We have reached February and the start of the second half of the season. The Devils got to start it by embarking on a 6 game road trip through New England and Central New York, with the first two stops in Rhode Island and Maine against two very good Atlantic Division teams. And things didn’t go as planned, as only one goal was scored and no standings points earned. Looking back:
The second half and the long road trip kicked off Friday evening in Rhode Island, where Bobby Butler was just on the ice a few days earlier as an All Star participant. The Devils did kill off their lone penalty early on, but it was all Providence after that. Max Sauve and Torey Krug scored just 1:06 apart to close out the first period for a quick 2-0 Bruin lead. Providence would pad the lead to 4-0 in another short span in the second, this time 1:41 in between. Sauve would score his second of the night and Ryan Spooner would add a power play marker. The Devils had a chance to gain momentum when Cam Janssen (in his first appearance in any Albany uniform since 2006) actually skated away from a fight with the current AHL penalty minutes leader Bobby Robins. But the Bruins would of course kill it off. Albany finally got on the board in the third period on a Tim Sestito goal to make it 4-1, but Kyle MacKinnon would add a 5th goal with 3 and a half minutes to go to seal the win. It was a tough night in goal for Keith Kinkaid, as he stopped 33 of 38 Bruin shots. Brandon Burlon was the only defenseman to finish with a positive plus/minus rating (+1).
The trip continued north to Maine, as the Devils and Pirates met for the first time since the 2010-11 season. It was a fairly quiet first period on the scoresheet, but there was this:
Moving on…second period the Pirates got on the board with a Chris Conner goal just 1:22 in. Ethan Werek would add an insurance goal 7 minutes into the 3rd for a 2-0 advantage. The Devils could not get any offense going against Pirate goalie Mark Visentin, who would stop all 22 shots for the shutout, the 4th against Albany on the season. Another hard luck loss for Jeff Frazee, as he stopped 27 of 29 Portland shots. While looking for something…anything…else positive on the evening, I do have this: your team leader in shots? Jay Leach with 4. And the penalty kill did go a perfect 3 for 3.
-After appearing in two games for New Jersey and registering his first NHL assist on Thursday night, Matt Anderson was sent back to Albany on Friday afternoon.
-Finally, the anticipated Bobby Butler recall came to pass on Saturday afternoon, in between New Jersey’s 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh earlier in the day and just before Albany took the ice in Portland. He became the 8th AHL All Star since the game took place on Monday to be recalled to an NHL team.
-Chad Wiseman and Scott Parse both returned to the lineup this week after nursing various lower body injuries. This leaves David Wohlberg as the sole member of the injured list. Mattias Tedenby has yet to make an appearance since being sent down on Monday due to “soreness” but he should be back shortly. But now the team will be dealing with an influx of extra forwards, much like during the lockout.
The Week Ahead:
A very busy 4 game week awaits the Devils, all on the road as the 6 game trip finishes up. Tuesday night they make their final visit of the season to Hartford to take on the Whale. Friday night it’s back down the Mass Pike, but stopping in Springfield to take on the Falcons. Saturday it’s the other direction down Interstate 90, going to Syracuse for the first time all season to take on the Crunch. Finally it’s south down Interstate 81 to Binghamton on Sunday afternoon to face the Senators.
Note: Photo Gallery is taking a week off, since, well, I wasn’t on hand for any of the games. Road Trip/Power to the Purple Edition coming up after next week’s recap!