|Saturday, May 25
Updated: June 4, 2:35 PM ET
Calder Cup finals: Chicago captures Cup
Game 5: Wolves 4, Sound Tigers 3, 2OT
The Wolves, the top development team of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, won the best-of-seven series in five games in front of 15,132 fans, the second-largest playoff crowd in AHL history.
Chicago, formerly of the now defunct International Hockey League, became the first team to beat three division winners en route to the AHL title.
The Wolves are the sixth AHL team to capture the Calder Cup in their first year in the league. They closed the season by winning their last nine home games.
Pasi Nurminen tied an AHL record with 15 playoff victories and won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the Calder Cup MVP. He is the first goalie to win the award since Albany's Mike Dunham and Corey Schwab shared it in 1995.
Nurminen, who played for Finland at the Salt Lake City Olympics, was 15-5 with a 1.94 goals-against average and two shutouts in the postseason.
Maltais, the Chicago captain, scored twice in the first period and completed his hat trick with a power-play goal in the second that gave the Wolves a 3-0 lead.
Bridgeport rallied to tie it with second-period goals by Trent Hunter, Jason Krog and Jason Podollan.
The Wolves' top line of Andreas Karlsson centering Maltais and Rob Brown paced Chicago's offense, combining for 26 goals and 76 points during the playoffs. Maltais led the league with 12 goals this postseason.
Game 4: Chicago 4, Bridgeport 2
Brad Tapper and Andreas Karlsson added goals to help the Wolves extend their home winning streak to eight games. Chris Armstrong and Jason Podollan scored for the Sound Tigers.
Game 5 of the best-of-7 series is Friday night in Rosemont.
Game 3: Chicago 4, Bridgeport 0
``Nurminen is a tremendous competitor,'' Wolves coach John Anderson said. ``If you don't have great goaltending, you can't win in the playoffs. When you have that kind of fire, it spreads out to the team and they want to play well for him.''
Dan Snyder, Kamil Piros, Rob Brown and Ben Simon scored to help the Wolves extend their home winning streak to seven games.
Game 4 of the best-of-7 series is Friday night in Rosemont.
Snyder opened the scoring at 13:34 of the first period, stuffing a rebound behind goalie Rick DiPietro for the Chicago forward's league-leading fifth game-winning goal of the playoffs.
Piros made it 2-0 at 4:50 of the second after Sound Tigers center Juraj Kolnik received a five-minute major penalty for high-sticking. Brown scored at 14:32 of the second, and Simon completed the scoring at 3:10 of the third period.
Game 2: Bridgeport 2, Chicago 1
Tuomainen broke a tie with a power-play goal at 9:48 of the second period, firing a shot from just inside the blue line that went over goalie Pasi Nurminen's glove.
Chicago defenseman Kirill Safronov opened the scoring late in the first period, and Bridgeport's Patrick Leahy tied it at 3:47 of the second.,
Nurminen made 28 saves for the Wolves, and Rick DiPietro stopped 15 shots for the Sound Tigers.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday night in Rosemont, Ill. Chicago opened the series Friday night with a 5-4 victory.
Game 1: Chicago 5, Bridgeport 4 OT
With goaltender Pasi Nurminen pulled in favor of an extra attacker, Nardella tallied his fifth playoff goal with three seconds to go in regulation. Karlsson, who finished with a goal and two assists, beat goaltender Rick DiPietro with 6:02 left in overtime to give his team its fifth straight victory.
Nurminen made double-digit saves in each regulation period and finished with 41 stops to raise his postseason record to 12-4. Steve Maltais collected two goals and two assists and Rob Brown, who came into the contest leading all playoff scorers with 17 assists and 21 points, added three helpers for Chicago, which improved to 3-0 in overtime games.
Trent Hunter scored twice, Jason Krog registered a goal and an assist and Juraj Kolnik chipped in three assists for Bridgeport, which will look to even the series on Saturday.
DiPietro, who came into the game with a playoff-leading 1.80 goals-against average, surrendered two goals on nine first-period shots and was unable to stop the seventh shot he faced in overtime, ending with 34 saves in defeat.