Yeeaahhhh.... Lost Weekend
Brandon Dubinsky: Think I'm gonna crash (Chris Rutsch photo)
Seeing as I've obviously skipped over a few games since my last post, I'll try to put together some sort of late re-cap of the previous weekend's Wolf Pack games, for
All three of Hartford's games last week were against division foes, as would also have been a fourth game against Lowell on Valentine's Day that was snowed out (goddamned Cupid ruins everything). The Wolf Pack swept all three games-- a 3-0 shutout victory over Worcester on Friday (2/16), and then back-to-back, home-and-home wins against the Providence Bruins on Saturday and Sunday (2/17, 2/18). This was actually a pretty good turn-around for the Wolf Pack in the month of February, as the Pack had started the month off losing 3 out of 4 and hadn't scored more than 2 goals in any of those four games.
The Wolf Pack dominated in their 3-0 win over the Sharks, holding Worcester to only 15 shots on goal. Bryce Lampman was accidentally hit in the face with a stick past the midway point of the first period, and ended up going to the hospital to get his eye checked out. Brad Isbister scored on the ensuing 5-minute major, giving the Wolf Pack a 1-0 lead at the time. Dwight Helminen scored the second goal for the Wolf Pack, finally getting a bit of luck that has mostly eluded him this season when a rebound bounced right back onto his stick. The Pack's third goal came on a nice set-up by Dane Byers, as Byers held the puck just long enough to get the goalie out of position before passing the puck a few feet over to his right to Lauri Korpikoski, who scored.
Sharks acting all friendly and shit
Dale Purinton fought Worcester's Brad Staubitz twice, including an all-out brawl in the second period that resulted in Staubitz getting tossed from the game. Just as the two were squaring off for the second time, Staubitz grabbed Purinton by the shoulders and pulled Dale down to the ice. Staubitz could've waited for Dale to get up, but instead he started to pound his fists into Dale's back, which seemed kinda punky to me. Brandon Dubinsky then tried to help Dale out by jumping onto Staubitz from behind, earning a game misconduct for third man in. Purinton was pissed off at this point, and started blindly hammering Staubitz non-stop as soon as he was able to regain his footing, to the point where a couple of Purinton's punches even seemed to hit Dubinsky. Once he had finished Staubitz off, Purinton then waved to the crowd on his way to the penalty box.
Nigel Dawes recorded 5 shots on goal against the Sharks but otherwise seemed kinda snake-bitten, including being on the receiving end of the the best check of the game when Worcester's Justin "Dick" Kurtz plastered Dawes against the boards with a Kasparaitis-like hip check.
Francis Lessard: Come on, that's not really high-sticking, now
is it?!? (Chris Rutsch photo)
I missed the Pack's next home game-- on the 17th, against Providence-- because I was on a flight headed to South Carolina for a vacation. I had a connection in Atlanta along the way, meaning that for about an hour-and-a-half on Saturday, Atlanta was the Center of the Blogging Universe. Anyway, Hartford polished off the Bruins, 3-2, holding on to win after scoring three goals in the first period.
Brad Isbister scored twice against Providence, giving him goals in three straight games and fueling speculation afterwards that he would be the player called up to replace the fallen Brendan Shanahan, which is exactly what ended up happening. Former top pick Hugh Jessiman (ECHL: 20 games, 12 goals, 10 assists - AHL: 25 games, 1 goal, 4 assists - NHL: No Future) was called up to Hartford from Charlotte.
Ryan Callahan strikes back (Chris Rutsch photo)
Ryan Callahan scored two goals in the Pack's 4-1 win in Providence on Sunday, capping off the undefeated weekend for Hartford. Former Yalie Alex Westlund, up for a brief spell from Charlotte with Steve Valiquette still in New York, got his first start in net for the Wolf Pack, in a game that had only three minor penalties total.
Providence then shut out Portland, 4-0, on Wednesday (2/21) to move back into second place in the division, ahead of Hartford by one point (though the Pack still have 3 games in hand over Providence).
(Post title is a reference to my favorite C2D song-- not that I expect anyone to really care at this point)