Monday Afternoon Update

Two news items to pass along:

-As expected (because who else came close?), Bobby Butler was named the AHL’s Player of the Week for the week of December 10-16th. All he did was score 6 goals and contribute 1 assist in 3 games this week, including a 4 goal outburst against the Penguins on Wednesday night.

-And check out this week’s Talking Red podcast. Not just because, well, I’m in it…but anyway, thanks to David and E.J. for having me come on the show. Even though my mind drew a blank on a couple of questions (public speaking has never been a strength of mine).

Photo Gallery: December 12-15

No, that pile of pucks isn't all of Bobby Butler's goals.
No, that pile of pucks isn’t all of Bobby Butler’s goals.
Jeff Frazee
Jeff Frazee
Darcy Zajac (before all hell started breaking loose)
Darcy Zajac (before all hell started breaking loose)
Did manage to get a fight shot in, of Zajac vs. Uher.
Did manage to get a fight shot in, of Zajac vs. Uher.
Jacob Josefson
Jacob Josefson
Raman Hrabarenka (his only appearance on ice this week)
Raman Hrabarenka (his only appearance on ice this week)
Jeff Frazee (and his new goalie pads)
Jeff Frazee (and his new goalie pads)
Bobby Butler and Brandon Burlon
Bobby Butler and Brandon Burlon

Inching Upward…

Coming off the weekend sweep, the Devils looked to continue their season long winning streak with two home games and a quick road trip. And they managed to do that, extending the streak to 5 before a season-long problem came back to haunt them yet again. Looking back on a fairly good week:

12/12 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 6-3 W

Times Union
The Citizens Voice

To mark 12-12-12, the Devils played host for the second time this season to the Penguins, this time in Albany (the first matchup, if you recall, was in Atlantic City in November). The Penguins dominated most of the first period, outshooting the Devils 11-5 and taking the lead halfway through the period on a Riley Holzapfel goal. But with just over 2 minutes remaining, Bobby Butler tied it up at 1. That would not be the last we would be seeing of Mr. Butler, not by a long shot. Second period was probably the best period of the season for the Devils thus far, as they outshot Wilkes-Barre 13-9 and scored 3 times. Harri Pesonen started the period on a good note with his second goal of the season just 1:03 in. 45 seconds later Butler scored his second of the night for a 3-1 lead. Brian Dumoulin would cut the lead back to 3-2 about two minutes later. Five minutes later, with Dan Kelly in the box, Butler broke away short handed and finished off the hat trick (the first by an A-Devil since Joe Whitney in Springfield back in January) for a 4-2 lead. Then the fun and games began, with the first bout of the evening between Kelly and Eric Tangradi. Jayson Megna would cut the Devil lead again to 1…then came a wild third period. Just 21 seconds in, Darcy Zajac took on Pens rookie Bobby Farnham. Steve Zalewski added just his second goal of the season two minutes later for a 5-3 lead. Then for good measure Butler added goal #4, virtually doubling his season output in one game, to put the Devils up 6-3. After that…it turned into fight night at the Times Union Center. First on the card, Zalewski (who I do not recall ever fighting, at least while in a Devils uniform) taking on Dominik Uher. Peace was then restored…for 10:05. With 4 minutes to go, Zajac and Uher went for a round. A little more than three minutes later…more fisticuffs as Chris McKelvie and Tim Sestito each had a fight behind the Wilkes-Barre net. Then to top off the night, Farnham slashes a Devil prior to a faceoff and starts chirping. He gets shown the door, but then for good measure Kelly and Warren Peters start up fight #7. Finally everyone settled down, and the Devils held on for their 4th straight win. Lost in all the fights and Butler’s goals was another good night for Keith Kinkaid, as he stopped 24 of 27 shots. Joe Whitney, Jacob Josefson, and Zalewski each contributed two assists, while Butler assisted on another goal for a 5 point evening, the first Albany non-River Rat to accomplish that. Another strong night for the penalty kill, going a perfect 5 for 5 (and we won’t address the 0 for 7 power play).

12/14 at Connecticut: 4-3 W

Times Union
Hartford Courant

The Devils hit the road to Hartford on Friday for their second matchup in 6 days against the Whale. Unlike in Sunday’s matchup, it was Connecticut who got on the board in the first period, on a Ryan Bourque goal 7 minutes into the game. Albany did manage to outshoot their hosts 8-5. It was all Devils in the second period, as they scored three times on Cam Talbot and outshot the Whale 17-5. Tim Sestito tied the game at 1 just 1:35 into the second. Then with Brandon Segal serving a tripping call, his teammate Kris Newbury just slid the puck past Keith Kinkaid to give Connecticut a 2-1 lead. But just 18 seconds later, Eric Gelinas scored his first of the year (yes, you read that right, it was a power play goal) to retie the game at 2. A little over 3 minutes later, Jacob Josefson and Mike Sislo were called for penalties just 17 seconds apart…and the Whale took advantage, retaking a 3-2 lead on a Christian Thomas goal. But to seal the period, Bobby Butler scored his 5th goal in 2 games with 2 and a half minutes to go to tie the game yet again. Third period was basically uneventful…until the last 2:30 of the contest. Harri Pesonen broke away and scored with 2:19 on the clock for a 4-3 Devil lead. Kinkaid shut the door after that, and there’s your fifth win in a row. Overall the Devils outshot Connecticut 32-18. Kinkaid stopped 15 shots to pick up his sixth win of the season. Jacob Josefson and Mattias Tedenby each contributed two assists.

12/15 vs. Providence: 2-1 L (SO)

Times Union
Providence Bruins

To finish the week off, the Devils hosted Providence, a team just as hot with a 4 game winning streak of their own. Albany wasted a great chance to get ahead during the first, wasting a four minute power play halfway through the period. Then they found themselves in a 1-0 hole on a Zach Trotman goal. Second period Providence may have outshot the Devils 13-8, but once again it was Bobby Butler stepping up, tying the game at 1 on…gasp!…a power play. It was his sixth goal of the week, putting him in serious league Player of the Week consideration. After that the goalies took over, as both Jeff Frazee (in his first appearance since November 30th) and Michael Hutchinson kept both teams off the scoreboard. The Devils had several opportunities late in the third period to break the tie, getting three power play opportunities, including a 4 on 3 for the first 1:47 of overtime. But they were not able to come up with the winning goal. It was then on to the shootout, which has been the Devils worst enemy all season at a staggering 0 for 5. It looked good early on, as Mattias Tedenby and Mike Sislo scored in the first three rounds. But Frazee gave up two in the first three rounds as well, to Chris Bourque and Jamie Tardif. Then it became a game of who would crack first, as the teams went five rounds without anyone scoring. In the 9th round, David Warsofsky finally solved Frazee, giving the Bruins a 3-2 SO lead. It was all up to Stephen Gionta to keep the round going…and he shot right into Hutchinson’s pads, sealing shootout loss #6 and stopping the win streak at 5. Frazee played well for his first game in two weeks, stopping 27 of 28 shots in yet another hard luck loss. Adam Larsson and Joe Whitney had the lone assists. A good night for the penalty kill yet again, going 3 for 3. But the power play? A lot of wasted chances in going 1 for 8, lowering the league worst power play percentage to 9 percent.

Notes:

-Early Saturday afternoon, the Devils announced that defenseman Matt Corrente is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery on Friday. It’s yet another injury blow to Corrente, who apparently was hurt Sunday afternoon in Connecticut after tangling with the Whale’s Micheal Haley. He only appeared in 11 games, registering 2 assists and 32 penalty minutes. He has not played a full season since 2008-09, his first season in Lowell.

-As for the rest of the walking wounded: Jay Leach sat out the week with a lower body injury, he had mentioned during the team’s STH Holiday Skate on Monday he expected to be back for the pre-Christmas road trip, but in reality he will not be back in the lineup till after the holiday. Raman Hrabarenka (foot) did warm up on Friday in Hartford, but he did not play in either game this week. We’ll see if he goes on the road trip or not. Stephen Gionta returned to the lineup on Saturday, while the other #22, J.S. Berube, is still considered out indefinitely. Adam Henrique (thumb) may return in early January.

The Week Ahead:

The Devils finish off the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a 3 game road trip. Wednesday night they make their first visit of the season to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers. Then it’s due south to Norfolk on Friday and Saturday night to take on a struggling Admirals team before the Christmas break.

Game 23: Albany vs. Providence

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Providence leads 1-0.

Standings:

Providence: 13-8-0-2, 28 points, tied for 1st place in Atlantic Division

Albany: 9-8-0-5, 23 points, 4th place in Northeast Division

Stats:

Providence Bruins

Leading Scorers:

Chris Bourque, 20 points (2 G, 18 A)
Jamie Tardif, 17 points (14 G, 3 A)
Ryan Spooner, 16 points (6 G, 10 A)

Goaltending:

Niklas Svedberg, 11-4-1, 2.38 GAA
Michael Hutchinson, 2-4-1, 3.02 GAA

Albany Devils

Leading Scorers:

Jacob Josefson, 16 points (8 G, 8 A)
Bobby Butler, 14 points (9 G, 5 A)
Joe Whitney, 12 points (4 G, 8 A)

Goaltending:

Jeff Frazee, 3-3-2, 2.22 GAA
Keith Kinkaid, 6-5-3, 2.39 GAA

Radio: AHL Live

Twitter:

@trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @AHLBruins

Game 22: Albany at Connecticut

Location: XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Hartford, CT.

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Connecticut leads 2-1.

Standings:

Albany: 8-8-0-5, 21 points, tied for 4th place in Northeast Division

Connecticut: 11-11-2-0, 24 points, tied for 2nd place in Northeast Division

Stats:

Albany Devils

Leading Scorers:

Jacob Josefson, 14 points (8 G, 6 A)
Bobby Butler, 13 points (8 G, 5 A)
Joe Whitney, 12 points (4 G, 8 A)

Goaltending:

Jeff Frazee, 3-3-2, 2.22 GAA
Keith Kinkaid, 5-5-3, 2.35 GAA

Connecticut Whale

Leading Scorers:

Kris Newbury, 21 points (7 G, 14 A)
Chad Kolarik, 18 points (9 G, 9 A)
Marek Hrivik, 15 points (2 G, 13 A)

Goaltending:

Cam Talbot, 9-8-0, 2.74 GAA
Jason Missiaen, 2-3-0, 4.94 GAA

Radio: AHL Live, WCCC 106.9 FM

Twitter:

@trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @CTWhale

Game 21: Albany vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Location: Times Union Center, Albany, NY.

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM.

Season Series: Wilkes-Barre leads 1-0.

Standings:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton: 13-7-1-1, 28 points, tied for 2nd place in East Division

Albany: 7-8-0-5, 19 points, 5th place in Northeast Division

Stats:

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Leading Scorers:

Beau Bennett, 19 points (5 G, 14 A)
2 players tied with 16 points each

Goaltending:

Jeff Zatkoff, 10-6-0, 2.00 GAA
Brad Thiessen, 3-2-1, 3.17 GAA

Albany Devils

Leading Scorers:

Jacob Josefson, 12 points (8 G, 4 A)
Adam Larsson, 11 points (2 G, 9 A)
Joe Whitney, 10 points (4 G, 6 A)

Goaltending:

Jeff Frazee, 3-3-2, 2.22 GAA
Keith Kinkaid, 4-5-3, 2.30 GAA

Radio: AHL Live, WDMT 102.3 FM

Twitter:

@trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @nafsnep, @WBSPenguins

Photo Gallery: December Off-Ice Events

Photos from the Booster Club Bowlathon 12/2/12; Booster Club Holiday Party 12/4/12; and STH Holiday Skate 12/10/12.

(L to R) Mike Hoeffel, Harri Pesonen, Scott Parse, Raman Hrabarenka
(L to R) Mike Hoeffel, Harri Pesonen, Scott Parse, Raman Hrabarenka
Tim Sestito teaching his daughter some skills...
Tim Sestito teaching his daughter some skills…
Darcy Zajac
Darcy Zajac
Just hanging out at the holiday party...
Just hanging out at the holiday party…
Brandon Burlon and David Wohlberg
Brandon Burlon and David Wohlberg
Mattias Tedenby and Adam Larsson
Mattias Tedenby and Adam Larsson
Bobby Butler and Matt Anderson
Bobby Butler and Matt Anderson
Joe Whitney (aka the Christmas Elf)
Joe Whitney (aka the Christmas Elf)
Adam Larsson watching...(Harri Pesonen behind him)
Adam Larsson watching…(Harri Pesonen behind him)
Mattias Tedenby
Mattias Tedenby
Eric Gelinas, Mike Sislo, Chris McKelvie
Eric Gelinas, Mike Sislo, Chris McKelvie

Divisional Breakthrough

After a big win in Adirondack last weekend, the Devils got some well deserved rest. Along with two off ice events, there were only two games on the schedule this week, against two divisional rivals in Bridgeport and Connecticut. And the Devils answered the bell, taking both weekend games and starting to inch closer to getting out of the basement. Now to recap the last two days:

12/8 vs. Bridgeport: 3-1 W

Times Union
Connecticut Post

The weekend started off with the first matchup of the year against division rival Bridgeport. The Devils had a great opportunity early on to get ahead, drawing a 1:35 5 on 3 early in the first period. And it appeared so when Mattias Tedenby sent a shot off the net that appeared to cross the goal line. But a video review denied the goal, hence the power outage continued on. Albany made up for that later in the period as Joe Whitney redirected an Adam Larsson shot from the blue line for a 1-0 advantage. Defensively it wasn’t a bad first period either, as the Sound Tigers only managed 3 shots on Keith Kinkaid and the lone Albany penalty was killed off. Second period the Devils got a second 5 on 3 chance…and this time they finally cashed in. Bobby Butler scored his fourth of the year 43 seconds in for a 2-0 lead. Chad Wiseman made it a 3-0 lead 7 minutes later, with Stephen Gionta notching an assist in his first game back. The penalty kill got a test–and passed it–during the third after Jacob Josefson drew a boarding major and Adam Larsson took a 10 minute misconduct for his involvement after the play (or the fact he couldn’t get through his first AHL fight, it wasn’t pretty). Nino Niederreiter broke up Kinkaid’s bid for a second shutout with just 2:07 remaining to make it a 3-1 game. It was the only blemish on Kinkaid’s game all afternoon, as he stopped the other 22 Sound Tiger shots to pick up his third win of the season and #2 star honors. Another strong day for the penalty killers as well, going 4 for 4 against a team who ranked third in the league in power play percentage.

12/9 at Connecticut: 1-0 W

Times Union
Hartford Courant

Sunday afternoon the Devils headed southeast to Hartford to take on the Whale, a team coming off a 9-2 thrashing at the hands of Manchester the night before. Unlike the day before, when Keith Kinkaid barely had to break a sweat during the first half of the day, he was tested during the first as the Whale outshot Albany 12-6. Second period was all Devils, as they outshot Connecticut 15-6, capped off by Joe Whitney’s 4th goal of the season with just over 13 minutes to go in the period. And the one goal, which normally dooms Albany, turned out to be all Kinkaid needed. Much like the first period, the Whale again outshot the Devils 12-6 during the third, but Kinkaid stopped all 12 shots. He finished with 30 saves and his second shutout of the season, capping off a very good weekend for him. Bobby Butler got the lone assist on Whitney’s goal.

Notes:

-The weekend sweep gave Albany its first multi game win streak of the season, now up to 3 games. And it was a perfect weekend for the penalty kill, ranked 9th in the league at the start of the day, going 8 for 8. Now about that power play…sure they went 1 for 7 over the two games, but it is still ranked 30th at 8.8 percent.

-Cross another player off the injured list, as Dan Kelly returned to the lineup Saturday night for the first time since November 10th. That leaves Adam Henrique (thumb/surgery) and J.S. Berube…and with Stephen Gionta taking Berube’s #22 in his return to the team, one begins to wonder if Berube is really out long term or even for the season. Raman Hrabarenka suffered a skate cut to his foot during practice mid week and sat out both weekend games. Jay Leach missed Sunday’s game after sustaining a lower body injury on Saturday.

The Week Ahead:

A busy week lies ahead for the Devils. Along with the annual season ticket holder Holiday Skate tomorrow (I will of course be in attendance…not skating, just watching and sipping my hot chocolate), there are three games lined up this week. Wednesday night they host the Penguins, followed by a return trip to Hartford Friday night for a rematch against the Whale. Saturday they host the Bruins in their last home game before Christmas. Now to see if they can build on the winning streak and maybe not be #30 anymore…

Game 20: Albany at Connecticut

Location: XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Hartford, CT.

Puck Drop: 3:00 PM.

Season Series: Connecticut leads 2-0.

Standings:

Albany: 6-8-0-5, 17 points, 5th place in Northeast Division

Connecticut: 10-10-2-0, 22 points, 2nd place in Northeast Division

Stats:

Albany Devils

Leading Scorers:

Jacob Josefson, 12 points (8 G, 4 A)
Adam Larsson, 11 points (2 G, 9 A)
Matt Anderson, 9 points (3 G, 6 A)

Goaltending:

Jeff Frazee, 3-3-2, 2.22 GAA
Keith Kinkaid, 3-5-3, 2.50 GAA

Connecticut Whale

Leading Scorers:

Kris Newbury, 21 points (7 G, 14 A)
Chad Kolarik, 17 points (8 G, 9 A)
Kyle Jean, 14 points (5 G, 9 A)

Goaltending:

Cameron Talbot, 8-7-0, 2.99 GAA
Jason Missiaen, 2-3-0, 4.94 GAA

Radio: AHL Live, WCCC 106.9 FM

Twitter:

@trace_1114, @AlbanyDevils, @CTWhale