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Islanders Bits: Stocked Bridgeport Can Clinch Division Title

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This guy right here.
This guy right here.

The show goes on for several New York Islanders prospects as their AHL affiliate Bridgeport Sound Tigers are close to their first division title in 10 years.

Their magic number is down to one -- and better yet, the team they're likely to beat out for the Northeast Division crown is also their likely first-round playoff opponent.

Oh, also: That team is the Connecticut Whale, Bridgeport's in-state rival and the affiliate of the Islanders' bitter rival New York Rangers. The playoff series on the horizon could add some prenatal spice to future Battles of New York.

Bridgeport is three points ahead with three games to play -- Connecticut has just two remaining -- but Bridgeport owns the tie breaker so it would require a pointless weekend (literally) and a Whale of a weekend on the Baby Rangers' part. The Sound Tigers visit Providence tonight, while the Whale host Manchester.

As Michael Fornabaio details in the Soundin' Off blog for, the Sound Tigers' roster overfloweth with bodies. Matt Donovan, Micheal Haley and Casey Cizikas have all returned from the parent club, and there is your usual assortment of ATOs and flotsam, including Brian Rolston trade fodder Marc Cantin, recalled from the ECHL.

Cizikas might still be held out some or all of this weekend, but he'll be ready for playoffs. And here is the late goalie altercation that got Justin DiBenedetto an automatic one-game suspension.

Fornabaio also has an article at the paper proper, previewing this clinch opportunity through the perspective of the cult hero Mr. Haley, who has seen Bridgeport through thick and thin.

Also an interesting read: Mike Flannery at The Checking Line on the player/fan cruise, with some thoughts from injured goalie Anders Nilsson -- including clarification on who nicknamed him Thor.

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