Bench

Devils vs. St. John’s Schedule Set

ALBANY, NY – The Albany Devils (40-23-5-8, 93 pts.) will face the St. John’s IceCaps (45-23-2-5, 97 pts.) in the opening round of the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. The series, which pits the fifth-place Devils against the fourth-place IceCaps, will begin with two games at Times Union Center Friday and Saturday. Both games are slated for 7 pm.

The best-of-five series shifts to St. John’s for game three on Apr. 30. Games four and five – if necessary – will be played on May 2 and May 3, respectively. All three away games are scheduled for 6:00 pm EDT.

Gm Day Date Opponent H/A Time/Result
1 Fri. Apr. 25 St. John’s H 7:00 PM
2 Sat. Apr. 26 St. John’s H 7:00 PM
3 Wed. Apr. 30 St. John’s A 6:00 PM^
4* Fri. May 2 St. John’s A 6:00 PM^
5* Sat. May 3 St. John’s A 6:00 PM^

*If Necessary
^ Eastern Time

Individual tickets for the Times Union Center games will go on sale Monday at 10 am. They can be purchased at the Times Union Center box office or at any Ticketmaster outlet. Fans can also buy tickets via charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com.

Fans who have renewed or purchased/will purchase season tickets for 2014-15 can take advantage of the “Pay as we Play” ticket option. By committing to all home playoff games, individuals will not have to pay for their first round tickets and will receive the same ticket price throughout the postseason.

Additionally, “Devils Playoff Packages” come in sets of four or eight. Fans will receive vouchers to use in any quantity for all home games during the first and second rounds. Any voucher(s) not used can be returned to the Devils executive office for credit towards ticket packages for the third and fourth rounds or for the 2014-15 season.

Fans can begin reserving ticket packages for the postseason by calling (518) 433-8457 or by visiting the team’s executive office located at Times Union Center during regular business hours: 8:30 am – 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

McPherson-Merrill-Boucher

All That’s Left Is The Game

ALBANY, NY – The game plans have been established. Practices have been held. Videos have been watched. Now all that is left is the actual game.

The Albany Devils host the St. John’s IceCaps for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Friday at 7 pm at Times Union Center. Both teams practiced Thursday at the site of the first two games of the series.

(VIEW: Instagram photos from practice)

The Devils playoff roster includes 29 names, giving Head Coach Rick Kowalsky more choices than he has had all season.

“I told the guys, this is a short series, so if we need to make changes, they need to be ready,” Kowalsky said. “It may be a result of a right-hand, left-hand shot. It may be the result of somebody that we may need on the power play. It may be a toughness thing or a speed thing. Guys have to be ready and in a short series you have to do everything you can to win the next game.”

Albany’s roster includes 15 players with NHL experience, including Joe Whitney, who made his big league debut on Jan. 24. Like the previous two seasons, Whitney has led Albany in scoring. During the regular season, he posted a career-high 53 points. He is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 149 points, 63 goals and 86 assists.

He hopes his goal during Saturday’s regular-season finale, jump starts his production. Before netting his 22nd tally of the season, Whitney went 14 games without a goal.

“I’ve been a little cold as of late, but I’ve been working hard each and every day,” Whitney said. “Hopefully that turns around for me and I start putting the puck in the net a little more to help the team win. You can always use a couple more goals here and there.”

Kowalsky has paired Whitney with Mike Sislo and Tim Sestito in the middle. Whitney, who has served as the right winger when playing with Scott Timmins and Reid Boucher, finds a little bit of comfort moving back to the left side.

“Maybe a little easier when breaking the puck out of the D-zone,” he said. “It’s just a little more comfortable, but as you come up the ice it doesn’t really make a difference. I think, Sislo on the right side — he has a lot of speed and he can shoot the puck pretty well — we’ll be good.”

The Devils will hit the ice one more time before Game 1. They will hold their morning skate at 10 am Friday morning.

Interviews

Sislo-STJ

“The Playoffs Can Be A Crazy Thing”

ALBANY, NY – A brand new season is upon us and the Albany Devils skated for the first time Tuesday since their 5-2 victory against the Springfield Falcons to close out the regular season Saturday. The Devils are staring down a first round series against the St. John’s IceCaps, which is set to begin Friday at Times Union Center.

In the AHL, the opening round is a best-of-five and the higher seed doesn’t necessarily always open at home. That’s the case with the Devils and IceCaps. Fifth-seeded Albany will host the first two games before traveling for the remainder at fourth-seeded St. John’s.

Both clubs have stellar home record: the Devils .697 winning percentage ranks fifth in the league, while the IceCaps .671 is 10th.

“You know what, there’s no question it’s important,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Obviously, we’ve played well here and we feel comfortable here. I don’t think you want to put too much emphasis on it, I think you’ve just got to focus on that first game. The playoffs can be a crazy thing.”

Friday’s game will be the first between the Devils and IceCaps in 2013-14 and the fifth all-time meeting. Last season, Albany went 1-2-0-1 against St. John’s.

There is a cloud of unknown hovering over this first round series, but that doesn’t mean the teams don’t know what to anticipate.

“I expect it to be a fast series,” Kowalsky said. “They’re a team that has some skill up front. Some guys that have been around, proven scorers, that we’ve talked about in Gordon and Samson, Jaffray, their captain, a veteran guy that is their leading scorer. Then the back end, very active D that can all skate, so I expect that with the way we skate and the way they skate for it to be certainly a fast series.”

The Devils will continue their prep work with a Wednesday morning practice at Times Union Center. St. John’s is expected to arrive in the Capital Region Thursday.

Interviews

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