Missiaen Making his Presence Felt

Last season Cam Talbot heated up like a microwave down the stretch, and ended up taking solid hold of the Whale’s number-one goaltending spot by the time the playoffs rolled around.

And lately Jason Missiaen has been making a big bid to duplicate that this spring.

Jason Missiaen

Jason Missiaen

Missiaen is on a legit hot streak now, having stopped 56 out of 58 opposition shots in wins this weekend over Manchester and Springfield.  That gives him, and the team, three consecutive victories, in which only four of 97 shots have gotten by Missiaen, which works out to a 1.34 goals-against average and a 95.9% save percentage.

The three straight winning decisions represent an AHL best for Missiaen, who had started only one of the previous 13 games, and two of the previous 18, prior to getting the call to go in the last three.  And it’s not like these were three easy cakewalks for the team, either.

The Whale have been outshot by a combined margin of 97-67 during this three-game win streak, and that includes a 13-3 third-period deficit in that department Sunday against the Falcons, who were playing their fourth game of the week, while the Whale were only playing their second.  Connecticut trailed last Sunday’s game in Providence for much of it, and even the shutout over the Monarchs left the Whale coaching staff feeling that the team could have played a lot better.  Ah, the magic of good goaltending.

And interestingly, even before these last three gems, Missiaen had quietly been putting up some real good stats, albeit in a very limited role.  The 6-8 Ontarian is now 5-0-1 in his last six decisions, and since going 2-3-0 with a 4.94 goals-against average and an 85.0% save percentage in his first seven AHL appearances, Missiaen is 7-1-2 in his last 12 games-played, with a 2.16 GAA, a 93.5% save percentage and two shutouts.

While Missiaen has been turning his season around, Chris Kreider seems to have found his scoring touch, and that’s a very welcome development for the Ranger organization.

Chris Kreider Scores Against Manchester

Chris Kreider Scores Against Manchester

When Kreider came back down to the Whale from the Rangers February 28, I know the plan was to play him in all situations, to challenge him with all kinds of responsibility and look for him to round out his game, and that seems to be exactly what has happened.  Kreider has six goals and an assist in eight games since his return and has excelled on special teams.  Three of those six goals have been power-play tallies, and another was Kreider’s first career shorthanded goal as a pro.  Kreider and his recent linemates, fellow Boston College product Benn Ferriero and team points leader Kris Newbury, had one bad defensive game, the 4-3 loss at Adirondack when they were on the ice for all four goals-against, but other than that no problems in the defensive zone, which had been an area of concern for Kreider in his previous stays in the AHL.

Word out of New York is that the Rangers, held to a total of only three goals in three consecutive losses, will be reuniting Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik on a line for their home game tonight against Carolina, in an attempt to goose the offense.  If that is not successful in illuminating some red bulbs for the parent club, I certainly would not be surprised to see the Rangers put in a call for Kreider, to see if he could carry his recent Whale roll into the NHL.

Of the six goals the Whale scored over the weekend, three came at five-on-five, and two of those were generated by the fourth line of Kyle Jean centering Andrew Carroll and Ryan Bourque.

The line of Andrew Carroll (foreground), Kyle Jean and Ryan Bourque celebrate Carroll's first goal with the Whale.

The line of Andrew Carroll (foreground), Kyle Jean and Ryan Bourque celebrate Carroll’s first goal with the Whale.

Bourque had been out of the lineup for over seven weeks, and nineteen games, before finally returning from injury Saturday, and he was really flying around.  He scored one goal in Sunday’s game and could have had another, foiled by Springfield goaltender Curtis McElhinney on a second-period breakaway.  Jean looked to be energized by his linemates’ spirited play and set up Carroll for his first Whale goal Saturday, staying with the play nicely after having a breakaway chance of his own foiled by Monarch backstop Martin Jones.  As for Carroll, he also assisted on Bourque’s goal Sunday, giving Carroll points in back-to-back games for the first time in his AHL career.




7 Responses to “Missiaen Making his Presence Felt”

  1. chris Says:

    bob i was just wondering. global spectrum runs the falcons right. and they are our biggest rivailriey. since next season they will run both teams do you think their is some possibility they might come up with some special miny plan specialized for whale/falcon games. and maybe a TV deal with Comcast. which would make sense since they are one the big TV provider in the state and own global.

  2. chris Says:

    well eaither way i think global is a good move right now. im hopeing for a steep in the right direction for hockey in hartford.

  3. chris Says:

    marty got credit for his 3rd goal tonight bob.

  4. chris Says:

    we have been hot lately bob. now adorondaic tonight. this is such a beatable team. but still a dangerous team. may i remind you of last time we played them in their barn. we should of had those 2 points and 6th place right now no question. its time to get revenge.

  5. David Durlach Says:

    Bob, Chris; anybody else out there who knows a thing or two about American League Hockey, can hopefully agree with me when I say this Thursday’s game is huge. Roy Sommer’s club the Sharks who will rest assured will come in fighting for a playoff birth, will pay a visit to the insurance capital. Having played the night before at home against Manchester. The Sharks have picked some young talent very recently to help aid in not repeating last years end of season woes. This will be the Sharks second and final visit to downtown Hartford. The Whale who won consecutive Saturday contests at the DCU Center in Downtown Worcester much earlier in the season, by pretty wide margins too if I may add. For me being a Cheshire CT native and a Clarkson University Graduate have been following hockey in Worcester for the past two seasons alongside Sharks PR and Broadcast guy Eric Lindquist (who by the way Bob, loves his broadcast perch at the DCU Center much better than way above the rafters at the XL Center) and Telegram & Gazettes (the Worcester Newspaper) Bill Ballou who follows the Sharks home and away tirelessly. He has written articles over the course of the season having to do with Worcesters struggles to put up good solid wins or numbers even against what he calls the “WhalePack” or “The team from Hartford” over the years. These are teams who used to play eight plus games a season against each other. These past two years they have only played for a combined five times and Thursday will be the sixth. It will be interesting to see if the Sharks having played the night before will show in there game. You can look at and compile all the stats you want between these two teams; but the fact of the matter really being based on the outcome of this game who wants it more, and also, more importantly who is playoff material.

  6. chris Says:

    all the games are huge at this point of the season David. i agree with you but also believe it is not just this game that is important but all of them.

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