Week 27 Recap: Shootout to Shutout

Down to the final six games of the regular season, and with their playoff position cemented in place, it was time for the Devils to start giving the regulars some rest, and give the new guys some playing time.  Despite a 1-2 weekend and just five goals scored all weekend, there is a lot to look forward to now that New Jersey’s season has ended.

4/8 at Syracuse: 4-3 W (SO)

It was off to Syracuse on Friday, as the Devils took on the Crunch for the final time this season.  The teams exchanged goals in the first…on a power play, Yanni Gourde would get the hosts on the board halfway through the period, only to have Brian O’Neill tie it up less than 3 minutes later with his 12th goal of the season.  Syracuse would take the lead back on an Adam Erne goal 5:26 into the second, but just like in the first, Albany would tie it up on a goal by Matt Lorito, his 18th.  The Devils would finally get their first lead early in the third on a Ryan Kujawinski tally, his 5th.  But the Crunch, on the verge of playoff elimination, would tie it up on a Tanner Richard goal with 14 minutes to go in the period.  After a few close calls and nothing across for the remainder of regulation and overtime, it was off to Albany’s fourth shootout of the season.  In the first two shootout rounds, O’Neill, Joel Vermin, Nick Lappin (in his first game back since injury), and Erne could not score.  Paul Thompson would connect on a goal in round 3, and Scott Wedgewood would go 3 for 3 and stop Jeff Tambellini, giving the Devils their second shootout win of the season.  It was another great outing for Wedgewood, who showed no ill effects from Sunday’s shot to the mask as he stopped 22 of 25 shots in picking up win #12.  Lorito and three other Devils each had assists.

The Lineup:

Paul Thompson-Graham Black-Ben Johnson

Brian O’Neill-Matt Lorito-Nick Lappin

Ryan Kujawinski-Kevin Rooney-Max Novak

Ben Thomson-Rod Pelley-Pierre-Luc Leblond

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Marc-Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Brandon Burlon/Raman Hrabarenka

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Paul Geiger, Dan Kelly, Blake Coleman, Jim O’Brien, Chris McKelvie, Joe Faust, Trevor Mingoia, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo, Vojtech Mozik

Power Play: 0 for 3.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 2.  Penalty Minutes: 9.  Shots on Goal: 33.  Shots Allowed: 25.


4/9 at Binghamton: 2-1 L

While I was taking in the season finale at The Rock, Albany headed south on Interstate 81 for their last road matchup of the season against Binghamton.  After a scoreless first, Max McCormick would put the hosts on the board 2 minutes into the second with a power play tally.  Graham Black would tie things up later with his 7th goal of the season.  But the Senators would take the lead back late in the period on another power play goal, this one off the stick of Casey Bailey.  Albany tried in vain to get the equalizer in the third, outshooting Binghamton 11-4, but were unable to do so, halting their win streak against Binghamton at 5 games.  Yann Danis played well in the loss, stopping 18 of 20.  Pierre-Luc Leblond had the lone assist.

*The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Kevin Rooney-Nick Lappin

Paul Thompson-Jim O’Brien-Ben Johnson

Ryan Kujawinski-Trevor Mingoia-Max Novak

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Graham Black-Ben Thomson

Brandon Burlon/Joe Faust

Seth Helgeson/Corbin McPherson

Paul Geiger/Raman Hrabarenka

Yann Danis/Scott Wedgewood

*my guess based on highlights

Out: Dan Kelly, Blake Coleman, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Marc Andre Gragnani, Brian O’Neill, Reece Scarlett, Josh Jacobs, Blake Pietila, Mike Sislo, Vojtech Mozik

Power Play: 0 for 2.  Penalty Kill: 1 for 3.  Penalty Minutes: 17.  Shots on Goal: 37.  Shots Allowed: 20.


4/10 vs. Toronto: 3-0 L

It was back on home ice Sunday afternoon for the annual Military Appreciation day, and a #1 vs. #2 showdown, as the Marlies came calling.  After a scoreless first period, Toronto would break through 8:42 into the second, thanks to a power play goal by Eric Faille.  The Devils had a golden opportunity to tie things up with six minutes of power play time nearly back to back just after, but were unable to produce a goal.  Just before the second period ended, Richard Clune would double the Toronto lead with a power play goal of his own.  Albany would put up 16 shots in the third on Marlies goaltender Antoine Bibeau, but could not manage to get anything past him.  Zach Hyman would seal the win for Toronto with an empty netter late, and the Devils were shut out for the first time all season on home ice, and fourth overall.  Scott Wedgewood picked up the hard luck loss, stopping 15 of 17 shots.

The Lineup:

Matt Lorito-Brian O’Neill-Nick Lappin

Blake Pietila-Jim O’Brien-Mike Sislo

Graham Black-Kevin Rooney-Paul Thompson

Pierre-Luc Leblond-Rod Pelley-Ben Thomson

Seth Helgeson/Vojtech Mozik

Marc Andre Gragnani/Reece Scarlett

Raman Hrabarenka/Corbin McPherson

Scott Wedgewood/Yann Danis

Out: Paul Geiger, Dan Kelly, Blake Coleman, Max Novak, Chris McKelvie, Ryan Kujawinski, Joe Faust, Trevor Mingoia, Ben Johnson, Josh Jacobs

Power Play: 0 for 4.  Penalty Kill: 3 for 5.  Penalty Minutes: 10.  Shots on Goal: 35.  Shots Allowed: 18.


My Player of the Week:

With not a lot going on this weekend…you can either go with Matt Lorito, who lead all skaters with two points, or just split between everyone that got a goal this week.

Team Leaders:

Goals: Mike Sislo (27)

Assists: Matt Lorito (36)

Points: Matt Lorito (54)

+/-: Vojtech Mozik (+26)

Penalty Minutes: Pierre-Luc Leblond (121)

Wins: Yann Danis (27)

GAA: Scott Wedgewood (1.66)

Save Percentage: Scott Wedgewood (.928)

The Vault:

This week…after Saturday it’s only fitting I dedicate it to former River Rat Patrik Elias.  Just incase this is the end of the line for him…let’s go back to the 2000 Eastern Conference Finals, and a clutch performance that sent New Jersey on the way to their second Stanley Cup.

Up North with the Thunder:

Despite a 1-2 week to close out the regular season, Adirondack clinched a Kelly Cup playoff spot on Friday night, and they will enter the first round as a 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.  Ken Appleby suffered a 6-4 loss at home to Elmira on Tuesday, only stopping 23 of 29 shots.  He would rebound with a 4-3 win in Manchester on Friday evening, stopping 34 of 37.  In the season finale at home on Saturday, a 5-4 loss to the Monarchs, Greg Wolfe, Alex Carrier, and Mathieu Brodeur would all score.  They will face Manchester in a first round best of 7 series beginning on Wednesday in New Hampshire, with Game 2 on Friday.  Games 3 and 4 will be in Glens Falls on Saturday and Monday, April 18th.  If needed, Game 5 is April 20th in Manchester, Game 6 April 22nd in Glens Falls, and Game 7 April 23rd in Manchester.  Final regular season stats for the Thunder can be found here.

This Week’s Schedule:

Three games left to close out the regular season and fine tune the lineup with all the options.  Wednesday they host Binghamton, then the final road trip comes Friday in Rochester.  Then a first round playoff preview to close things out, as Bridgeport pays a visit on Saturday afternoon.

Today marks New Jersey’s break-up day, so once final transactions are posted I will have another entry on who is on their way down…also another ATO has joined the ranks, and there may be other moves involved.


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