Week 19 Recap: Love, Loss, Goose Eggs and Comebacks

A four game schedule this week looked quite daunting for the boys in red and white.  But after a small setback, it was a weekend to love, with many milestones to be had.  Not to mention six out of eight points earned.

2/9 vs. Providence: 3-2 L

While a majority of the hockey world was focused on some number retirement ceremony in New Jersey, the Devils were hosting the Bruins in a rare Tuesday night matchup.  After a scoreless first period, the Bruins would cash in 1:01 into the second while on a power play…rookie Frank Vatrano would score his 18th for a 1-0 advantage.  But Mike Sislo would answer with a power play goal of his own, his league leading 13th with the man advantage and #19 of the season overall, and it was a tie game.  The Bruins would take the lead right back less than 2 minutes later on a Justin Hickman goal.  Sislo would re-tie the game early in the third with his 2nd goal of the game and 20th of the season, marking the third straight season he has hit the 20 goal mark.  Just as it looked like this game was heading straight towards overtime…someone forgot to cover Vatrano in the corner, and with just 3:20 to go he would score his second of the game to put the Bruins ahead for good, extending their point streak to 14 games and putting an end to the Devils modest 2 game winning streak.  Ken Appleby drew the start and played well despite the loss, stopping 29 of 32 shots in his second AHL start.  Brandon Burlon assisted on both goals, while Brian O’Neill and Matt Lorito had one assist each.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Corey Tropp-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Ryan Kujawinski-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Graham Black, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 4.  Shots on Goal: 27.  Shots Allowed: 32.

Highlights:

2/12 at Rochester: 1-0 W

A busy weekend got underway Friday night in Rochester, as the Devils kicked off a home and home series with the Americans.  And no doubt the story of this one was the goaltending, as both Yann Danis and Linus Ullmark were not allowing anything past them.  That is, until the third period.  Just as Brandon Burlon took a seat in the penalty box, Mike Sislo broke in alone on a 2 on 1 and scored his 21st shorthanded 6:15 into the final period for a 1-0 lead.  And that one goal was all Danis would need, as for the second straight start he pitched a shutout, his 6th of the season and his 20th win.  Per the Albany PR Twitter, he extended his scoreless streak to 127:48.  Another fun fact from this contest?  Sislo registered the only point of the night.

The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Ryan Kujawinski-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp (illness), Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 5 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 28.  Shots Allowed: 22.

Highlights:

2/13 vs. Rochester: 3-0 W

Ken Appleby
Ken Appleby

22 hours and roughly 225 miles later, the two teams met again in the rematch.  Only difference was in net, as Ken Appleby drew his third start.  And the home team would get things started quickly…Graham Black’s third of the season would come just 2:20 into the contest for a 1-0 Devil lead.  Mike Sislo would add his 22nd goal 6:17 later to double the lead.  Then things would begin to get physical as two separate fights would break out within 10 seconds of each other.  The fun would roll into the second period, as Pierre-Luc Leblond would get the gate for two fighting majors and a small altercation broke out in the penalty boxes.  But finally peace would be restored and the game would continue, with both teams staying off the scoreboard.  Jim O’Brien had a great chance to triple the lead late that period when he was awarded the Devils’ first penalty shot of the season, but could not execute.  He did make up for it late in the third with a power play goal, his 10th tally of the season, to finish off the second straight shutout of the Amerks.  Appleby was stellar between the pipes, as he stopped all 26 Rochester shots to pick up his first AHL win and shutout.  Reece Scarlett had two assists, while 3 other Devils had helpers.  And a combined 106 penalty minutes between the two teams, with PL3 getting 34 of those.

PL3 was a little busy today.
PL3 was a little busy today.

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The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Ryan Kujawinski-Jim O’Brien-Brian O’Neill

Ben Thomson-Graham Black-Max Novak

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Ken Appleby/Yann Danis

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 4 for 4.  Penalty Minutes: 59.  Shots on Goal: 26.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

2/14 vs. Bridgeport: 3-2 W (OT)

Yann Danis
Yann Danis

No better way to celebrate Valentines Day than to play host to a Bridgeport team that came in winners of their last eight games.  Yann Danis looked to extend the team scoreless streak, but James Wright would put an end to that after 141 minutes and 19 seconds, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead late in the first period.  Sound Tigers captain Ben Holmstrom would double the lead halfway through the second.  Things did not look promising for the Devils, who started the day with a 0-10-1 record when trailing after two periods.  On a 5 on 3 early in the third, Mike Sislo would tie for the  league lead in goals with his 23rd (and adding to his league leading 14th on the power play) to cut the lead in half.  Then with less than a minute remaining and Danis pulled for an extra attacker, Brian O’Neill would come through in the clutch with his 6th goal of the season, and it was a tie game with 48.4 seconds to go.  On to overtime, where Reece Scarlett would complete the comeback with his second goal of the season 1:56 into the extra frame to finish off the Sound Tigers winning streak and extend Albany’s win streak to 3 games.  Danis picked up win #21, stopping 24 of 26 shots.  Scarlett and three other Devils each had assists.  And a big shoutout to head coach Rick Kowalsky, who picked up his 200th AHL win.

Congrats Coach!
Congrats Coach!

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The Lineup:

Mike Sislo-Matt Lorito-Paul Thompson

Brian O’Neill-Jim O’Brien-Ryan Kujawinski

Max Novak-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Chris McKelvie-Blake Pietila-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Dan Kelly/Vojtech Mozik

Reece Scarlett/Raman Hrabarenka

Brandon Burlon/Corbin McPherson

Yann Danis/Ken Appleby

Out: Rod Pelley, Blake Coleman, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Corey Tropp, Scott Wedgewood, Joe Faust, Ben Johnson

Power Play: 1 for 7.  Penalty Kill: 6 for 6.  Penalty Minutes: 17.  Shots on Goal: 36.  Shots Allowed: 26.

Highlights:

My Player of the Week:

There were quite a few good performances to choose from…but there is clearly one winner.  5 goals, including the game winner on Friday and sparking a comeback on Sunday?  Mike Sislo is the obvious choice.  Honorable mention to the goaltending tandem of Yann Danis and Ken Appleby for back to back shutouts.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (23)

Assists: Matt Lorito (28)

Points: Mike Sislo (42)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+22)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (96)

Wins: Yann Danis (21)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.67)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.932)

The Vault:

Since the last week and a half has been all about celebrating Martin Brodeur…sure he has Stanley Cups, Vezina trophies, the most wins by a goaltender in NHL history, among other accomplishments.  But the man knew how to score goals too.

Up North with the Thunder:

Much like the Devils, Adirondack had a busy 4 game schedule this week…and they may want a redo.  It started at rock bottom, as Elmira crushed a depleted Thunder squad 8-0 at home on Tuesday.  It didn’t get much better on Friday as they dropped a 5-2 decision to Wheeling, especially after having to scramble to get two goaltenders on the roster due to trade/callup.  They then hit the road for a pair of games in Reading and escaped with a split…dropping a 4-1 decision on Saturday before finally breaking the losing streak with a 4-1 victory Sunday afternoon.  Alex Carrier and Greg Wolfe both missed the week due to injuries.

A 4 game week again awaits Adirondack…on Tuesday they host Wheeling before hitting the road for a 3 in 3 weekend, starting with two games in Elmira on Friday and Saturday, followed by a Sunday afternoon faceoff against Brampton.

This Week’s Schedule:

A much easier week for the Devils, with only two games on the docket.  Saturday night it’s back to Utica to take on the Comets, then south to Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon to take on the Sound Tigers.

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