Zaba debuts with shutout as Wolf Pack take Game 1


Hartford rookie goaltender Matt Zaba stood tall in his first career AHL playoff outing, pitching a 38-save shutout as the Wolf Pack dropped Worcester by a 2-0 count in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division semifinal at the XL Center on Thursday.

Zaba became the second goaltender in as many nights to post a shutout in his AHL playoff debut, as Portland’s Jhonas Enroth turned in a 28-save performance at Providence on Wednesday.

After a scoreless first period, Artem Anisimov gave the Wolf Pack all the offense they’d need with a goal at 4:19 of the second, with assists going to Dale Weise and Corey Potter. The 20-year-old Anisimov led Hartford in the regular season with 37 goals and 81 points in 80 games.

Hartford picked up an insurance marker when Dane Byers, playing in his first game since Oct. 31, lit the lamp 7:20 into the third frame. Jordan Owens and Mike Ouellette picked up the helpers.

The Sharks, who averaged a league-high 35.25 shots on goal per game during the regular season, fired 30 on Zaba through the first two periods alone. But the 24-year-old, who went 25-10-0 (2.33, .920) with two shutouts during the regular year, was up to the task.

The teams collide for Game 2 of the best-of-7 series on Saturday night in Hartford.