Rangers goalie prospect makes 38 saves but Wolf Pack lose playoff opener

Dylan Garand -- Photo courtesy Hartford Wolf Pack Credit: Hartford Wolf Pack

Dylan Garand, a New York Rangers goalie prospect, turned in an exceptional performance for the Hartford Wolf Pack in their Calder Cup Playoff opener on Thursday. However, it wasn’t enough for the Wolf Pack, who lost 3-1 to the Charlotte Checkers.

The Rangers’ affiliate in the American Hockey League trail 1-0 in this best-of-3 series and can be eliminated with a loss Saturday in Game 2 down in Charlotte. Including the playoffs, Charlotte has won eight of nine games against Hartford this season.

The 38 saves were a season high for Garand, who twice had 37 during the regular season. The 21-year-old made 15 saves in the first period Thursday and 13 in the the third. The Wolf Pack were badly outshot 41-23, but Garand kept them in the game until the Checkers broke through late in regulation.

Former Wolf Pack forward Will Lockwood scored the eventual game-winning goal shorthanded at 16:46 of the third after a Hartford turnover. Rasmus Asplund scored into an empty net with 26 seconds remaining after Garand was pulled for an extra attacker.

Related: Rangers prospect notebook: Noah Laba named assistant captain at Colorado College

Dylan Garand impresses but Rangers’ AHL affiliate loses Game 1 in Calder Cup Playoffs

Dylan Garand — Photo courtesy of Hartford Wolf Pack

Performing well in the playoffs is nothing new to Garand, who was New York’s fourth-round pick (No. 103) in the 2020 NHL Draft. He was 5-3 with a terrific 1.76 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and two shutouts in helping the Wolf Pack reach the Atlantic Division Finals in the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Garand won 16 games this season, besting the 13 he had as a rookie pro in 2022-23 with Hartford. He finished 16-17-5 with a 3.03 GAA, .898 save percentage and two shutouts in 39 games, splitting time with veteran Louis Domingue.

Brennan Othmann picked up his first career professional point in the postseason, when the top Rangers prospect assisted on Riley Nash’s game-opening goal on the power play 8:15 into the first period. Othmann led the Wolf Pack with six shots on goal, and was a minus-2.

Brett Berard, another top forward prospect, had three shots on goal after leading Hartford with 25 goals this season.

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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