906 save percentage.
With the NHL still in a locked out due to ongoing CBA negotiations, the Isles coaching staff has had plenty of time to observe the play of the team’s minor league squad. And they have been impressed by what they have seen.
“For me, if you’re going to win hockey games it starts with your goaltending,” said Islander head coach Jack Capuano during a team fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. “Nilsson and Poulin have played exceptionally well. They give them a chance every single night to win a game. Their penalty kill has been outstanding and your goaltender is your best penalty killer. So for me those two guys have really played well.”
Assistant head coach Doug Weight added: “The goaltending is always an impressive thing there. We’ve done a great job of stockpiling some great goaltenders.”
Though goaltending has been a big part of Bridgeport’s success, other players have caught the eye of the Isles coaching staff.
Capuano mentioned the strong play of Brock Nelson and Nino Niederreiter, both of whom are having an outstanding start to the year. Both are tied for the team lead in goals with seven and both are in the top 10 in scoring in the American Hockey League.
“Nino’s is getting a lot of playing time,” Capuano said. “He’s playing on the top line and he’s playing in ever situation power play wise you can think of. Brock Nelson is really coming a long way, leading the team in points right now as well… It’s a good league down there. There’s no question the talent level is pretty strong and those guys are playing real well.”