Devils-Digest-492012

DEVILS DIGEST (4.9.2012)

by Kevin Zalaznik // 4.9.2012 // Feature

The AHL regular season comes to a close this weekend and the Devils will host three contests at the Times Union Center. The team will have a chance to stop Norfolk’s historical winning streak, which stands at 25 games. Entering the week, the Devils are still mathematically in the hunt for the Calder Cup Playoffs and after Friday’s game against Norfolk, Albany hosts two teams it is chasing: the Providence Bruins and the Syracuse Crunch.

Recent Results

Day Opponent Result Game Details Box Score Highlights
Wed. at Worcester L, 1-2 Click Here Click Here
Fri. at Adirondack L, 2-3 Click Here Click Here
Sat. vs. Adirondack L, 3-5 Click Here Click Here Click Here

Team Leaders

POINTS
Joe Whitney
44
GOALS
Steve Zalewski
19
ASSISTS
Joe Whitney
29
+/-
Dan Kelly
+8
WINS
Keith Kinkaid
17


Upcoming Games

Day Opponent Time Radio Watch Listen
Fri. vs. Norfolk (52-18-1-2) 7:00 pm AHL Live AHL Live
Sat. vs. Providence (34-32-3-4) 7:00 pm AHL Live AHL Live
Sun. vs. Syracuse (35-28-5-5) 4:00 pm AHL Live AHL Live

News & Notes

– The Devils conclude the regular season with three home games this weekend. This season, Albany is 17-11-4-3 at the Times Union Center where 41 of the team’s 71 points have been earned.

– Stephen Gionta, who was recalled by the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, netted his first career NHL goal – the game winner – against the Ottawa Senators Saturday in a 4-2 win. Gionta put home a rebound off Alexei Ponikarovsky’s backhand attempt at 10:33 of the third period. The sixth-year pro was playing in his 13th career NHL contest.

– Steve Zalewski is one goal away from becoming the 12th Devil in franchise history to reach the 20-goal plateau. He has 19 tallies in 66 games this season.

– Mattias Tedenby registered assists in all three games this past week. For the season, he has 18 points (4g-14a) in 32 games.

– Rookie Joe Whitney increased his team lead to 44 points (15g-29a) thanks to a multi-goal performance Saturday against the Adirondack Phantoms.

Upcoming Promotions

Sat., Apr. 14
- Military Appreciation Night: The Devils and their fans will celebrate the Armed Services. Admission is free for anyone with proper military identification.

Featured Product

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Gionta

GIONTA GETS NHL FIRST

by Kevin Zalaznik // 4.8.2012 // Feature

Stephen Gionta holds almost every AHL Devils record in franchise history. He is first for games played (360), points (135), goals (56) and assists (70). But one thing that eluded him of his six-year career was a goal at the NHL level. He played 12 games with New Jersey last season, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

On Thursday, Gionta was recalled by the NHL Devils and on Saturday slotted into the lineup for the regular-season finale against the Ottawa Senators. In the third period of a 2-2 tied game, Gionta put home a rebound off Alexei Ponikarovsky’s bankhand attempt at 10:33.

Gionta was named the game’s First Star because of his first career goal, which held up as the game-winning tally.

“Every kid grows up hoping he scores a goal in the NHL and I’m just thankful for the opportunity the Devils game me,” Gionta told the media after the game. “It was a dream come true.

Gionta, who serves as Albany’s captain when playing in the AHL, received some praise from New Jersey captain Zach Parise.

“That was awesome,” Parise said. “We were really excited. The first goal is always exciting for a player and I think it was almost a patented Gionta family goal. It was rebound from right in front of the net. And for it to be the game-winner in a big game for us, we’re all really happy.”

The goal helped the Devils to their sixth consecutive victory. The team will play the Florida Panthers in the first round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Stephen Gionta battling for position against the Phantoms

HANGING ON

by Kevin Zalaznik // 4.5.2012 // Feature 

ALBANY, N.Y. — There may be five games remaining on the Devils 2011-12 schedule, but only one game is on the team’s radar. On Friday, the team will hop on the Northway and travel to the Glens Falls Civic Center for a 7 pm meeting against the Adirondack Phantoms.

Both teams are clinging to the possibility of reaching the Calder Cup Playoffs. Albany is five points out of eighth, while Adirondack is four points out.

“I’m sure they are looking at it the same way; we’re right there with them,” said head coach Rick Kowalsky. “After last night, we are pretty much in a must-win situation against a team that is probably thinking along the same lines.”

Adding to the drama, the clubs are internally battling for the Time Warner Cable Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the season series. The Devils, who are 3-2-3-0, will need to win Friday and again Saturday when the Phantoms come to the Times Union Center.

The Devils have lost the last two contests against the Phantoms and haven’t won in the Glens Falls Civic Center since a 2-1 victory on Mar. 11, 2011.

“These are going to be hard-fought, tough battles,” Kowalsky said. “We’ve matched up all year and the games have been pretty tight and back and forth. We just have to make sure we are ready to go. All the little things this time of year are so important. It’s not so much about what you are doing right, but those little breakdowns, lack of focus, letdown or loss of momentum. You have to stay in the moment.”

“It’s a challenge for us and it’s an opportunity for us to go out – and we talk about living in the present and in the now – it’s about just Friday,” Kowalsky said. “That’s all it is. It’s our last road game. We’ve had two overtime losses in that building and we’ve played well in that building. We have to be ready and focused and we need everyone on board this Friday night.”

Albany will look to contain Adirondack’s Jason Akeson, who has seven points (2g-5a) in eight games against the Devils. For the season, Akeson is tied with Matthew Ford for the team lead with 50 points.

Mike Sislo, who is out with a lower-body injury, also has seven points (2g-5a) in eight games in the series. Matt Anderson and Nathan Perkovich are next with six points (3g-3a) each.

The bench celebrates after a goal against Providence on Mar. 20, 2012

NOTEBOOK: ‘STICK WITH THE PROCESS’

by Kevin Zalaznik // 4.3.2012 // Feature

ALBANY, N.Y. – The playoff race hasn’t been a sprint – not even close. Since the all-star break and even before that the push for the postseason has been tightly contested. Now with just six games remaining, the Devils find themselves just outside the playoff picture.

“It’s such a small difference between winning and losing right now,” head coach Rick Kowalsky said. “Every team has that sense of urgency. We have to make sure we are doing all the little things right, staying out of the box and making sure we don’t make those mistakes that you can’t afford to make this time of the year.”

This week the Devils travel to Worcester, who is nine points out, and then face Adirondack for a home-and-home series. The Phantoms are just one point ahead of the Devils and four points out of the playoff picture.

The intensity of the last two weeks of the season has the Devils focused.

“I’ve noticed it in the room,” Kowalsky said. “You sense the importance. In the meetings, there is just a little more awareness and alertness. On the ice and on the bench, there has been a calm demeanor from shift to shift.

“I brought it up and told them that I sensed that. The biggest thing, and we know the severity of every game and Saturday was a tough loss, but we have to bounce back. We have to just stick with the process.”

Albany had won two-straight and pulled within two points of a playoff spot before a loss Saturday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Syracuse and Manchester occupy the seventh and eighth positions in the conference with 76 points each.


AHL’S MAN OF THE YEAR 

The American Hockey League announced Monday the winners of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year awards, selected by their respective clubs for their outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations during the 2011-12 season.

Brad Mills is this year’s Albany Devils representative.

Mills participated in a range of programs, including youth hockey clinics, the Boys and Girls Club and the American Red Cross. It’s not uncommon for two or three players to commit to a community program, and then be joined by Mills unexpectedly.

An excellent example of Mills’ thoughtfulness and generosity came during a recent visit to the Boys and Girls Club. While playing a game of kickball, he kicked a home run and consequently popped the ball, deflating the only ball the organization had. The following day and without instruction, Mills returned to the Boys and Girls Club with a new kickball.


AUDIO: PERKOVICH SPEAKS 

The 2011-12 season has been an up and down experience for Nathan Perkovich, who has battled injury for parts of the season. With 70 games completed, the third-year pro has appeared in 47 games, registering 16 points with 10 goals and six assists.

For his career, Perkovich has played 155 AHL games, producing 66 points, including 37 goals and 29 assists. During his rookie season in 2009-10, he had a career-best 33 points with 19 goals and 14 assists.

Listen to Perkovich’s interview, which will be played during Friday’s broadcast.

=http://www.thealbanydevils.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Nathan-Perkovich.mp3,Nathan

AUDIO: ZALEWSKI CLOSING IN ON 100 

If Steve Zalewski plays in all six of the remaining games in the regular season, the Sunday, Apr. 16 game will be his 100th in an Albany Devils uniform. The New Hartford, N.Y. native was acquired by the Devils along with defenseman Jay Leach on Feb. 9, 2011.

Since the trade, Zalewski has accumulated 60 points (28-g-32a) with Albany and appeared in seven games with New Jersey.

This season, he is tied for second on the team with 37 points, including a team-high 17 goals.

Listen to Zalewski’s interview, which will be played during Friday’s broadcast.

=http://www.thealbanydevils.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Steve-Zalewski.mp3,Steve

HELMET DESIGN

Jeff Frazee describes his helmet design

=http://www.thealbanydevils.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Frazee-Mask.mp3,Frazee

Keith Kinkaid describes his helmet design

=http://www.thealbanydevils.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Kinkaid-Mask.mp3,Kinkaid

PUCKS & PAWS 

Saturday’s game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins was also “Pucks & Paws Night” at the Times Union Center. There were 128 dogs that participated in what has become an annual event.

Here are some of the photos of the night:

JUST LIKE NEW

by Kevin Zalaznik // 4.3.2012 // Feature

ALBANY, N.Y. – Instead of making room at the defensive end of the Albany Devils bench for the return of Jay Leach, head coach Rick Kowalsky decided to roll seven defensemen against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday. The move was one to ease Leach back from significant time loss from a lower-body injury.

With his first game back out of the way, expect a six-defenseman lineup heading into a three-game week.

“It’s tough when you do that because it’s hard for the defensemen who are used to getting in a rhythm and a rotation,” Kowalsky said. “Down the road it may be an option depending on game-in and game-out scenarios. The big thing Saturday was to give Leach his minutes and also (Matthew) Corrente, who is still struggling with back-to-back games. It’s still a possibility, but we’ll probably go back to six.”

Leach had missed 42 games since his last appearance on Dec. 16.

“The knee was good; the hands weren’t great and the head wasn’t great,” Leach said with a smile. “That was to be expected with three months off and going against a pretty good team. I was encouraged about the knee, but I have work to do otherwise.”

Kowalsky was encouraged with Leach’s play Saturday and expected him to take a simple approach toward the game.

“He’s a veteran guy and he understands the fact that less is more,” Kowalsky said. “Positioning is important for him at this point of his career. If you don’t put yourself in a position to get beat then you probably never will. I think timing and gap control is something that will come with a few more practices.”

A native of the Capital District, Leach is in his 11th professional season, appearing in 418 AHL games entering this season. His return is just in time as the Devils claw for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

“These guys have battled all year,” Leach said. “I’m just coming in and playing my 16th game. I feel like a rookie coming in with fresh legs.”

Leach will get his next test when the Devils travel to Worcester on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

Devils Digest (Apr. 2, 2012)

DEVILS DIGEST (4.2.2012)

by Kevin Zalaznik // 4.2.2012 // Feature

Coming off a 2-1 week, the Devils head into enemy territory Wednesday when they travel to face the Worcester Sharks. The team then participates in a pair of Time Warner Cup contests with a home-and-home series against the Adirondack Phantoms. Friday’s game is at the Glens Falls Civic Center and Saturday’s outing is at the Times Union Center. All three games this week begin at 7 p.m.

With six games remaining, the Devils are five points out of the Calder Cup Playoffs

» RECENT RESULTS

Day Opponent Result Game Details Box Score Highlights
Wed. vs. Rochester W, 2-1 Click Here Click Here Click Here
Fri. vs. Providence W, 4-3 Click Here Click Here Click Here
Sat. vs. WB/Scranton L, 2-5 Click Here Click Here Click Here

» TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Joe Whitney
42
GOALS
Steve Zalewski
17
ASSISTS
Joe Whitney
29
+/-
Dan Kelly
+8
GAA
Jeff Frazee
2.68


» UPCOMING GAMES

Day Opponent Time Radio Watch Listen
Wed. at Worcester (28-30-4-7) 7:00 pm 104.5 FM AHL Live AHL Live
Fri. at Adirondack (34-32-2-2) 7:00 pm 104.5 FM AHL Live AHL Live
Sat. vs. Adirondack 7:00 pm AHL Live AHL Live

» NEWS & NOTES

– The 4-3 win against the Providence Bruins Friday was the Devils 199th victory in franchise history.

– Captain Stephen Gionta registered his first multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist Friday. For the season, he has 15 points (5g-15a) in 55 outings. He is the Devils all-time leader for games played (359), goals (55), assists (79) and points (134).

– Rookie Joe Whitney increased his team lead for points with a pair of assists Saturday. For the year, he has 13 goals and a team-high 29 assists for 42 points. He is averaging 0.63 points-per-game, which ranks second on the team.

– Jay Leach returned to the Devils lineup for the first time since Dec. 16 on Saturday. Against the Penguins, the Devils dressed seven defensemen: Matthew CorrenteEric GelinasDan KellyJay LeachCorbin McPhersonMatt Taormina and Alexander Urbom.

– On Friday, Matt Taormina was returned on loan from New Jersey and appeared in his first AHL game since Jan. 28. On Saturday, the Devils defenseman netted his sixth goal of the season.

– Kory Nagy produced back-to-back points with his third goal of the year Friday and his fourth assist Saturday.

– David Wohlberg, who signed an ATO Tuesday, netted his first career goal Friday. The tally, which came at 4:35 of the third period against the Bruins, was the game-winning goal.

– Against the Penguins, Brad Mills earned his 16th point of the season with an assist. He has 10 points in the last 11 games.

» UPCOMING PROMOTIONS

Sat., Apr. 7
- Fan Appreciation Night: To say thank you, the Devils will be giving away prizes throughout the night and the first 2,000 fans to arrive will receive a Nathan Perkovich bobblehead courtesy of the Times Union.

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