Doing things a little differently this week…with quite a few news items before the games even got started (with my schedule I didn’t have time for a full post), I’ll do a timeline…mixing in all the news and notes with the game recap as we go.
Monday: A wrong was officially righted, as Joe Whitney (along with 2 others) was added to the AHL All Star roster. Not a bad few days for Joe…he makes his NHL debut, gets his own bobblehead, and now his first AHL All Star appearance.
Wednesday: With so many extras on the roster, someone had to go sooner or later. Surprisingly, it was Artem Demkov leaving, as he was sent back to Elmira. He did very well during his stint here, appearing in 21 games and notching 11 points (6 G, 5 A). After coming to Albany’s training camp as a tryout, he came back on a PTO on December 4th when everyone seemed to be getting recalled to New Jersey. He did so well during his first week he was given a standard AHL contract 9 days later.
Friday: Before Albany took the ice that night against Bridgeport, another surprising transaction: Eric Gelinas was reassigned to Albany, while Mike Sislo was recalled for the second time in a month as insurance incase Dainius Zubrus couldn’t go in Nashville (Zubrus played; Sislo did not). Gelinas was sparingly used in his last appearance for New Jersey, seeing just 2:50 of ice time in an overtime victory against Dallas. Not sure how long he’ll stay, considering that he is not eligible to play here during the Olympic Break.
Now to game action!
One more game to finish out a tough month of January and the homestand, as the Devils welcomed the Sound Tigers. Unlike the weekend before, Albany clamped down and dominated the first period to start, not even allowing a shot on goal for the first 13:04 of the game (and getting 11 shots of their own). Joe Whitney thought he had a goal early on, but despite the puck being clearly over the line (per a few witnesses by the net), referee Chris Brown would wave it off. Just as the Sound Tigers finally showed up for the game, Reid Boucher would score his first since returning to Albany for a 1-0 lead. Less than 2 minutes later, Alan Quine would tie it up on a power play goal. Bridgeport would outshoot Albany after that, but Keith Kinkaid was in redemption mode after his 0-3 performance on Sunday afternoon. The game remained tied (and also quite uneventful) till the third period, when Tim Sestito scored his 9th to put Albany up 2-1. And the door was shut from then on. A nice rebound performance from Kinkaid in net, as he set aside 27 of 28 shots and earned #1 star honors. Four Devils each had an assist.
Mattias Tedenby-Reid Boucher-Kelly Zajac
Rod Pelley-Harri Pesonen-Tim Sestito
Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Stefan Matteau
Cam Janssen-Chris McKelvie-Mike Hoeffel
Extra: David Wohlberg
Other line combinations: Whitney-Timmins-Boucher; Sestito-McKelvie-Hoeffel
Alexander Urbom/Reece Scarlett
Adam Larsson/Dan Kelly
Corbin McPherson/Seth Helgeson
Extras: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Eric Gelinas
Saturday: In a not so surprising move, Mike Sislo was sent back down. When did I figure this out? When he took the ice in Hartford for warmups.
The Devils started February–and a four game (well, technically five if you count Atlantic City at “home”) road trip–in Hartford against the Wolfpack. An uneventful first saw Hartford outshoot the Devils 11-4, but Keith Kinkaid was again up to the challenge. The game remained scoreless till Mike Sislo scored his 13th unassisted for a 1-0 lead. Harri Pesonen was awarded a goal just over two minutes later despite a replay showing the puck went off his skate. The referee that allowed the goal? Chris Brown. Atoning for last night, I guess? So a 2 goal lead for a team who is 20-0-0-2 when leading after two periods shouldn’t be a problem, right? Well…Hartford had a little rally in them as the third period got underway. Micheal Haley would break up the shutout 98 seconds in for a 2-1 advantage. Joe Whitney would score less than a minute later for a 3-1 lead. Darroll Powe would cut the deficit to 3-2 halfway through the period. Then T.J. Hensick would complete the comeback with just 3:56 left in regulation and tie the game at 3, sealing yet another third period collapse, the fourth one in 5 weeks for the Devils. This was Hartford’s period from beginning to end, as they outshot the Devils 14-1. Yup, the one shot got in, and that was all Albany could do. It was on to overtime, where Albany managed 3 shots to Hartford’s 1, but nothing across. It was on to the shootout, where it nearly resembled the parent club’s struggles. Mattias Tedenby scored in the first round, but Reid Boucher, Sislo and Whitney could not get anything by David LeNeveu. Kinkaid gave up three straight to Hensick, J.T. Miller and Jesper Fast to give Hartford the extra point and seal their comeback. Outside of beyond the third period, Kinkaid played well again, and finished with 33 saves on 36 shots in 65 minutes. Four Devils had one assist each, while Eric Gelinas returned to the lineup and finished a +3.
Tim Sestito-Mike Sislo-Rod Pelley
Joe Whitney-Scott Timmins-Stefan Matteau
Kelly Zajac-Reid Boucher-Mattias Tedenby
Chris McKelvie-Cam Janssen-Harri Pesonen
Extras: Mike Hoeffel, David Wohlberg
Other line combinations: McKelvie-Sislo-Pesonen; Zajac-Pesonen-Janssen; Whitney-Boucher-Timmins; Zajac-Boucher-McKelvie
Dan Kelly/Alexander Urbom
Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson
Adam Larsson/Eric Gelinas
Extras: Brandon Burlon, Raman Hrabarenka, Reece Scarlett
Other pairings: Kelly/Helgeson, Gelinas/Helgeson, Urbom/McPherson, Larsson/Urbom, Gelinas/Urbom
Obligatory Fight of the Week:
No gloves dropped or faces punched this week.
My Player of the Week:
Well…again not a lot of standout performances over the two games. I was leaning towards Keith Kinkaid before last night’s third period/shootout collapse. And Eric Gelinas also had a good showing in his return to the Albany lineup as well. So I’ll split it between those two.
Goals: Joe Whitney (17)
Assists: Joe Whitney (21)
Points: Joe Whitney (38)
Plus/Minus: Corbin McPherson (+11)
Penalty Minutes: Seth Helgeson (65)
Wins: Keith Kinkaid (17)
GAA: Keith Kinkaid (2.35)
Save Percentage: Keith Kinkaid (.912)
A very good week for the Jackals, as they extended their win streak to 4 games with a home win against Kalamazoo and two road wins over Fort Wayne and Toledo. Artem Demkov jumped back into the lineup on Wednesday and played very well, with 2 goals and 4 assists for the week. Harry Young scored his first goal of the season Saturday night in Toledo. And Riley Boychuk was, well, busy: 14 penalty minutes from one altercation on Saturday.
This Week’s Schedule:
Three games with no 3 in 3 weekend to deal with. Albany travels to Springfield for a rare Tuesday night matchup against the first place Falcons, who have been struggling as of late. Saturday night they travel south to Bridgeport to take on the Sound Tigers. Then it’s up to New Hampshire on Sunday afternoon for their only visit to Manchester this season.