Nathan Lawson insists that he never felt bad. He was giving up those goals, sure.
“I felt I was still playing well, like usual,” Lawson said. “I wasn’t getting bounces. It was hitting the post and going in. It was hitting me and somehow going through.”
Not much of that in this one. Two deflections. The first one was one of the few times, by Pat Bingham’s reckoning, that there was too much traffic in front of Lawson. The second one, there wasn’t much Lawson could have done.
Otherwise, the man made 43 saves.
“Yeah, but don’t be misled by the shots, even if they were accurate,” Bingham said. “I thought he saw just about everything.
“I noticed he was on top of his crease. He was really confident. … He not only made the save, but he ate it. He got us a whistle.”
On that five-on-three in the second, Jeremy Williams’ shot hit the crossbar, and Lawson started expecting the one-timers. He stopped five shots there.
Now, he has stopped 69 of 72 shots in two games.
“I felt really good. I had a really good warmup. I had a really good soccer game to start,” Lawson said. “It just carried over into the game.”
And the team came back twice. The trouble, as Rakhshani said, was they didn’t beat Chad Johnson once in the shootout, so they gave themselves absolutely no chance to get Lawson a win once he got them through 65 minutes.
“We’ve got a good group here, guys who care about winning every single night,” Rakhshani said. “They don’t care what the scoreboard says.”
Bailey took a hit in the first period, then felt a pull on a slap shot later in the first period. They’ll take a look at it Sunday, but it’s not supposed to be serious.
I’ve lost track of how many great scoring chances Olivier Labelle has in the past three games. No luck.
Lines got very mix-and-match after Bailey left. Lots of different combinations. We’ll see what they look like tomorrow, if Bailey can’t go. Doesn’t sound like any of the injured were ready to be back, either.
Bingham, who wanted his guys to shoot last night in the shootout, saw several more dekes tonight (though you hadda love the Robin Figren wind-up slapper). Bridgeport was 1-for-11 in two nights and were lucky to get a win out of that. “It’s definitely an area we need to practice,” Bingham said, “to really come to a conclusion about who’s got the best shootout moves.”
Second-biggest regular-season crowd in Hartford. Second-biggest regular-season crowd to watch a Sound Tigers game (first Nassau Coliseum game, 16,297, during the lockout; last game of the ’02 Final was also bigger, 15,132, at Rosemont, Ill.)
Klementyev declined an interview request: “No English.” He declined with better English than I speak**. We’ll get him.
Haley got a stick up in Zuccarello’s face in the third; no call. They showed the replay almost as often as the Isles showed the Minard goal in the playoffs two years ago.
Speaking of Chris Minard… Good gravy. Tomas Tatar: 2-5-7, plus-7. Two minus-5s the other way. It’s the highest-scoring game in the AHL since the Connecticut Whale weren’t even the Hartford Wolf Pack yet: They were the Binghamton Rangers, and their opponent was from Baltimore.
Edit: On another good-gravy note, how about Greg Mauldin?
Prescout. This Harju kid is apparently something else.
Portland is suddenly banged up, Chris Roy reports; Mark Parrish and Travis Turnbull could be out awhile.
Rod Gilbert made his NHL debut 50 years ago Saturday. Wow.
Joe Posnanski on setup men.
One more tomorrow, and then this long stretch ends. Deep breath.
*-Because sometimes the whale wins
**-And sometimes write