Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Prosser's winning goal, Hackett's big saves lift Aeros to 2-1 Calder Cup Finals lead

Posted by: Michael Russo under On the road, Wild off-season news Updated: June 1, 2011 - 10:49 PM

Elk River native Nate Prosser scored the eventual winning goal and Matt Hackett made 28 saves to put the Houston Aeros two wins from their second Calder Cup championship in franchise history.

Jon DiSalvatore scored a goal and assist and Patrick O'Sullivan had two assists.

I'll tell you what, at the end of the day (as Doug Risebrough used to say), a great Wild trade by this regime may go down as Anton Khudobin to Boston for Mikko Lehtonen and Jeff Penner.

Penner isn't in Houston's lineup.

Lehtonen doesn't even seem to want to play in the NHL, as evidenced by his KHL signing.

Khudobin may eventually wind up in the NHL.

Doesn't matter. Without that trade, Hackett doesn't win 14 Calder Cup playoff games and counting. Obviously, the Wild can't claim to have known its AHL franchise would go on to be two wins from a league championship, but the Wild made that trade for the sole purpose to hand over the goaltending reins to Hackett.

If Lehtonen comes over and turns out to be a player, bonus (the Wild still owns his rights even though he's not coming right now).

But that late-regular season run by Hackett and this Calder Cup playoff run by Hackett could prove to be invaluable experience for the goaltender's development.

Game 4 is Friday, with Game 5 Saturday -- both in Binghamton.

Couple good tweets from theahl tonight that I'll update, but:

Sens' top line has 2 pts thru first 180 minutes of series after 64 in the first three rounds.

Binghamton entered the Calder Cup Finals averaging 3.94 goals per game, but has been held to 4 goals in first 9 periods by Houston.

Here's the boxscore

Here's the recap from the Aeros:

CALDER CUP FINALS GAME 3 POSTGAME REPORT
JUNE 1, 2011: HOU 2, BNG 1

BINGHAMTON, New York --- Jon DiSalvatore had a goal and an assist and Nate Prosser scored the game-winner as the Houston Aeros defeated the Binghamton Senators 2-1 in Game 3 of the 2011 Calder Cup Finals before 4,710 fans at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena on Wednesday night.

The victory gave the Aeros a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series. Games 4 and 5 are set for Friday and Saturday in Binghamton, both at 6:05 p.m. CST.

Patrick O’Sullivan assisted on both Houston goals while goaltender Matt Hackett made 28 saves in the victory, including 13 in the final 20 minutes.

DiSalvatore, the Houston captain, jammed home his sixth postseason goal and first of the series just 68 seconds into the game. Chad Rau and Patrick O’Sullivan assisted to give the Aeros their first 1-0 lead of the series.

Prosser made it a 2-0 game at 12:51 of the second period when he snapped home a loose puck from the bottom of the right circle for his second postseason tally.

Binghamton’s Ryan Keller cut the Houston lead to one goal with a power play tally 2:52 into the third period, but Hackett and the Aeros defense were able to weather the 14-shot storm.

Senators goaltender Robin Lehner stopped 28 of 30 in the loss.

BOMB DROPPINGS
DiSalvatore’s goal at 1:08 of the first was the quickest goal the Aeros have scored from the start of a game in the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs…. Houston took a 1-0 lead into the second period for the second time this playoff season and is now 4-0 overall when leading after the first 20 minutes... The Aeros posted a 10-2-0-2 record during the regular season when doing leading 1-0 after one period and were 26-6-0-3 overall when leading after the first… DiSalvatore notched his third multi-point game of the playoffs while O’Sullivan had his fifth… DiSalvatore has scored five of his six playoff goals on the road…Hackett improved to 6-4 away from home.

AEROS STARTERS
F – Gillies, Ortmeyer, Peters
D – Noreau, Bagnall
G - Hackett

AEROS SCRATCHES
Fraser, Penner, Lofquist, Foucault, Bulmer, Campbell, Fredheim, Morency, Buck, Kassian, Broda, Cuma

NEXT GAME
Calder Cup Finals – Game 4
Fri, June 3, 6:05 p.m. (CST)
at Binghamton

DECIDING GOAL
Prosser (12:51, 2nd)

POWER PLAYS
HOU: 0/3
BNG: 1/3

GOALIES
HOU: Hackett (28/29, W)
BNG Lehner (28/30, L)

SERIES
HOU leads 2-1
 

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