Pylon It On
Hannu Pikkarainen (
Despite an off-night from Al Montoya (and when Al's off, he's OFF, like which-exit-is-Missoula-off-of-I-95 kinda off) and a overall defensive performance that was about as strong as a wet box of Kleenex, the Hartford Wolf Pack won going away over the Portland Pirates earlier tonight, 7-4.
Not only were the Pirates able to walk through a porous Hartford defense and get scoring chance after scoring chance the entire night (all four of Portland's goals were at even strength), but Hannu Pikkarainen played just about the worst single game I think I've ever seen a Pack defenseman play.
Two of Portland's goals came as a result of shoddy work by Pikkarainen. First, Simon "Turd" Ferguson (of all people) beat him to his right side, for Portland's first goal of the game. Then, Pick-yr-anus (© packattack.org) let Bobby Ryan walk right past him on his left side, while he just stood and watched the play from outside the face-off circle without even trying to recover, for Portland's third goal-- earning Pikkarainen a seat on the bench for the rest of the night. That's not even counting all of the other bungled plays and turnovers.
The official scorer had a rough night, too, as no fewer than four different scoring changes were announced either during the game or afterwards.
Messin' with the MVP (Chris Rutsch photo)
Brandon Dubinsky dominated the scoresheet for the Wolf Pack, with two goals, two assists, and a +3. Dubinsky's first goal came on a great hustle play by Greg Moore to feed Dubinsky from behind the net, and then Moore also scored a goal of his own later, on a short-handed breakaway started by Dane Byers. Moore's missed so many breakaway attempts this year that some of the fans in the second deck actually had heart attacks when the puck went in.
The Wolf Pack had a 4-2 lead at one point early in the third period, but then Portland tied the game, 4-4, on a couple of fairly soft goals let in by Montoya. The third goal was the one scored by Bobby Ryan, described earlier; and then Portland's forth goal came on a mid-range slap shot by Aaron Rome that was neither screened nor tipped in any way. Hartford then scored three unanswered goals in the game's final eight minutes.
Hugh Just-for-Men had the only fight of the game, using his college education to toss around Simon Ferguson at the 18:09 mark of the third period. Newly-signed defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti, the Rangers' first-round pick in '06, played sparingly in his first pro game but didn't look too bad. As one person pointed out, he played better than Marc Staal did during his pro debut.
Also, it was announced today that Ryan "Who Da Man" Callahan, who still leads the Wolf Pack in scoring even though he's been up with the Rangers for the past three weeks, was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team.