First 3-in-3 weekend is in the books…and it was, well, all over the map. From a shootout win to a couple of deflating losses, it was an interesting weekend for the Devils to say the least. Time for a little recap:
10/14 vs Connecticut: 3-2 W (SO)
Early on not a lot of offense but a lot of physical play on both sides. Andre Deveaux got the Whale on the board late in the first on a power play tally, then rookie Carl Hagelin gave Connecticut a 2 goal lead early on in the second. Then the Devils comeback began…Joe Whitney scored his first pro goal to cut the deficit to 2-1 late in the period. Matt Anderson tied it up in the 3rd on a power play, the first for any Devil this season. Nothing doing offensively through the 3rd period and overtime…but tempers flared, leading to a fight at center ice between Brendan Bell and Tim Sestito, who was still chirping the Whale bench as he left the ice. Matt Taormina was the only player on either side to score in the shootout round as the Devils won their first of the season. Rookie Keith Kinkaid was outstanding in net, stopping 30 shots in regulation and OT and all 5 chances in the shootout to earn his first pro win and the first Devil #1 star of the season.
10/15 at Worcester: 6-1 L
First road game of the season for the Devils, and also the first New Jersey callup: With Martin Brodeur recovering from a shoulder injury, Keith Kinkaid was summoned to the big club to play doorman in Nashville behind Johan Hedberg, leaving Jeff Frazee working without a net, so to speak. Albany also had the services of Adam Henrique, down for the weekend to get some game action in. The Sharks, in their home opener, jumped to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Benn Ferriero and Matt Irwin. Vladimir Zharkov would score on a 4-on-4 situation to cut the deficit in half, but that was all the offense the Devils could provide. Former River Rat Ben Guite scored on a power play midway through the second to put the Sharks back up by 2. Then all hell started breaking loose…first a get together in the corner by the Sharks net resulted in a fight between the two Capital Region natives, Jay Leach for Albany and Nick Petrecki for Worcester (and how was the local media not all over this one is beyond me). Third period was all Sharks and more fisticuffs…rookie James Livingston scored twice (once on a power play) and Mike Connolly added another tally with the man advantage. But Matt Corrente did have a beautiful bout in the corner with Cam Macintyre and both Stephen Gionta and Tim Sestito were given the early exit after referee Jamie Koharski would not listen to their constructive criticism (or they were chirping him, take your pick). Not a good night all around…Frazee allowed all 6 goals and the Sharks were 4 for 9 on the power play, not to mention the Devils only getting a total of 16 shots on goal.
10/16 vs. Binghamton: 4-2 L
Keith Kinkaid was reassigned to Albany after 1 day with New Jersey (as was the plan), jumped off the plane and right between the pipes. If he was tired from the travel, he didn’t show it. The Devils got off to a much better start than the night before, taking a 1-0 lead halfway through the first period on a Steven Zalewski goal. But less than 2 minutes later, the B-Sens tied it up, but barely. A shot by Nikita Filatov just barely missed Kinkaid’s out stretched glove and just went over the goal line (advantage of sitting behind the goal, you see shots like that). Matt Taormina gave the Devils the lead back halfway through the second…then things got a little chippy. Tim Sestito boarded Mark Borowiecki behind the B-Sens net, earning him a 5 minute major, a game misconduct, and a near fight with former River Rat captain Tim Conboy. The hit may have awoken the Senators…or the Devils just couldn’t keep up in the third period. Derek Grant scored the tying goal just 31 seconds into the third period, then rookie Pat Cannone (who ironically is a friend/workout partner of Kinkaid’s) scored the eventual winning goal with 8 and a half minutes left in the period. And for good measure Kaspars Daugavins scored into the empty net with 44 seconds left to seal Binghamton’s first regulation win. By the way, it was also postgame autograph session day…as any Albany regular knows, the Rats/Devils usually never win on those days.
Another 3 in 3 awaits the boys this weekend, with two home matchups and one on the road. First up on Friday night is Hershey at home. The Bears have jumped out to their usual fast start with 3 out of 4 wins to begin the season. Saturday night at home Adirondack comes in for the first round of the Sestito…I mean Time Warner Cable Cup. Both Albany and Adirondack have 1 Cup win apiece since Glens Falls rejoined the league in 2009…and it doesn’t hurt to have a little sibling rivalry as well. Then on Sunday afternoon the Devils head back over the Mass Pike to Providence to face the Bruins. I will be at both Friday’s and Saturday’s games, but staying home on Sunday and doing everything from the comforts of my living room.