Next stop for the Albany Devils is Prudential Center. Albany hosts the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for a 7:30 pm outing at the home of the New Jersey Devils Wednesday. The game is the third and final visit for Albany in the Garden State this season. While the team got to experience the historical wonder that is Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall with two games earlier this year, the Devils will now get to take in the sights and sounds of an NHL arena.
Prudential Center isn’t that foreign to the players on Albany’s roster. The team begins every season with training camp at “The Rock” and several players have already played in NHL preseason and regular-season games at the arena.
“I think the biggest thing is just have fun with it. At the end of the day it’s still a big two points against a division opponent,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We’ve got to keep our focus, which I’m not concerned about that, and go down and enjoy the amenities of being in an NHL building, and NHL dressing room, because that’s certainly one of the best in the league.”
The team skated Tuesday morning before busing to Newark where they will hold at 10:30 am morning skate Wednesday. Packed with the equipment was the Devils three-game point streak, earning five-of-six points.
Momentum is shifting in Albany’s favor.
“We reinforce the positives and stress a lot of the things we’re doing well in video and in practice,” Kowalsky said. “Make some small tweaks here or there, but I think the guys have just really kind of embraced the fact that we’ve got to play solid defensive hockey and play on the right side.
“We want to win obviously, but we want to play the game the right way and if you do it on most nights you’re going to end up on the right side of it.”
The Devils went to overtime twice last week, resulting in a 2-1 win Wednesday against Springfield and a 5-4 setback Saturday at Hershey. Albany has gone to the extra frame 11 times this season and are 3-3 in games decided in overtime and 0-5 in contests decided in the shootout. All three of the Devils OT wins have come at home.
“I think it’s been good,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “This team is starting to feel like they’re never out of a game and we’ve come back now a couple of times. But it’s also important that they are starting to feel more comfortable in some of those uncomfortable situations.”
Not Yet For Hrabarenka
Last week, Kowalsky indicated that Raman Hrabarenka was getting closer from recovering from an upper-body injury sustained on Nov. 29. He will need more time.
Kowalsky said: “He’s not feeling great right now. The last couple of practices have not gone as well as we thought. So, he won’t be available tomorrow and we’ll see come the weekend, but certainly not really recovering as quickly as maybe we thought he would.”
Whitney’s Back, Bell to ECHL All-Star Game
New Jersey has returned Joe Whitney to Albany Tuesday. Whitney, who will represent the Devils at the 2015 AHL All-Star Classic, was recalled to the NHL on Jan. 13. He is tied with Paul Thompson for the team lead with 33 points (14g-19a).
In an unrelated transaction, Albany returned Myles Bell to Evansville (ECHL). Bell is expected to play in the 2015 ECHL All-Star Classic Wednesday in Orlando.