By David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness account checked against official information.)
HARTFORD, CT- Fresh off clinching a playoff berth the night before, the Wolf Pack took on the Albany Devils who were still looking to punch their own ticket to the post season. Hartford spent the first period on a tear, getting plenty of scoring chances and keeping the Devils from getting many of their own. About halfway through the period at 8:53 Chad Nehring knocked it into the upper right hand corner of the Albany goal to give the Wolf Pack a 1 to 0 lead. He was fed by Nick Tarnasky. That would be the end of the scoring for the period but Hartford kept the pressure on. The end of the period shots total of 7 for Albany and 6 for Hartford was very misleading as Hartford had far more quality chances.
In the second period, Nehring actually had another opportunity while the Devils were on the power play. He swept in and around the net, but Albany’s Scott Clemmensen slid a pad in front of the puck miraculously to prevent the short handed goal. At 5:27 in the period Raman Hrabarenka tied the game, when he shot the puck through the screen and over the shoulder of Wolf Pack goalie Yann Danis. He was assisted by Darcy Zajac and Seth Helgeson The Wolf Pack spent much of the second frame on the defensive unable to get an attack going and often struggling just to clear the puck, alternatively icing it. Eventually they righted the ship and evened things out. With about five minutes left in the period at 14:08, the puck was sent to Oscar Lindberg to the left of Clemmensen, Joey Crabb swept in towards the goal and Lindberg lined up a pass only to shoot instead and find the net. This would prove to be the game winner as the scoring ceased after that. Chris Bourque and Crabb picked up assists on the goal.
In period 3, the Devils once again struggled to get too much offense going, the Wolf Pack were all over their zone shooting repeatedly. What chances the Devils did get including several throughout the night from Joe Whitney, were handled by Danis and the defense. Late in the period, a pair of Devils penalties gave them less to work with. Albany pulled Clemmensen with about a minute left, but nothing came of it.
Danis made 25 saves, and Clemmensen made 21. Albany actually came away with more shots in the game 26 in all, but fewer results as the Wolf Pack had 23 shots but 2 decisive goals. It should be mentioned that Nehring and Tarnasky’s line despite being the lowest ranked, was especially effective and meddlesome all night keeping the pressure up.
The Wolf Pack travel to Providence to face the Bruins Sunday.