In Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals last Saturday, Chicago Wolves center Steve Reinprecht broke his nose blocking a shot.
Four days later in Game 4, the 35-year-old veteran returned to the ice and scored two goals to help the Wolves stave off elimination.
Chalk it up as yet another episode of What Hockey Players Do For Their Team When It’s Playoff Time.
“It’s not too bad,” said Reinprecht, who scored 140 goals in 663 NHL regular-season games from 2000-10. “I’m feeling OK. It’s the playoffs. I don’t want to be watching. I want to be playing.”
Reinprecht and the Wolves, who dropped the first two games in San Antonio, will try to wrap up the reverse sweep in the decisive Game 5 at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allstate Arena in Rosemont. Tickets are available at ChicagoWolves.com and 1-800-THE-WOLVES.
The Wolves aren’t about to change their modus operandi for the game that determines which team joins Oklahoma City, Toronto and Abbotsford in the Western Conference semifinals.
“Our backs have been against the wall for a week now,” said Reinprecht, who broke his nose dropping to his knees to block a shot. “We’re in the same place. We have the same mentality.”
It’s safe to expect the third-seeded Wolves and sixth-seeded Rampage to play another nailbiter.
During the regular season, San Antonio won all four games by one goal. In the playoffs, the Wolves’ 3-1 win Wednesday night marked the first game that wasn’t decided by one goal — and that unexpected margin happened due to Tim Miller’s empty-net goal in the final minute.
Ÿ Goaltender Eddie Lack suffered the Game 1 loss when the Wolves fell 5-4 in overtime at San Antonio. Since that game, Lack has posted a 2-0 record and recorded 55 saves in 58 shots (.948 save percentage).
Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis lauded Lack on Thursday in a Vancouver Province article: “Eddie is very close. He’s definitely going to be a National Hockey League goalie at some point, he’s that good.
“We’ll watch him closely in the playoffs with Chicago — he was great (Wednesday) night — I’m just not sure he’s absolutely ready and we may not know until September.”
Ÿ Right wing Mark Mancari led the Wolves and shared eighth in the AHL with 30 regular-season goals, but Mancari has specialized in setting up scores during the playoffs. He doesn’t have any goals, but shares the AHL lead with 6 assists.
Ÿ The Wolves have played nine winner-take-all games since the franchise was founded in 1994. They’re 7-2 in such games and 5-1 when those games have been at Allstate Arena.
Ÿ The other three Western Conference quarterfinals ended with the favorite getting through. Second-seeded Toronto and fourth-seeded Abbotsford swept their series while top-seeded Oklahoma City needed four games to oust Houston. The seven-game Western Conference semifinal matchups are determined by the seeds.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.