PORTLAND – After hitting two posts and coming up empty on three breakaways, the Hartford Wolf Pack must have begun to wonder whether it would their night Saturday.
When Hartford failed to score on three late third-period power plays, including a two-man advantage, the Wolf Pack must have been convinced the hockey gods were against them.
Bruno St. Jacques fluttering shot early in overtime only confirmed that. The Portland defenseman, in just his fourth playoff game, scored his first of the postseason to lift the Pirates to a 4-3 overtime win over Hartford in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division finals on Saturday.
Portland takes 2-1 lead in its best-of-seven series. The Pirates host Hartford tonight at 7:05.
Center Zenon Konopka outdueled Hartford’s Martin Sonnenberg on a face-off at the right circle. He got the puck back to St. Jacques, who fired a shot from the point. It floated through a crowd in front and beat Hartford goaltender Chris Holt at 2:54 of OT.
When St. Jacques realized he scored the game-winner, he did head-first slide down the ice as teammates piled on top.
With the assist, Konopka extended his streak to 21 consecutive games with a point.
Trailing, 3-2, Hartford tied the game early in the third with its third power play of the game. Alexandre Giroux fired a wrister from the lower right circle for his second the game. With Hartford’s success on the power play, the Wolf Pack appeared in fine shape late in the period. Portland’s Kent Huskins drew hooking penalty with 9:08 left. During that penalty kill, Kim Brent fell on the puck and was called for delay of game. Hartford had a two-man advantage for 1:35, but had just one shot through the first 1:10. Thomas Pock hit the post with 7:16 left.
Just when the Pirate penalty kill earned reprieve, Brent was called for slashing with 6:11 left. Hartford pressured again and got a pair of bids from Lisbon’s Greg Moore, but couldn’t break the stalemate. Moore had an assist on Hartford’s first goal.