Darren Haydar posted two goals and Vancouver Canucks first round pick Jordan Schroeder notched his first of the playoffs in a 3-2 Wolves win, in Game 3 in Chicago. Eddie Lack made 18 saves, including 10 in the third period as the Wolves now trail the best-of-five series 2-1.
The Wolves caught some what of a break when the Florida Panthers re-called star Rampage netminder Jacob Markstrom earlier in the day on an emergency call up, forcing the Rampage to go with Dov Grumet-Morris between the pipes. The Wolves came out early in the first and peppered the surprise starter with 11 shots in the first period, scoring on two of them. Schroeder opened the scoring as his shot deflected off Rampage defenseman Keith Seabrook and found the back of the net. With less than one minute to play in the opening frame Mark Mancari and Haydar hooked up on a Sedin-like goal as Mancari faked the shot and sent a slap-pass over to Haydar to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Chicago started the middle stanza much like they did the first period, controlling the play and getting shots on Grumet-Morris. It took the Rampage almost ten minutes to record a shot in the period, only their fifth of the game. The Wolves then found themselves in penalty trouble and the Rampage would make them pay, as young defenseman Alex Petrovic notched his professional goal on a San Antonio power play to give the Rampage some life late in the second period.
The Rampage carried that momentum over into the third but Lack – who was rarely tested in the first 40 minutes – came up big down the stretch. Bryon Bitz won a key defensive zone faceoff for the Wolves with less than a minute to play and Darren Haydar scored his second of the night into an empty net to give the Wolves a 3-1 lead. The Rampage would score to make it 3-2 with .5 seconds left, but it was too late as the Wolves would hang on to extend the series. Chicago outshot the Rampage 24-20.
Game 4 goes Wednesday night at Allstate Arena in Chicago at 5 p.m. PST. If needed Game 5 goes Friday night in Chicago at 5:30 p.m. PST. Tidbits
-Canucks first round pick Nicklas Jensen and Steven Reinprecht missed the game due to injuries. Jensen took a high hit from Petrovic in Game 2, and Reinprecht took a puck off the face early in the same game
-Bitz – just sent to the Wolves from Vancouver – and Stefan Schneider found their way into the line-up to replace the injured Wolves
-Bitz, Mancari, Bill Sweatt, Michael Davies, and Kevin Doell picked up assists for the Wolves
-Defense tandem Nolan Baumgartner and Kevin Connauton led the way in the plus/minus department for the Wolves, both with plus-2 ratings
-Mancari fired a team-high four shots on goal
-The Wolves improve to 17-10 all-time in must-win elimination games, 9-6 on home ice
-Déjà vu? Last season in the first round with the Manitoba Moose, Eddie Lack allowed five goals in Game 1, entered Game 2 in relief and stopped everything he faced, and then won Game 3. This season? Exact same
3 Stars: 1. CHI, Haydar 2. CHI, Lack, 3. SA, Grumet-Morris