Earlier in the year one would have thought that the Hartford Wolf Pack would not be in the postseason this spring. It has been a good surprise to many that the team is currently tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Xl Center crowd of 5,239 was treated to an intense game with some heavy hitting physical play. Luke Adam, Tyler Brown and Shawn O’Donnell teamed up on a line that took a lot of responsibility for the hitting. They helped open up the game for a forward like Nicklas Jensen, whose three goals powered the Pack over the Pirates in over time. Jensen was acquired this past January in a trade between the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. Jensen’s offense and net presence helped provide the Pack with some much needed offense. His hat-trick came with a game winning goal by curling around the back right side of the Portland net while changing direction to catch Mike McKenna out of position. He flipped the puck over McKenna’s stick side shoulder, who had just made a save at the other side of the net and could not react in time.
The XL Center erupted at the sight of the over time goal. They had witnessed the Wolf Pack come back from two prior defecits to force over time. There is nothing like a game with playoff implications and if the Pack continue to play like they can last night they have a real legitimate shot at making a run. They have 14 games left in the season. As of today they are tied for the 8th and final playoff spot. The real challenge is going to be their final four games of the season. Those last four games are all on the road starting in Maine against these same Portland Pirates. Next the Pack travel to Canada to play in Toronto against a Marlie team that is currently 31 games over .500 and then on to a pair of back to back games to close out the season against St. John’s.
The Wolf Pack get into a back to back scrap with their I-91 rival the Springfield Falcons with a game at the XL Center tonight and a Sunday matchup at the Mass Mutual center. You can purchase tickets for tonights game at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center,. Or you can purchase them on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
The Wolf Pack look like a different team compared to early in the season, there appears to be chemistry and a hunger to win within their play. The one thing that they are missing is a consistent offense. They lack that big impact player that they had last season. Looking at the AHL top scorers their are three former Wolf Pack Players form last season in the top 50.
1st Chris Bourque
15th Chris Mueller
49th Danny Kristo
A Wolf Pack player doesnt appear on the AHL list until 55th place occupied by Chad Nehring, a second Pack player does not appear on the list until 121st, Jayson Megna. I havent even mentioned the poor power play until now.