BRIDGEPORT -- A dominant first half had Nino Niederreiter among the AHL's scoring leaders and had some people wondering why he wasn't getting a look with the New York Islanders.
Since then, points haven't come as often for him, like they haven't come for the rest of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
"Right now it's like you're working hard, but you just don't get something out of it," Niederreiter said. "It's like, just, luck's not on your side right now. I know, if you work hard, it has to come back to you."
He was involved offensively in Sunday's game against the Connecticut Whale; he knew just how involved, statistically, in fact.
"The beginning of the season, luck was on my side," Niederreiter said. "Last game, seven shots, none went in."
More were going in earlier. Bridgeport beat Albany in Atlantic City, N.J., on Jan. 13 as the Islanders opened camp on Long Island; Niederreiter scored two goals and was among the top six scorers in the AHL with 36 points in 37 games.
In 17 games since, he has four points, including three goals. He remains Bridgeport's leading scorer, but he went into Tuesday 25th in the league.
"He's (had) shifts where I kind of jump out of my seat, like, `wow,'" Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said.
"At times, there's still so much to work on. It's finding that consistency. Points are one thing. I just want consistency. If you do that, you're going to get rewarded."
It's not just Niederreiter. Bridgeport has scored more than three goals just once in the past nine games; that's its only win in that time. The power play hasn't scored in those nine games, either.
"We've got to get back to shots to the net and getting net-front presence," Niederreiter said. "If the puck gets through, there's a good chance it's going in the net."
Pellerin said he has seen progress from Niederreiter in other areas: defensively, battling for pucks, putting himself in position to score.
"At the end of the day, I know I'm working hard," Niederreiter said. "That's all you can do. Obviously, I would like to get a chance to be on top. That's something I can't control. We've got 21 games left. We have to fight for a playoff spot."
DEADLINE DAY: The AHL announced Tuesday that it will not operate with a "Clear Day" deadline as it has in the past, as the (Harrisburg, Pa.) Patriot-News first reported. Instead, there will be an AHL trade deadline on April 10, seven days after the NHL deadline, and playoff teams will have to submit their roster for playoff eligibility by 3 p.m. on the day after the regular season ends.
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Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Manchester Monarchs
WHEN: Wednesday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, N.H.
RECORDS: Bridgeport 23-24-4-4; Manchester 26-24-3-3
SEASON SERIES: Bridgeport leads 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Manchester won 3-2 Feb. 23 at Bridgeport.
ABOUT THE SOUND TIGERS: Bridgeport went into Tuesday seven points out of playoff position. ... LW Nino Niederreiter still leads the team at 22-18-40. ... D Nathan McIver is 1-3-4 in the past three games, his first career three-game scoring streak. ... The power play is 0-for-37 in the past nine-plus games, a team record.
ABOUT THE MONARCHS: Manchester is 4-0-1-0 in the past five. ... C Linden Vey leads the team at 15-34-49. ... RW Tyler Toffoli is 27-19-46; he's 6-5-11 in the past eight games. ... G Martin Jones has made 11 consecutive starts with former Sound Tigers G Peter Mannino out injured.
UP NEXT: Friday at Albany, 7 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO