After celebrating Thanksgiving, the Devils were right back to work over the weekend, with their first 3-in-3 of the season, in 3 different venues. The special teams and offensive struggles continued, as they were only able to take 1 out of 6 points and fell further behind the pack. Looking back on the weekend that was:
The post Thanksgiving swing began west on the New York State Thruway in Rochester. And it was clear in the first period who got over the holiday hangover first. Rookie Brian Flynn scored twice (the second on a power play goal) in the period for a 2-0 Amerk lead, and Albany was outshot 13-6. Second period the Devils started to wake up a little, outshooting their hosts 17-8. But it was only Steve Zalewski who found the back of the net, finally getting in the goal column for the first time this season to cut the deficit in half. But T.J. Brennan snagged a shorthanded goal late in the period to put the Amerks lead back at 2. Brennan added a second shorthanded goal early in the third to put the game away. Raman Hrabarenka scored his first pro goal a short time later to get to 4-2, but that’s all the Devils could do. Flynn finished off the hat trick with an empty netter late to seal the victory for Rochester. Jeff Frazee stopped 26 of 30 in the loss, while four players each contributed an assist. And the power play struggles continued on…0 for 5 with the man advantage and two short handed goals allowed.
Finally back home for the first time in 12 days, the Devils had a daunting task…defeat a Crunch team that had yet to register a regulation loss on the road. Cory Conacher gave the Crunch a 1-0 lead in the first, and despite 3 power play chances, the Devils could not get the equalizer. Not many scoring chances during the first, though…the Devils outshot Syracuse 6-4. Second period saw another Devil get the no goal monkey off his back, as Joe Whitney broke away and scored his first of the season to tie the game at 1. Sadly, that was all the offense the Devils could muster against the Crunch. Tyler Johnson broke the tie halfway through the second period, then Alex Killorn made it a two goal lead just under three minutes later. Richard Panik added to the lead 8 minutes into the third period, and the Devils just didn’t have an answer. Keith Kinkaid, getting his first start since a shootout loss in St. John’s, stopped 21 of 25 shots. Adam Henrique had the lone assist on the day, and special teams continued to slump, going 0 for 3 on the power play, but a perfect 5 for 5 penalty kill.
To finish out the weekend, the Devils made their first trip of four to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for a “home” game against the Penguins. The game also marked the season debut of defenseman Eric Gelinas, his first action since getting injured preseason in Binghamton. Mattias Tedenby got the home team off on the right foot by scoring halfway through the first. Then the seesaw battle began. Tom Kuhnhackl and Brian Gibbons scored less than 3 minutes apart to put the Pens on top. Bobby Butler then retied it with–gasp!–a power play goal. But the Pens barely escaped the first with the lead as Trevor Smith scored on a delayed penalty with one second left on the clock for a 3-2 advantage. Adam Henrique retied the game with just under 7 minutes left in the second period, then Jacob Josefson broke the tie with a short handed tally halfway through the period. But the Penguins weren’t quite done yet. Less than two minutes after the Devils re-took the lead, Kuhnhackl scored his second of the game to tie the game up at 4. That’s how it would stay for the rest of regulation and overtime. In the shootout, the Devils one on one struggles continued, as Tedenby, Matt Anderson, Joe Whitney, Butler, and Josefson could not get it past Pens goalie Brad Thiessen. It took a 5th round goal from rookie Jayson Megna to give the Penguins the extra point. Keith Kinkaid stopped 31 of 35 shots in the loss. The positive spin from this game was the penalty kill, who went a perfect 8 for 8 on the afternoon.
-The injury list is starting to get a little smaller. As mentioned earlier, Eric Gelinas finally got back in the lineup earlier today after being out since early October. Kelly Zajac is a little closer to returning, as he has finally arrived to start practicing with the team. J.S. Berube remains the only one out indefinitely, while Dan Kelly sat out the weekend with an unknown ailment.
The Week Ahead:
Much lighter schedule for the Devils this week, with only two games. Friday night St. John’s makes their first ever visit to the Times Union Center. Then it’s back to Glens Falls on Saturday for Game 4 of the Time Warner Cable Cup series with Adirondack.
On an off ice note, I’ll be doing a couple of Booster Club activities with the team next week. Sunday is the annual Bowlathon for charity, followed two days later by another annual event, the Holiday Party. I may have an extra photo gallery up along with my usual game photos, probably mid-week next week.