What you need to know before the Devils and Bears square off at Giant Center tonight:
-Season: This is the 3rd of 6 meetings between the two teams this season, with Hershey up 2-0 so far. They last met back in December, playing twice in 5 days at the Times Union Center, with the Bears taking 3-2 wins on both December 3rd and 8th. After tonight, the teams meet three more times, February 4th in Atlantic City (a Albany “home” game) and February 26th and March 26th in Chocolatetown.
-Standings: Hershey currently stands in 4th place in the East Division, with a record of 23-14-1-2, good for 49 points. After last night’s loss to the Senators that stopped a 4 game winning streak, the Devils are now 17-21-0-3, good for 37 points and a 6th place standing, 2 points ahead of Syracuse.
-Leaders: The Bears are currently lead in scoring by winger and All Star starter Andrew Gordon with 36 points (18 G, 18 A), Kyle Greentree with 35 points (15 G, 20 A) and Brian Willsie with 34 points (13 G, 21 A). Braden Holtby and Dany Sabourin split time in the nets, with 10 wins for each. With Holtby recently recalled to Washington, look for Sabourin to take over till the Caps goalie health situation is resolved. On the Albany side, obviously no scoring changes since the last pregame notes…Matt Anderson is still the team leader with 27 points (15 G, 12 A), followed by Michael Swift with 26 (16 G, 10 A) and Adam Henrique with 24 (11 G, 13 A). With Jeff Frazee out with an injured knee, I don’t expect any goaltending changes. I will assume Mike McKenna will be the starter through the weekend.
-Miscellaneous: The Bears roster sports 3 former River Rats, one from the first NJ regime Sheldon Souray, and two from the Carolina regime, former captain Keith Aucoin and Joel Rechlicz. There is one former Bear however…Louis Robitaille returns to where he won a Calder Cup back in the 05-06 season. We’ll see if he’s up to any antics in his old building. And may I add the Bears are the 2 time defending Calder Cup champs (sorry for the reminder…I didn’t like mentioning it either), who are struggling with injuries and callups to Washington in the quest for a threepeat (sorry not happening this year).
Game time 7:00. I will be tweeting from my living room, following along with Josh Heller’s call on the Devils radio feed, or I may check out John Walton’s call. Or a combination of both.