Devils-Digest-01232012

DEVILS DIGEST (01.31.2012)

by Kevin Zalaznik // 1.31.2012 // Feature

Last week was highlighted by a record-setting crowd on Saturday when 8,194 fans witnessed the Devils even the Time Warner Cable Cup series with a 3-0 win against the Adirondack Phantoms. Next up, the team embarks on a five-game road trip, beginning with Northeast Division rival, the Connecticut Whale, on Friday (7:00 p.m.).  The following night (7:05 p.m.), the Devils travel to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, who rank second in the Eastern Conference standings.

Fans can listen to this weekend’s contests on 104.5 “The Team” ESPN Radio. Both games can be heard for free online at ahllive.com. Additionally, they can be viewed on ahllive.com for $6.99.

» View Complete Weekly Release (.PDF)

» LAST WEEK

Day Opponent Result Game Details Box Score Highlights
Fri. at Binghamton L, 2-3 Click Here Click Here Click Here
Sat. vs. Adirondack W, 3-0 Click Here Click Here Click Here

» TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Whitney
25
GOALS
Joe Whitney
11
ASSISTS
Vladimir Zharkov
17
+/-
Mike Sislo
+10
WINS
Keith Kinkaid
11


» TRANSACTIONS

» UPCOMING GAMES

Day Opponent Time Radio Watch Listen
Fri. at Connecticut (19-16-4-5) 7:00 pm 104.5 “The Team” AHL Live AHL Live
Sat. at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 7:05 pm 104.5 “The Team” AHL Live AHL Live

» NEWS & NOTES

– The Devils set a franchise record for attendance Saturday when 8,194 fans witnessed Albany shut out Adirondack. The previous mark was 6,504 set when the team was located in Lowell. That outing featured the Providence Bruins on Jan. 31, 2008. Additionally, Saturday’s crowd was the largest for an AHL game at the Times Union Center since Mar. 15, 2002 when 8,407 showed up to witness the New Jersey Devils affiliate play Hartford.

– With an 11-6-3-3 record at the Times Union Center this season, the Devils .609 home winning percentage ranks seventh in the AHL. Twenty-eight of the team’s 46 points have been earned at home.

– On Monday, the New Jersey Devils recalled Steve BernierJacob Josefson and Matt Taormina from Albany. Bernier was inked to a two-way NHL contract. For Albany this season, Bernier has played 17 games, producing three goals and three assists. Josefson has appeared in four AHL games, registering two goals and an assist and Taormina has played 25 games, posting five goals and nine helpers.

– With a 30-save shutout performance against Adirondack Saturday, Keith Kinkaid is now tied with Mike McKenna(2009-10) for second on the Devils single season shutout list with three. Jeff Frazee’s four shutouts in 2008-09 tops the ranks.

– Since being returned on loan by New Jersey on Jan. 10, Tim Sestito has registered six points in seven games. During that span, he has produced two goals, including the game winner against Adirondack Saturday, and four assists. For the season, Sestito has nine points with four goals and five assists in 19 outings.

– Backed by five assists in the last six contests, Vladimir Zharkov is now second on the team with 23 points, including a team-high 17 assists. He has appeared in 32 games and is averaging a club-best 0.72 points per game.


» FEATURED PRODUCT

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Urbom-All-Star

URBOM, EAST FALL IN SHOOTOUT

by Kevin Zalaznik & AHL.com // 1.31.2012 // News 

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Devils all-star Alexander Urbom had an assist and unloaded two shots, but his Eastern Conference team fell, 8-7, in a shootout Monday against the Western Conference in the 2012 AHL All-Star Game at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

Down by four goals early, the Western Conference rallied for the victory

Chris Terry of the Charlotte Checkers led the West offense with two goals and an assist and Ben Bishop of the Peoria Rivermen stopped 10 of 11 shots in the third period before denying all four East shootout attempts. Bishop, who is 18-12-0 with a league-leading six shutouts for Peoria this season, was named the 2012 AHL All-Star Game MVP.

The Eastern Conference raced out to a 6-2 lead after one period and held a 7-5 advantage before Peoria’s T.J. Hensick and Chicago’s Kevin Connauton scored late in the third period to tie the game. Hensick and Texas rookieMatt Fraser scored in the shootout to lift the West to victory.

Rookie Cory Conacher of the Norfolk Admirals recorded two goals and an assist for the East, and Connecticut Whale teammates Mats Zuccarello and Jonathan Audy-Marchessault notched a goal and an assist apiece.

Corey Locke of the Binghamton Senators and Keith Aucoin of the Hershey Bears both tied an American Hockey League, appearing in their sixth career All-Star Games.


Western Conference AHL All-Stars 8 (SO) at Eastern Conference AHL All-Stars 7 – Status: Final SO
Monday, January 30, 2012 – Boardwalk Hall

Western Conference 2 3 2 – 8
Eastern Conference 6 0 1 – 7

1st Period-1, Eastern Conference, Audy-Marchessault 1 (Zuccarello, Miele), 2:06. 2, Eastern Conference, Palmieri 1 (Atkinson), 3:22. 3, Western Conference, Terry 1 (Hensick), 6:19. 4, Western Conference, Haydar 1 (Fairchild, Fraser), 8:53. 5, Eastern Conference, Cizikas 1 (Barberio, Conacher), 10:32. 6, Eastern Conference, Miele 1 (Zuccarello, Audy-Marchessault), 10:58. 7, Eastern Conference, Conacher 1 (McDonald), 14:10. 8, Eastern Conference, Zuccarello 1 (Audy-Marchessault), 16:42. Penalties-No Penalties

2nd Period-9, Western Conference, Terry 2 (Kolanos), 2:41. 10, Western Conference, Barrie 1 (Pirri, Robak), 17:28. 11, Western Conference, Hamilton 1 (Nyquist), 18:11. Penalties-No Penalties

3rd Period-12, Eastern Conference, Conacher 2 (Smith, Urbom), 9:56. 13, Western Conference, Hensick 1 (DiSalvatore), 12:05. 14, Western Conference, Connauton 1 (Connelly, Terry), 15:53. Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Western Conference 2 (Hensick G, Kolanos NG, Fraser G, Cornet NG), Eastern Conference 0 (Palmieri NG, Conacher NG, Aucoin NG, McDonald NG).
Shots on Goal-Western Conference 11-20-11-1-43. Eastern Conference 13-11-11-0-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Western Conference 0 / 0; Eastern Conference 0 / 0.
Goalies-Western Conference, Hackett 0-0-0 (13 shots-7 saves); Danis 0-0-0 (11 shots-11 saves); Bishop 1-0-0 (11 shots-10 saves). Eastern Conference, Leighton 0-0-0 (11 shots-9 saves); Zatkoff 0-0-0 (20 shots-17 saves); Sexsmith 0-0-1 (11 shots-9 saves).
A-6,113
Referees-Francis Charron (46), Chris Cozzan (18).
Linesmen-Scott Adams (20), Bob Fyrer (72).

THREE UP TO NJD

by Kevin Zalaznik // 1.30.2012 // Transaction

NEWARK, N.J. – Even though the AHL is enjoying the all-star break, there is still hockey to be played at the NHL level. On Monday, the New Jersey Devils recalled three players from Albany – Steve BernierJacob Josefson and Matt Taormina.

Bernier, who signed an AHL contract on Oct. 26, signed a two-way NHL contract to join New Jersey. Bernier has played 17 games this season, missing time between Dec. 9 and January 21 with an upper-body injury. He has produced three goals and three assists. A first round pick (16th overall) by San Jose in 2003, Bernier has appeared in 385 career NHL games, registering 76 goals and 83 assists.

Josefson was returned on loan by New Jersey to Albany Thursday and registered a goal and an assist in two games this past weekend. For the season, he has played four games, totaling two goals and an assist. Another first round pick (20th overall in 2009), Josefson has appeared in nine NHL games this season.

A 2012 AHL All-Star, Taormina was also returned on loan to Albany on Thursday and had a goal and an assist this past weekend. Taormina is second among Albany defenseman with 14 points, including five goals and nine assists. As a free agent, he signed with New Jersey on Feb. 25, 2010. He has played 15 NHL games this season, producing four assists.

Crowd

RECORD CROWD GALLERY

by Albany Devils // 1.28. 2012 // Photos

The Capital Region helped the Devils set a franchise record when 8,194 fans watched the Devils down the Adirondack Phantoms, 3-0.

Team

STATE OF THE DEVILS

by Kevin Zalaznik // 1.26.2012 // Feature

Tuesday night, while televisions were tuned to the State of the Union address, Devils defenseman Peter Harrold was converted to a right winger – on the ice, not in the political realm.

Harrold, who was recalled by New Jersey from Albany Monday, became the 12th Devil to compete at both the NHL and AHL levels this season. Against the Buffalo Sabres, he filled in as a forward and assisted as a blue liner when asked.

On Wednesday, Harrold was back in Albany as the Devils prepared for the final two games before the 2012 AHL All-Star Classic, which sets up the mad dash to April and the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Unlike the President, head coach Rick Kowalsky doesn’t have the same political backdrop to deliver his own State of the Union. But Kowalsky and the Devils are aware of the intensity that is associated with the coming months.

“You convey that to the team,” Kowalsky said. “You cannot focus too much on the standings. I know its cliché but we have to focus on game in and game out and control what we can control. If you win and have success on the ice then all that other stuff will take care of itself.”

Entering Friday’s game at Binghamton, the Devils are two points out of the top spot of the Northeast Division, which would land them third in the Eastern Conference. On the other side, the team is six points from the bottom of the conference standings.

“Every game does matter and you try and explain that to the younger guys at the beginning of the year,” said assistant captain Chad Wiseman. “You don’t always see those points when you lose in a shootout or in overtime until the end of the year and you are three points out of the playoffs. Every day we look at the standings and we know where we are and we know where we have to be.”

So far the 2011-12 season has been an up-and-down ride. There was the gimpy start with one win in the first six games. Then the turnaround with five wins in the next six contests. The team earned points in eight consecutive games between Oct. 29 and Nov. 19, but followed with a 0-3-1-1 record between Dec. 9 and Dec. 17.

“The first half, the first thing that comes to mind is just inconsistency,” Kowalsky said. ”Obviously, we didn’t get off to the start we wanted and put ourselves behind the eight ball. Then we had a great November and early December.”

Call-ups and injuries are nothing new to the AHL or professional hockey at all levels for that matter. In all, 37 different players have dressed for Albany this season.

Some could use the personnel changes as an excuse for the peaks and valleys of the season, but the Devils have succeeded at different times because of their ability to adapt.

“Guys come in, adapt and step into their roles,” said defenseman Dan Kelly. “That’s the beauty of our team this year.”

“You hope that you’ve put the right things into place when some of the guys, who maybe don’t play as much, get bumped into bigger roles,” Kowalsky added. “You hope you have the depth to sustain you through those lean times. That’s when your structure and what you practice and preach everyday pays off.”

With 35 games remaining until Apr. 16, the first day of the post season, the Devils are hoping to outpace the competition and return to the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.

“I explained it to the guys last week that these games are going to start to feel like playoff games,” Kowalsky said. “As much we like where we are, there are five or six teams that are in that same boat. It’s been a crazy season so far this year. The biggest thing is there are no nights off. We need to realize that these games are going to get tighter. We can’t wait until the end of March to turn it on. It has to start now.

“I think the biggest thing in the second half is just being consistent. We need to focus on the little things on a nightly basis. We need to be a hard team to play against.”

In the grand scheme of things Tuesday’s State of the Union address has no influence on the outcome of the Devils season. However, as Washington has laid out a road map, so has Kowalsky and his players.

The Devils success is game planned around on ideal which was generalized — oddly enough — by a Canadian, Darcy Zajac.

“The only thing you can do is bring your work boots.”

With all but one game remaining against Eastern Conference opponents, the Devils are tying their boots tight and preparing for the challenge ahead.

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