Healthy top Rangers prospect helps Wolf Pack to playoff win

Brennan Othmann Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

Brennan Othmann was among several heroes for the Hartford Wolf Pack on Wednesday, helping the New York’s Rangers AHL affiliate to a 4-3 win in Game 1 of their Calder Cup Playoff series against the Providence Bruins.

Othmann’s status had been in doubt after the 21-year-old forward was knocked out of Hartford’s series-clinching 3-1 win against the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday. New York’s first-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft was shaken up after being checked from behind into the boards late in that second period. He didn’t return to the game and was questionable for the opener of this series in Providence.

But Othamnn not only played Wednesday, he assisted on Blake Hillman’s goal that gave Hartford a 2-0 lead just 5:27 into the game. Othmann now has three assists in four AHL playoff games this spring.

Another key Rangers prospect, forward Brett Berard, also assisted on Hillman’s goal and finished with two helpers on the night. A 2020 fifth-round pick, Berard leads the Wolf Pack with five points (one goal, four assists) in the postseason, including consecutive two-point games.

Related: Wolf Pack – Bruins playoff series preview

Rangers affiliate takes Game 1 of AHL playoff series on road

Tyler Pitlick – Photo Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

Tyler Pitlick broke out to lead the way for Hartford in Game 1 on Wednesday. The 32-year-old forward, who has 420 games of NHL experience including 34 with the Rangers this season, had his first three points of the postseason. He finished with a goal at 19:26 of the second period that snapped a 2-2 tie, and two assists.

Anton Blidh bookended the second intermission with a nifty backhand goal at 1:28 of the third period to make it 4-2, scoring the eventual game-winning goal with Providence getting one back with under a minute remaining and its goalie pulled for an extra attacker.

Another veteran, forward Jake Leschyshyn, scored just 1:01 into the game to give the visitors a quick early lead. Defenseman Matthew Robertson, New York’s second-round pick in 2019, picked up his first career postseason assist on the goal.

Leschyshyn finished with a goal and an assist. Victor Mancini, a fifth round pick by the Rangers in 2022 who recently signed his entry-level contract, earned his first AHL playoff point when the defenseman assisted on Pitlick’s goal.

Goalie Dylan Garand, who was outstanding in helping Hartford rally past Charlotte in a best-of-3 series, made 32 saves Wednesday. Garand is 3-1 with a 1.95 goals-against average and sparkling .945 save percentage in the 2024 postseason.

The Wolf Pack will try and put a stranglehold on this best-of-5 series when they play Game 2 in Providence on Friday.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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