Like a Team Possessed…

After a up and down weekend, the Devils were looking to get back into the swing of things, with two divisional matchups and another trip into a tough building awaiting them.  3 games and 3 wins later, things are again looking pretty good in the Capital District.  Recapping a very strong week:

11/11 vs. Bridgeport: 5-2 W

The week got off to an early start, a Veterans Day matinee against Bridgeport.  Unlike Saturday’s performance against Adirondack, it was the Devils who came out flying in the first period.  Joe Whitney and Rod Pelley scored two minutes apart midway through for a 2-0 lead.  Chris McKelvie would add his second of the season shortly thereafter for a 3-0 advantage.  But the Sound Tigers would make a brief comeback, scoring twice on Keith Kinkaid 59 seconds apart for a 3-2 game.  Albany would retake a 2 goal lead on Dan Kelly’s first of the season (it was actually similar to Cam Janssen’s goal against Nashville on Sunday night).  Finally in the third, the exclamation point–Reid Boucher’s fifth of the season for the eventual 5-2 win.  Kinkaid got over a shaky first period to earn the win, stopping 25 of 27 Bridgeport shots, including all 12 in the 3rd period.  Harri Pesonen, Stefan Matteau, and Raman Hrabarenka each contributed two assists, while Rostislav Olesz had an assist of his own.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Rostislav Olesz

Stefan Matteau-Harri Pesonen-Rod Pelley

Mike Sislo-Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac

Chris McKelvie-Mike Hoeffel-Riley Boychuk

Defense Pairings:

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Seth Helgeson/Raman Hrabarenka

11/15 at Hartford: 3-0 W

It was off to Connecticut to start a brief 2 game road trip on Friday, as the Devils took on Hartford for the third time this season.  And it was the visitors who got things started in a hurry.  Barely 3 minutes into the game Riley Boychuk scored his first as a Devil for a 1-0 lead.  Joe Whitney would add to it with his seventh goal of the season (off a nice pass from Rostislav Olesz).  A very interesting second period…on paper it looked like a mismatch, Albany was outshot 12-2 and had to kill off 3 penalties.  But the Wolfpack could not muster anything past the defense or Keith Kinkaid.  The Devils found their way in the third, holding Hartford to 6 shots and getting an empty netter from Rod Pelley at the end to seal the win, the first shutout by a Devils goaltender this season.  Kinkaid stopped all 25 shots in earning his 4th straight win and fifth on the season.  Another good offensive showing from Dan Kelly as he assisted on two goals and finished a +3, while Mike Hoeffel and Chris McKelvie each had assists (a very good night for the 4th line).

Lines:

Rod Pelley-Harri Pesonen-Stefan Matteau

Rostislav Olesz-Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito

Mike Sislo-Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher

Chris McKelvie-Mike Hoeffel-Riley Boychuk

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Raman Hrabarenka

11/16 at Syracuse: 2-1 W (SO)

The week ended with the first trip to Syracuse of the season to take on the Crunch.  Neither team could get anything across in the first period, probably because both team were too busy getting called for ridiculous penalties again–the referee, Jean-Philippe Sylvain, was the same ref from last Saturday’s shutout loss to Adirondack.  The one that missed too many blatant ones but called Albany for barely breathing on a Phantom?  Yup, that guy.  And it was more of the same, to the point where Stefan Matteau was issued a 10 minute misconduct for arguing a hooking call that most likely wasn’t.  The pattern continued into the second period, as both Keith Kinkaid and Cedric Desjardins clamped down.  But Reece Scarlett finally broke the scoreless drought late into the second with his first goal as a professional for a 1-0 Devil lead.  But on the very next shift, the Devils defense made the grave mistake of leaving Crunch rookie Nikita Kucherov alone and he scored his 3rd against the Devils this season to tie the game at 1.  Things got very chippy during the third period when Tim Sestito, for whatever reason, decides to hit and then throw punches down on Desjardins.  Of course a scrum ensues behind the net, with Crunch captain Mike Angelidis ready to pound him.  We’re all thinking, Sestito’s clearly done for the night.  Nope.  Sylvain only calls a two minute goalie interference penalty…and gives Angelidis a roughing minor.  For once, the Devils got away with it (I even thought Tim should have been tossed out, because why do you rain on the other goalie a la Ray Emery?), and we’ll just say the decision didn’t sit well with the Crunch contingent.  Peace was restored through the end of regulation, and it was on to the extra session, where if not for a defensive clear with less than a minute remaining Kelly Zajac would have won it.  On to the shootout, where only Reid Boucher would connect on a goal.  Kinkaid stopped all 5 Crunch shooters to hang on for the win.  It was another outstanding night for #1 in net, stopping 29 of 30 shots in 65 minutes and picking up #1 star honors for the second straight game.  Boucher and Joe Whitney had the lone assists.

Lines:

Joe Whitney-Tim Sestito-Rostislav Olesz

Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher-Mike Sislo

Rod Pelley-Harri Pesonen-Stefan Matteau

David Wohlberg-Mike Hoeffel-Chris McKelvie

Extra: Riley Boychuk

Defense Pairings:

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Dan Kelly/Reece Scarlett

Seth Helgeson/Raman Hrabarenka

Extra: Harry Young

Obligatory Fight of the Week:

I don’t know what’s more entertaining, the fight or the call by the Hartford announcer.

My Player of the Week:

3 wins, the first shutout of the season, and a shootout win against the defending Eastern Conference champs?  Keith Kinkaid gets the nod.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Joe Whitney (7)

Assists: 2 players tied with 8

Points: Joe Whitney (15)

Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (30)

Plus/Minus: 3 players tied with +4

Wins: Keith Kinkaid (6)

GAA: Keith Kinkaid (1.97)

Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.922)

Elmira Update:

It was not a good week for the Jackals, as they dropped three straight to the Wheeling Nailers.  Maxime Clermont only played in one of those, Saturday night’s 5-4 loss in West Virginia, stopping 26 of 31 shots.  Harry Young appeared in two games, staying off the scoresheet before his sudden recall on Saturday (more on that in a minute).  And per ECHL transactions, Alexandre Carrier was released on Wednesday.

Notes:

-As mentioned earlier, Harry Young was a sudden callup on Saturday afternoon.  From what I could gather in Syracuse, he was brought up just incase another defenseman had to be recalled to New Jersey after Peter Harrold took a hit in Friday night’s loss to the Kings.  But apparently no one was needed, so it was another #FreeYoung evening.  Not sure if he’ll stick around or just return to Elmira.

-David Wohlberg made his return to the lineup Saturday night after missing nearly two weeks with an injury.  Darcy Zajac and Scott Timmins remain out, no word on returns.

This Week’s Schedule:

It’s a big divisional week for the Devils.  On Wednesday, they play host to Hartford for the second time in less than a month and already the fourth matchup of the season.  Then back on the road for a pair: Friday night they take on Springfield in Western Massachusetts with–dare I say it?–first place on the line.  Then it’s back up north for the second time in 3 weeks on Saturday for the latest Time Warner Cable Cup installment against Adirondack.

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