Wolf Pack’s Top Line Tops Pirates
Tuesday January 20th 2009, 12:50 am

Since being put together a dozen games ago, Hartford’s top line of Brodie Dupont, Artem Anisimov and P.A. Parenteau has combined for 19 goals and 25 points.  On Monday afternoon the line struck twice to lead the Wolf Pack over the injury-depleted Portland Pirates by the final score of 3-1 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.

The two teams looked as if they had woken up late for the rare weekday matinee, failing to generate much offense in a scoreless first period.  The Wolf Pack doubled up the Pirates on the shot clock, 14-7, but neither team looked much like scoring.  That changed early in the second period.

Portland got on the board first, just 2:22 in. Pirates leading scorer Mark Mancari, one of three players chosen to represent Portland at the AHL All Star Classic this weekend, found the puck at the top of the left circle and spun around, whipping a no-look shot along the ice which somehow found its way past Wolf Pack starting goaltender Matt Zaba.

The Wolf Pack’s top line struck back with a pair of goals just over three minutes apart, starting at 12:16.  The first came from Parenteau, who briefly tied Anisimov for the team lead in goals with his 19th of the season.  Dupont carried the puck down the slot, nudging it to Anisimov in the right circle.  Anisimov then feathered a perfect cross-slot pass to Parenteau, who one-timed the puck past Pirate starter Jonas Enroth from the left circle.

Parenteau was quick to return the favor, feeding Anisimov for his 20th of the year, on the power play, at 15:09.  Parenteau, on the left half boards, fed the second-year center for a hard snap shot that overpowered Enroth from just above the hash marks.  The puck squeezed through the rookie netminder’s pads, giving Hartford the 2-1 lead which they would never surrender.

After out-shooting the Wolf Pack 8-7 in the second period, the home side went over twelve minutes into the final frame before managing their first shot on goal.  By that time Hartford already had seven of their own.  And while the Pirates would out-shoot the Pack 7-2 the rest of the way, it was the Pack that struck on the scoreboard, at 15:47.  Matthew Ford, playing his first game after being called up from Charlotte on Sunday, controlled the puck in the defensive zone and fed a long outlet pass to Mike Ouellette at the Pirate blue line.  Ouellette skated into the Pirate zone on a partial break, but a Portland defender angled him off towards the right corner, where he backhanded a centering pass towards the slot for a trailing Tom Pyatt.  Pyatt one-timed the puck into the gaping net for his ninth of the season, icing the game for the Pack.

Zaba earned the win, his seventh of the season, by stopping 21 of 22 shots, while Enroth earned himself third star honors with 27 saves.  The victory gave the Wolf Pack sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division with a 22-17-2-3 record for 49 points.

Notes:

  • Parenteau set a Wolf Pack season high with points in his eighth straight game. He has goals in four straight games and 22 points (8 goals, 14 assists) in his last 15. He currently ranks third over all in AHL scoring with 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists).
  • Anisimov has at least a point in six straight games, and has picked up 20 points (9 goals, 11 assists) in his last 14 games.  He currently ranks fourth over all in AHL scoring with 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists).
  • Parenteau and Anisimov are the only players in the top ten in AHL scoring who were not invited to the AHL All Star Classic, which takes place in Worcester this weekend.
  • Following sub-par performances on Saturday, veterans Brian Fahey and Patrick Rissmiller were healthy scratches.  Justin Soryal (unknown) and Jordan Owens (viral infection) also missed the game.  Vladimir Denisov returned to the line up on defense, while Ford and fellow call-up Mike Taylor filled in up front.
  • The Pirates were so wracked by injuries that they were only able to dress 16 of a possible 18 skaters.

Scoring:
2. Mancari (17) (Gragnani, Darche) 2:22
2. Parenteau (19) (Anisimov, Dupont) 12:16
2. Anisimov (20) (Parenteau, Dupont) 15:09 (PP)
3. Pyatt (9) (Ouellette, Ford) 15:47

Lines:
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
DiDiomete – Moore – Weise
Pyatt – Ouellette – Ford
Taylor – Sugden

Potter – Sanguinetti
Urquhart – Sauer
Denisov – Nightengale

Zaba / Wiikman

Three Stars:
1. Artem Anisimov
2. Brodie Dupont
3. Jhonas Enroth

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