After a successful weekend, the Devils were looking to keep the strong play alive in rematches against two teams and a familiar opponent. Well…that didn’t go so well, as the team only earned 1 out of 6 points and saw a very scary injury to an important member of the offense. Yes we still have to look back:
The week began with a visit from Syracuse, fresh off a frustrating weekend at the hands of the Devils on Saturday and the Phantoms on Sunday afternoon. And they found just the right time to channel all that energy. You know it’s going to be one of those nights when this happens just 8 seconds into the contest:
During that same sequence, the Devils found themselves on a penalty kill. And it only took 37 seconds for Mark Barberio to score for a 1-0 lead. It was quite the first period struggle, as it took the Devils till almost halfway through the period to even register a shot on goal, while already killing off 2 additional power plays. Then of course there’s Cam Janssen with the entertainment factor:
Moving on to the second period…let’s just say the operative word is ugly. To kick things off, you had fight #3 of the evening, this time Chris McKelvie stepped in the ring. Then the defensive…or more appropriately, special teams wheels…started to fall off. Dmitry Korobov and Radko Gudas would score power play goals just 37 seconds apart for a 3-0 Crunch lead. Dana Tyrell would break away shorthanded 7 minutes later and score on Keith Kinkaid make it 4-0. But wait, there’s more: J.T. Wyman would add the fourth power play goal of the night 4 minutes later to make it 5-0. And finally, to end it, Mike Angelidis would score shorthanded with 16 seconds left in the period for the touchdown…er, 6-0 advantage. The Crunch scored 5 times in the second period, on just 7 shots. And the amazing part is the Devils actually outshot them 10-7, but absolutely could get nothing past Riku Helenius. Third period saw the first goaltender call to the bullpen all season, as Jeff Frazee stepped in for the third period. Things got started in a hurry, as we had a rematch:
This was probably the only good period out of the Devils all evening. First of all, they finally kept the Crunch off the scoreboard, as Frazee went a perfect 6 for 6. But the penalties continued to pile on, and with that so did a lot of frustration, as the Devils just could not manage to get anything going. Tim Sestito would do what he does best late in the game…take a penalty, open his mouth to the referee…exit stage left. And then, just for good measure, one more bout on ice, the second of the night for McKelvie. Helenius would pitch the shutout, stopping all 24 Devil shots. In trying to find something, anything, positive, about this one…the Devils actually outshot the Crunch 24-22. Not a very good night for Kinkaid, stopping 10 of 16. As for the special teams? Ouch: 0 for 6 power play, 6 for 10 on the penalty kill.
It was back north to Glens Falls for the Devils on Friday night, facing the Phantoms for the 9th time on the season. There was a little dejavu in the first period, as the opponent got off to a fast start. Andrew Johnston scored less than 2 minutes into the game for a very early 1-0 advantage. But 39 seconds later, while on the penalty kill, the Devils just slid one past Scott Munroe (which a video review confirmed) to tie it. At the time, Darcy Zajac was credited with the shorthanded goal. Meanwhile, at almost the same time in New Jersey, his older brother Travis was scoring 40 seconds into the parent Devils game against the Flyers. But the official scorer killed off the coincidence and later gave Chris McKelvie the goal. The power play continued till about a minute later when Brandon Manning took the lead back for Adirondack. But three minutes later Harri Pesonen would retie the game. Less than 5 minutes later Rob Bordson would put the Phantoms ahead 3-2. Other than that, a rather quiet first period that saw Albany outshoot the Phantoms 13-12. No goals across during the second, but the Devils once again would outshoot their hosts 10-6, Jeff Frazee settled down nicely after a shaky first. The story of the game would occur 8 minutes into the third, on one of the more scary moments I’ve seen live since I started going to games. A collision in front of the Phantoms net caused Manning’s skate to hit the face of Mattias Tedenby. I could clearly tell right away something was very wrong when he stayed down and was hesitant to move. That’s when I saw a gush of blood hit the ice surface, you could see a red trail from the net. And to add literal insult to injury, referee Trent Knorr penalized him for goaltender interference. Things got chippy late in the game, when after a hit on Jason Akeson we had a double fight card: Tim Sestito took on Ian Slater while Zajac took on Manning. Unfortunately that was all the Devils could muster up, as the Phantoms added an empty netter with 1:15 to go to seal the deal. Not a blowout like Wednesday night, but still a frustrating loss nonetheless. Frazee played well despite the first period, stopping 27 of 30 shots. Dan Kelly added two assists.
The weekend finished with the second straight Sunday matchup with the Senators, this time on home ice. Unlike the last two games, it was the Devils who got things started in a hurry. Corbin McPherson scored just 29 seconds into the game for a 1-0 Devil lead. The lead wouldn’t last, however, thanks in part to Tim Sestito. He took a slashing penalty, then ended up with an extra unsportsmanlike conduct after being a Sestito and opening his mouth to the referee, as he normally does. Ten seconds after the call, Cole Schneider would tie the game at 1 all. Second period the Devils would dominate in shots, 14-4, but it was Binghamton who took the lead early in the period on a Louie Caporusso goal. After that both teams would settle in and it was a normal Albany struggle…they would take shot after shot but nothing goes in the net. Finally, with less than 5 minutes in regulation, the equalizer would come, off the stick of Steve Zalewski to tie it at 2. When overtime wasn’t able to settle things, it was off to the Devils’ 11th shootout of the season. Mike Sislo scored in round 1 to get things started, but he was the only successful shooter. Binghamton would match his goal in the 4th round then score again in the 6th round to snag the extra standings point and hand the Devils their 9th shootout loss on the year (is that a league record? Just curious). Keith Kinkaid was snakebitten yet again, as he had a solid day in net stopping 24 of 26 shots. Three Devils each contributed one assist.
-Andrei Loktionov took a turn on the Albany to New Jersey shuttle this week, getting the call Wednesday afternoon to fill in for an injured Dainius Zubrus. Then he returned to upstate New York Thursday after New Jersey re-acquired forward Alexei Ponikarovsky from Winnipeg, but only to return to New Jersey on Sunday, swapping spots with Jacob Josefson, who had been struggling as of late.
-Harry Young has once again returned to Albany from Kalamazoo, but this time he’s up as a defenseman. The forward conversion experiment seems to be put on hold.
-Injury update: David Wohlberg made his return to the lineup Wednesday night after sitting out the past few weeks. Jay Leach has joined the walking wounded ranks, sitting out a week to 10 days with a lower body injury. Scott Parse sat out as a precaution the last two games with his hip. And no timetable has been set for Mattias Tedenby’s return.
The Week Ahead:
3 games on tap for this week. Monday afternoon it’s a Presidents Day matinee rematch with Syracuse. Then the team is off till Saturday evening, when they make their second visit of the month to Binghamton to take on the Senators. Then it’s back one last time to Atlantic City on Sunday afternoon for a matchup with the Bears.
On a side note…on Sunday I will be making my annual trek with the Albany STHs to The Rock for the Winnipeg game!