It was another short week for the Devils, just one game on the schedule…the first home game of the season, against a new opponent to boot. Finally, for the first time this season, I can say a Devils team has put one in the win column! Time to rehash yesterday’s festivities:
Keith Kinkaid drew the start (and a few laughs pregame when they started pregame introductions and he was nowhere to be found), and had a quiet first period on his end, only facing 5 Comet shots. Even though the period was a scoreless one (despite Albany getting 4 power plays and not producing on a single one of them), it sure wasn’t a boring one, as the teams combined for 66 penalty minutes. Four different fights broke out in a span of about 6 minutes, resulting in two ejections, one on each side: Kellan Lain for Utica and Seth Helgeson for the Devils. Rivalry much already, gentlemen? But peace was restored and things settled down after that, as no one took a seat in the penalty box the rest of the game (a rarity when you have Chris Brown reffing…although one of my spies maintains he missed a few calls on the Utica side). Reid Boucher got the home team on the board early in the second with his first goal of the season. Mike Sislo followed that up with his first goal of the year 8 minutes later. Alexandre Grenier broke up Kinkaid’s shutout bid shortly after that. Joe Whitney scored what appeared to be an insurance goal early in the third for a 3-1 lead, not realizing at the time just how important that goal would be. Utica would pull the goalie late and Benn Ferriero would score with just 7 seconds remaining to get the Comets to within one. But after a timeout, Utica could not come up with a quick equalizer, and the Devils would hold on for their first win of the season. It was also the first home opener they have won in their four seasons here as well. Kinkaid did not have to do much in picking up his first win of the year, stopping 23 of 25 shots. Eric Gelinas had two assists and was named the game’s first star, while Scott Timmins had two assists as well (that Barch trade is working out quite nicely, I must say).
Mike Sislo-Rod Pelley-Stefan Matteau
Reid Boucher-Scott Timmins-Joe Whitney
Tim Sestito-David Wohlberg-Harri Pesonen
Darcy Zajac-Cam Janssen-Chris McKelvie
Extra: Mike Hoeffel, Kelly Zajac
From what I could see, the lines stayed the same throughout the day.
Jon Merrill-Eric Gelinas
Seth Helgeson-Reece Scarlett
Dan Kelly-Corbin McPherson
Extra: Brandon Burlon (yes #FreeBurlon returned for one day)
A lot of shuffling, especially after Helgeson’s ejection and Scarlett having to sit for part of the game after a hit: McPherson/Gelinas, Merrill/Kelly, Gelinas/Kelly, Kelly/Scarlett to name a few. I would say Gelinas was on the ice the longest of the six.
Obligatory Fight of the Week:
As of press time, no video has surfaced yet from the first period (it was edited out of the Devils highlight reel). Once somebody on YouTube gets their act together I’ll update this section.
UPDATE (10/16): Only one made it onto video. The winner by, well, default:
My Player of the Week:
I’m splitting the award between two players this week: Eric Gelinas and Scott Timmins, as both dished out two assists and factored in the win. An honorable mention to Seth Helgeson for doing a lot better in his Cam Janssen impression this time around compared to preseason.
Goals: Joe Whitney (2)
Assists: Jon Merrill (3)
Points: 3 players tied at 3
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (15)
Plus/Minus: 2 tied at +3
Wins: Keith Kinkaid (1)
GAA: Keith Kinkaid (3.03)
Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.872)
-To add to the captain/assistant captain news from last week, Mike Sislo was sporting the A yesterday. He will be the second A at home, Chris McKelvie will be the second A on the road.
-Earlier this week, this year’s promotional schedule was announced. The highlights: two unnamed bobbleheads, three post game autograph sessions, the return of Pucks and Paws, and Devil Dawg’s Birthday (which normally features the annual N.J. Devil visit).
This Week’s Schedule:
Three games on tap this week. Tomorrow is the first Adirondack matchup of the season (and it’s Kids in Free Day for the Columbus Day holiday). Then Friday and Saturday the team heads south to Norfolk to take on the Admirals.