ALBANY, NY — The Albany Devils now find themselves in a must-win situation after losing to the Toronto Marlies, 5-1, during Game 5 of the North Division Final. The Marlies have won back-to-back games to take a 3-2 series advantage.
Albany, which allowed just one power-play goal during the first six playoff games, has surrendered six during the last two outings, including two Thursday at Times Union Center.
“The penalties early, we have to be able to kill them,” said Rod Pelley. “They are big kills. We know how dangerous that team is on the power play; we talked about it as a group. They get one from the point. We have to find a way to block it, box out. It kind of goes from there.”
The Marlies took a 3-0 lead thanks to Nikita Soshnikov at 15:19. Paul Thompson got Albany on the board with a diving play in front at 17:01. The goal was Thompson’s first of the postseason and first since Mar. 29 vs. Hartford.
”We had a lot of success on the forecheck; we were just inconsistent from line to line doing it,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We need to be a little smarter with the puck. We need to make some more plays. We need to capitalize. We certainly had chances tonight, our start was decent again.”
The Devils were without Mike Sislo and Dan Kelly. Sislo, who led the team with 26 goals during the regular season, sat out with a lower body injury. Kelly, who is the franchise’s all-time plus-minus leader at +44, was suspended for 10 games for an illegal check to the head during Game 4.
Those missing players were in addition to Jim O’Brien and Pavel Zacha, who were sidelined earlier in the series.
“We’re down some very key players,” Kowalsky said. “We haven’t had our full lineup since the first shift of Game 1. Nobody’s feeling sorry for us. We have to find a way to win a hockey game. We have to play a simple game; part of that is we are missing some key offensive guys as well. Get pucks deep and go get it back. Our goal was a perfect example. We get it in, we’re physical, we get it back, we get it to the top and crash the net. “
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The series heads back to Toronto for Game 6, which will be Saturday at 3 pm. Fans can follow the action online at ahllive.com.