Welcome to the first weekly recap of the season! A brief preseason schedule for the Devils, outside of one “secret” game at The Rock against the Flyers/Phantoms two weeks ago. Two road matchups against two teams they will be seeing a lot of (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s Rangers/Flyers teams either). And if the last two days are any indication, we may be in for a fun season this year. But on that note, it’s still just preseason.
9/26 at Hartford: 4-3 W (SO)
The Devils started the preseason in pretty good fashion with a road win over the team formerly known as the Connecticut Whale. Scott Wedgewood drew the start and didn’t have much work to do, making 12 saves. They found themselves in an early 1-0 hole on a Tyler Gjurich goal in the first. After that, it became all Devils in the second, as they outshot the hosts by an astonishing 17-0 rate. Reid Boucher would tie the game up at 1 just as the second got underway. Just as the second was coming to an end, Darcy Zajac and newcomer Reece Scarlett scored just 1:04 apart for a 3-1 lead. Hartford would come back in the third with a pair of power play goals to tie things at 3. After an uneventful overtime, it was on to the shootout, an area that killed the Devils in 2012-13. Boucher and camp tryout Artem Demkov scored in the first two rounds, while Wedgewood stopped 2 of 4. In the fifth round, Hartford was kept off the scoreboard, but the other camp tryout, Dmitri Goldenkov, would score the game winner and give Albany the victory. Demkov, Joe Whitney, and Seth Helgeson each had an assist.
9/28 at Adirondack: 3-2 W
In what has become an almost annual start to the year, the Devils traveled north to Glens Falls for the preseason finale against the Phantoms. Also, it was my first chance to get a look at what I’ll be seeing on the ice for most of this season. Harri Pesonen gave the Devils the first period lead, only to see Adirondack tie it up 2 minutes later on the first power play of the night. Newcomer Ben Thomson broke the tie 6 minutes into the second (even though from my angle it appeared Eric Gelinas had the goal all the way; he was given the primary assist). Then the penalty party started up…first the lone bout of the night, Seth Helgeson taking on (and not faring very well; someone missed Cam’s fighting seminar!) Doug Clarkson. Yes, David’s younger brother. And for those asking, I did not see the patented #ClarksonFall. Then referee Graham Skilliter started handing out Albany power plays like candy…5 minors were called on the Phantoms in the last 9:55 of the period, including some extended 5 on 3 time. It took till the last penalty on the board for the Devils to connect, as Pesonen scored his second of the game just 38 seconds into the 3rd for a 3-1 Devil lead. Jason Akeson would draw the Phantoms to within one goal 6 minutes later. Despite a late charge from Adirondack that included a penalty kill, the Devils held on for the win and capped off a brief perfect preseason tuneup. Maxime Clermont drew the start and played very well, stopping 29 of 31 shots. Brandon Burlon contributed two assists.
Yesterday morning, there was reason among the Devils contingent to celebrate, as Krys Barch and a 2015 7th round draft pick were dealt to Florida for forward Scott Timmins and a 2014 6th round pick. Timmins has already cleared waivers with Florida, so it is most likely he will be joining Albany at some point this week. He spent last season with San Antonio, putting up 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists) in 65 games. He also played with Adam Henrique, Andrei Loktionov, and Harry Young on the 2010 Memorial Cup-winning Windsor Spitfires. But, he’s probably most famous for something that happened off ice last season.
And per a tweet from Fire and Ice, Keith Kinkaid has been reassigned to Albany. He had stayed on the roster after Martin Brodeur returned home after the passing of his father Denis on Thursday.
Monday is the deadline for New Jersey to get the roster down to 23, and as of now there are three players left. Albany too has a few decisions to make to get their roster set for the start of the AHL season. Next Sunday, things get started for real in Hartford.