Shoot Out The Devils
Dane Byers (Chris Rutsch photo)
Prior to tonight's game against the Lowell Devils, the Hartford Wolf Pack had lost every one of their previous three home games against Lowell this season, managing to hold the lead for a total of only 2:54 over those three games. Hartford didn't hold the lead at all during tonight's game, but still managed to get the job done, coming back from a 2-0 deficit to win, 3-2, after an overtime shootout.
The Devils were more physical than the Wolf Pack in the first period, winning most of the possesion battles while building a 2-0 lead. Dane Byers did about all he could do defensively, short of getting a penalty, on the Devils' first goal, but Petr Vrana somehow fought through Byers' check and was able to shoot the puck into a net that had been left fairly wide open by Al Montoya.
Lowell's second goal of the first period came when a shot by Tomas Harant clanged off the left post towards Montoya, then banked off Montoya's leg before wobbling its way onto the goal line. Before anyone on the Wolf Pack could knock the puck away, Nicklas Bergfors lunged in to slap the puck into the net.
Hartford got one back in the second period, when Dane Byers and Ryan Callahan did a good job of digging the puck away from the end boards behind the Lowell net, setting up Jarkko Immonen for a quick shot from directly in front of Devils goalie Jordan Parise. Two more Lowell shots rang a post in the second period, but each one stayed out.
Marvin Degon played a really good game for the Pack tonight, breaking up a couple of odd-man-rush scoring opportunities of Lowell's while handing out a couple of bruising checks also, and it was Degon's long shot from the blueline that tied the game, 2-2, midway through the third period.
Montoya then saved the Wolf Pack's bacon a number of times throughout the latter part of the third period and then during the ensuing overtime period, stopping a number of point-blank shots and some otherwise good chances by the Devils.
Dwight Helminen's winning shootout tally (Chris Rutsch photo)
Ryan Callahan and Dwight Helminen then scored in the shootout for Hartford, with Montoya stopping 4 of the 5 Lowell shooters to earn the win for the Wolf Pack. Referee Francois St. Laurent seemed to be a bit off during the shootout-- first, by making Callahan wait an extra 10 - 15 seconds for no apparent reason before allowing Callahan to begin his attempt, and then waiting another 10 seconds or so after Montoya's final stop (against Stephen Gionta) before signaling that the shootout was over and the Wolf Pack had won.
Nigel Dawes was scratched for this game, though I wasn't able to find out why. Alex Bourret played, after finding himself in Schoenfeld's doghouse and being benched for 2/3rds of a period in the previous night's loss in Worcester, and Bourret was even one of the Wolf Pack shooters during the shootout.
Some Mötley Crüe "Shout At The Devil"-type action