Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Un-Talon-ted


The red light means you feel shame (Photo: Pack Attack)

There's almost nothing better than following your team on the road when they go into someone else's building and stomp the other team, and the Wolf Pack did just that yesterday, scoring 4 goals in the second period-- including two by Nigel Dawes-- in rolling over the Springfield Falcons in Springfield yesterday, 6-3.

Two short-handed goals-- in the first period by Lauri Korpikoski, and on an empty net by Dwight Helminen in the waning seconds of the third period-- book-ended the four-goal second period by the Wolf Pack, during which they out-shot the Falcons, 22-4. Both of Dawes' goals in the second period came on screaming, laser-like wrist shots, which even the Falcons' play-by-play guy called "a major-league shot". After a bit of a slow start since being sent down by the Rangers in mid-November, Dawes now has 5 goals in his past six games, and I find it almost hard to believe that there isn't an NHL team that could make good use of Dawes' shot right now.


Hartford L-to-R: Callahan, Dubinsky, Byers (Photo: Pack Attack)

Brad Isbister and Dane Byers scored the other two second-period goals for the Wolf Pack. Byers now has 3 goals in his last 3 games, and Isbister has 9 points (3g, 6a) in his last 8 games.

The Wolf Pack were opportunistic most of the night, doing a good job of keeping pressure on the Falcons and (as Pack Attack pointed out during the game, when he wasn't touting Bruce Graham) winning a lot of the puck-possesion battles, which led to a good amount of mini-breakaways and other scoring chances for the Pack as the game wore on.

Steve Valiquette was not at his best in net, although he was only asked to face 16 shots all night. I thought that only one or two of the saves he made showed any kind of quick reaction, though in listening to Sean Burke after the game, Burke said that Valiquette was doing what he was supposed to do: use his size and positioning to his advantage, stay deep in the net, and let the pucks hit him.


Ivan Baranka gets stoned on a breakaway (Chris Rutsch photo)

Bruce Graham was called up from Charlotte of the ECHL earlier in the day (Mark Lee ended up sitting), assisting on Dawes' first goal. Graham has 32 points (22g, 11a) in 32 games with the Checkers so far this season, and looks to be well ahead of where he was in his 25 games with the Pack last season.

With Lowell and Worcester losing each of their games, and with the division standings bunched tight, the 2 points the Pack earned last night allowed them to move up a couple of spots to fourth place in the division, only two points behind the next two teams ahead of them (Portland and Springfield).