Another weekend in the books, another 3 in 3 completed for the Devils. This time around they earned a respectable 4 out of 6 points and didn’t lose ground in a still very tight division. Time to rewind the weekend that was:
12/2 vs. Bridgeport: 4-3 W
Probably the best game of the 3, but it didn’t start out that way. First half of the first period was all Bridgeport. Scott Howes put the visitors on the board early on, but Steve Zalewski tied it up at 1 on a power play goal. But back to back goals by Jeremy Colliton and Sean Backman put the Devils in an early 3-1 hole 11 minutes in…and saw Keith Kinkaid get the hook in favor of Jeff Frazee. That early exit may have just awakened the entire team up. Zalewski scored his second power play goal of the period about 4 minutes after the goalie switch, then a very good bout by the returning Brad Mills (more on that later) rallied the troops. The Devils outshot the Sound Tigers 20-9 (only 1 SOG allowed after Frazee entered the game) in the first. Nothing across during the second period, then the Devils completed the comeback in the third. Mike Sislo tied it up at 3 just 2 minutes into the period, then 4 minutes later Brad Mills notched the game winner. Frazee earned the win in relief, stopping all 13 shots faced. The only setback was Dan Kelly getting injured during a fight with Brett Gallant during the third.
12/3 at Bridgeport: 3-1 L
Second half of the home and home, this time in southern Connecticut. Jeff Frazee was rewarded with the start after a good showing the night before. Nothing across during the first period, shots were only 8-6 in favor of Albany. Just after the start of the second, a turnover right in front of Frazee’s net turned into a Tyler McNeely goal and a 1-0 Bridgeport lead. Third period the Devils tied it up on a Chad Wiseman goal, but Casey Cizikas notched the game winner with 6 and a half minutes left in the game. Rhett Rakhshani added an empty netter with 28 seconds left to seal the 3-1 win. All this despite the Devils outshooting Bridgeport by a near 2:1 margin (36-19). Frazee was not too bad in net, stopping 16 shots.
12/4 vs. Rochester: 4-2 W
The Devils finished off the weekend with a visit from their back in the day rivals to the west, the Amerks. Matt Taormina put the Devils on the board late in the first on a power play goal, while Keith Kinkaid (in a redemption start) stopped all 8 Rochester shots. Nothing across during the second (despite Albany taking 19 shots; Rochester took 11), other than the Devils missing out on a 5 minute power play after Maxime Legault boarded Stephen Gionta (and Brad Mills then tried to fight him). Then things got interesting in the third. The newly returned Joe Sova (in his second game since returning) gave the Devils a 2-0 lead, then Stephane Veilleux added an additional goal, making the game appear out of reach. But not so fast…Marcus Foligno and Drew Schiestel scored late to bring Rochester back within 3-2. But Matt Anderson sent one into the empty net with 6 seconds left to seal it. Despite losing a shutout chance late, Kinkaid rebounded well from Friday night’s early hook, stopping 25 of 27 shots.
A little bit of roster movement this week…Alexander Urbom and Eric Boulton were recalled on Monday to New Jersey. Urbom only stayed up for one day as insurance for Andy Greene if he couldn’t make the Devils western road trip. Boulton went right back in the lineup after finishing his conditioning stint last weekend. Brad Mills was reassigned on Wednesday after clearing waivers, and has already made an impact. Joe Sova was recalled from Kalamazoo on Saturday after Dan Kelly went down on Friday night.
On the injury front: it’s all defensemen out. Jay Leach and Matt Corrente remain out, but were slated to begin skating again this week. Dan Kelly apparently has a broken nose after the fight from Friday night, no timetable given.
Only 2 games this week, both on the road. Friday night it’s back to Rochester for a rematch with the Amerks, then a quick turnaround as it’s off to Toronto Saturday afternoon to face the Marlies. And the annual Booster Club Holiday Party with the team is on Tuesday night. I may have something up about it if I hear anything of interest.