The Wolf Pack goalie situation has been a merry go round that is revolving quicker than the one in Bushnell Park. The changes are happening due to the New York Ranger's All Star goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, being unable to play. The Pack's net minding details were already up in the air recently when New York Ranger back up goalie Martin Biron retired after being sent down to Hartford. Four different net minders have started In the Wolf Pack's first 9 games of this AHL season. Not an unusual thing to witness in the AHL but it's getting attention in New York as NHL fans learn more about their AHL rosters.
The situation will settle a little now as Lundqvist is going to start on Monday in the Rangers home opener at Madison Square Garden. The Garden has just finished a major renovation that took over three years to complete.
When Lundqvist returns, Cam Talbot will go back to work as the back up remaining in New York. Talbot who played well in Hartford, played just as well in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Talbot made 25 saves in the loss and then he made 32 saves in the Ranger's 3-2 win over the Detroit Redwings. Talbot proved himself to be a very capable back up in his first two starts in the NHL.
You know Hartford wishes him well whether you are a Whaler, Bruin, Falcon, Sound Tiger, Flyer or Wolf Pack/Whale fan. Talbot could have been wearing any color laundry and we would have all rooted for him just the same. Something that is usually impossible is to get this market to agree on one thing, it is a rare thing. That alone shows you how good Talbot was in Hartford.
Backing Talbot up for the Rangers was Jason Missiaen who has risen to new heights, after finishing up his rookie campaign in the AHL last year. Missiaen challenged for the Whale top spot last year, he put together some good strings of games but the team just fell short of making the playoffs.
Jeff Malcom, who was the goalie for NCAA Champion Yale Bull Dogs last year, has been backing up Missiaen in Hartford. When Missiaen was called up the Greenville Road Warriors starting goalie Scott Stajcer got the call up to the Pack. Malcolm would get his first start in the AHL last Friday in Albany against the Devils.
Unfortunately it wouldn't be Malcolm's first win. He stopped a penalty shot in the first period but was replaced after the second period break. Albany had scored four straight to take a 4-1 lead by the end of the second period.
The Pack would battle back getting to within one. It was a power play goal with 13 seconds left in the third, it was scored by Captain Aaron Johnson, his second of the season. Stajcer was perfect relieving Malcolm in the third period making six saves. The Pack played before a little more than two thousand fans in Albany.
On Saturday, Stajcer got the start and he backed the Pack to a 4-3 win at Hershey. The Bears got on the board first but Stajcer kept the game close. Stajcer made 20 saves on 23 shots for the win. Aaron Johnson had a goal and an assist giving him three goals and 11 points in his first 9 games with the Pack.
Danny Kristo whose been a red hot scoring machine since coming to Hartford scored a power play goal early in the third. It was his sixth goal of the season. His goal tied the game after Hershey had taken a 3-2 lead through two periods. Andrew Yogan scored the game winner a few minutes later as Hershey could not get passed Stajcer. The crowd of over 8000 went home disappointed.
Hartford has jumped out to a solid start to the season but regardless the Pack are leading the Northeast Division by only two points with 13. Springfield has 11 points this season while Bridgeport has only 3 points in the 6 games it has played.
That is the team that Hartford will host this Wednesday night. It's another "Winning Wednesday" night at the XL Center. If the team wins you get a ticket to the next game. See the Wolf Packs website for details at WWW.WOLFPACK.COM. The XL Center has a great 'HOWL-O-WEEN' promotion night planned.