For the first time since Dec. 29, the Chicago Wolves' power-play unit came through with multiple goals and, for the first time this season, the Wolves stand alone atop the AHL's Midwest Division.
All-star Darren Haydar delivered 2 power-play goals as the Wolves leapfrogged Charlotte for first place with a 3-1 triumph Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
Forward Mike Duco added a career-high 3 assists for the Wolves (33-22-2-3), while deadline acquisition Andrew Gordon's first goal for the team doubled as the game-winner.
Eddie Lack (17-15-3) stopped 24 shots to earn the win.
Haydar, who has scored goals in each of the last three games, leapt over Bob Nardella for fourth place on the Wolves' all-time scoring chart. Haydar owns 103 goals and 196 assists in 256 career games with the team.
The Wolves opened the scoring with their first power-play goal in 21 chances this season against the Checkers.
Duco slid a perfect cross-ice pass to the left circle for Haydar, who one-timed a blast past Charlotte goaltender Justin Peters (6-8-1). Mark Mancari also earned an assist on the play.
Charlotte (31-20-3-5) evened the score with a short-handed goal at 11:50 of the second period. The Wolves missed a check at the offensive blue line, which set the stage for Checkers center Zac Dalpe to swoop in on a breakaway. He beat Lack glove-side with a top-shelf blast.
Gordon's go-ahead goal came at the 4:58 mark of the third. Duco led a 3-on-2 advantage into the offensive zone and slid the puck to Antoine Roussel coming down the left side. Roussel spied Gordon flying down the middle and threaded a pass that Gordon redirected off Peters' glove and across the line.
The Wolves earned an insurance goal at 9:33 when Haydar unleashed a slap shot from the top of the right circle that trickled past Peters (24 saves). Six-foot-5, 215-pound Byron Bitz aided Haydar by planting himself in front of the crease. Duco and Bitz picked up assists.
Express 2, Wings 0
Chicago Express goalie Rob Madore turned aside 26 shots for a victory over host Kalamazoo at Wings Stadium.
After a scoreless first period, Danick Paquette picked up a rebound in front of the net after a shot from Scott Wietecha was tipped by Pierre-Luc Faubert. The goal came 11:43 into the second period.
Jonathan Zion added an insurance goal 7:43 into the final period.