Pack Win fourth Straight, 2-1 over DevilsApr 11, 2015
Oscar Lindberg’s 26th goal of the year in the second period held up as the game-winner Saturday night at the XL Center, as the Wolf Pack won its fourth straight game, a 2-1 victory over the Albany Devils.
Yann Danis stopped 25 out of 26 shots to get the victory in net for Hartford, and Chad Nehring scored the other Wolf Pack goal. Raman Hrabarenka scored the only Albany goal, and Scott Clemmensen made 21 saves.
The Wolf Pack win, the team’s eighth in the last games, combined with a 3-1 Syracuse Crunch loss in Springfield, brought the Wolf Pack (40-23-5-4, 89 pts.) to within two points of the Crunch for the Northeast Division lead.
“Peaking at the right time, or momentum, can be very fickle sometimes,” said Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander following the game. “It’s too hard to regain it if you lose it, so we’re going to try and push right through to the end here.”
The players also recognize the importance of coming into the post season firing on all cylinders.
“We’re playing very smart right now and our defensive game is way better,” said Lindberg. “We’re getting way more chances in the offensive zone as well, but it all starts in the defensive zone.”
Hartford found the back of the net on just their second shot on goal in the game. Nick Tarnasky carried the puck all the way into the high slot of the offensive zone and drew the attention of several Albany defenders. He was able to slip it across the slot to Nehring, who was driving hard to the net. Nehring let fly a wrist shot with plenty of mustard on it that sizzled over Clemmensen’s glove and rang hard off the crossbar and in. The goal came with 11:07 remaining in the period, with Tarnasky getting credit for the lone assist.
“Tarnasky gave me some room in open ice,” said Nehring of the goal. “I just kind of looked at a spot and saw a little opening, snapped it, and luckily it went in.”
Albany responded with a goal of their own at 5:27 of the second period. The Devils were cycling the puck around, confusing a Wolf Pack defense that was lagging a few seconds behind. Darcy Zajac cut a pass through the heart of the defense back up to the point where an open Hrabarenka caught it and took a huge slap shot. Danis was unable to track the puck all the way and it beat him to the stick side high to tie the game up. It was Hrabarenka’s ninth tally of the season, made possible by Zajac and Seth Helgeson.
Hartford regained their one-goal advantage with the eventual game-winner at 14:08 of the second. As the Wolf Pack moved the puck up ice into the offensive zone, Lindberg took up position below the right faceoff dot. He received a pass from Chris Bourque and waited a few seconds for things to develop, before turning and quickly firing off a low shot. Clemmensen appeared to be expecting a pass, and couldn’t stop the puck from bouncing off his pad across the goal line. It was Lindberg’s 26th goal of the year.
“I was looking for a past first, but the option wasn’t there,” Lindberg said. “I was trying to surprise him, and I think he was looking for me to pass it.”
The third period passed scoreless, with Hartford getting the majority of the chances and controlling puck possession. Albany fought hard and generated some good opportunities, but Danis stood his ground and hung tough in the face of some genuine scoring chances. With 45 seconds left Albany pulled Clemmensen who, to his credit, also turned away some quality opportunities created by the Wolf Pack. It was not enough, though, and the Wolf Pack eventually made the 2-1 lead stand up.
The Wolf Pack finish a three-game weekend Sunday at Providence, visiting the Bruins for a 3:00 PM game. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on-line at 979espn.com.
The Wolf Pack’s final regular-season home game is this Friday night, April 17, as the Wolf Pack host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:00. Fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $2 beers through the start of the second period of that game, which is also the Wolf Pack’s “Fan Appreciation Night”.
Tickets for Friday’s game, and for the Wolf Pack’s first home playoff game, are on sale at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499. Wolf Pack tickets start as low as $12 for youth 12 years old or younger.
To speak with a Wolf Pack representative about season or group tickets, or any of the Wolf Pack’s many ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.
Albany Devils 1 at Hartford Wolf Pack 2
Saturday, April 11, 2015 - XL Center
Albany 0 1 0 - 1
Hartford 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Hartford, Nehring 4 (Tarnasky), 8:53. Penalties-Scarlett Alb (interference), 3:47; Whitney Alb (hooking), 9:46.
2nd Period-2, Albany, Hrabarenka 9 (D. Zajac, Helgeson), 5:27. 3, Hartford, Lindberg 26 (Bourque, Crabb), 14:08. Penalties-McIlrath Hfd (high-sticking), 2:18; Vaive Hfd (slashing), 18:37.
3rd Period- No Scoring. Penalties-Scarlett Alb (high-sticking), 1:11; Kristo Hfd (delay of game), 7:10; Thompson Alb (interference), 15:04; Sestito Alb (kneeing), 16:45.
Shots on Goal-Albany 7-9-10-26. Hartford 6-8-9-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Albany 0 / 3; Hartford 0 / 5.
Goalies-Albany, Clemmensen 9-11-1 (23 shots-21 saves). Hartford, Danis 15-12-2 (26 shots-25 saves).
Referees-Tom Chmielewski (43), Jon McIsaac (45).
Linesmen-Luke Galvin (2), Brent Colby (7).