HARTFORD 2, WORCESTER 0
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.
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.