The Whale had two choices; get busy winning or get busy losing. The Whale had lost two tough road games in Binghamton and Albany earlier in the month. Then a week ago from Sunday they beat the Bruins behind Jason Missiaen in net. They continued on with Missiaen in net, beating Manchester 3-0 this past Saturday and beating division leader Springfield 3-2 for only the second time this season at the XL Center on Sunday.
Now the Whale has 68 points and they are tied for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Whale will play Hershey Friday night at the XL Center. The Bears also have 68 points. Albany and Manchester are right behind Hershey and the Whale with 65 points. The Whale has played one more game then Manchester and Hershey and they have played three more games then Albany has. That makes each Whale win that more important.
I keep reminding everyone that the Whale have a 5 game road trip to end the season. It makes these last few home games about as close to must wins as one can be.
The games Saturday and Sunday were won with a different Whale team then what we saw earlier in the season. This team seemed to care about every detail of play this weekend. The more pressure you put on the other team the more you create opportunities.
That's what the Whale have been doing, no one is doing a better example of that than Kelsey Tessier who had the game winning assist on a nice goal scored by defenseman Blake Parlett. Chris Kreider scored again he has been on fire since the month began scoring six goals in eight games. He has really learned how to play with Kris Newbury who still leads the team in scoring. The other goal in the Whale 3-2 win was scored by Ryan Bourque who was only in his second game back from an injury to his left wrist.
There is a goalie controversy in Hartford. The ironic part is its about the same time last year that Chad Johnson and Cam Talbot were battling for Whale goal supremacy. Talbot won out with his play and started in the playoffs last year leading the team deep into the second round last year against the Calder Cup Champions the Norfolk Admirals.
Missiaen earned his second shut out on Saturday and he currently has a 3.17 goals against average while appearing in 19 games with a 9-4-2 record.
Talbot has one shut out this season with a 2.65 goals against average while appearing in 47 games. He has a 21-24-1 record.
Who gets the start in net on Friday in what is clearly the biggest game of the season for the Whale thus far?
I think its safe to say most coaches go with the hot glove hand. That would be Missiaen who stopped all but two shots in his past two starts.
The game on Sunday was the last one in a great career for Linesman Marty Demers. The Whale gave him a nice send off at the game.