ALBANY, NY — The Syracuse Crunch capitalized on both parts of a 5-on-3 power play early and held on for a 4-1 victory against the Albany Devils Wednesday at Times Union Center. Reid Boucher scored for Albany and Scott Wedgewood turned away 15 shots.
Syracuse rookie Nikita Kucherov scored both power-play goals. The first at 13:51 was setup by Vladislav Namestnikov and former Devil Matt Taormina. The second, unassisted, at 15:00 was redirected off an Albany defenseman’s skate.
“They scored the 5-on-3 and then the second one goes off us,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “They’ve got a phenomenal record as far as goal differential in the second period. I thought the second period was our best.”
The Devils cut into the lead during the middle frame when Joe Whitney forced a neutral-zone turnover and feed to Scott Timmins, who found Boucher in the slot. The rookie fired from the high slot, beating Syracuse’s Cedrick Desjardins at 9:23.
The goal was Boucher’s third of the season and second in as many games. Timmins extended his point streak to nine games and only trails Michael Swift’s 10-game run (Dec. 11-Jan. 7, 2011) for longest streak in franchise history.
Albany had two more chances in the second to tie the game. A sliding Desjardins denied Chris McKelvie on a one-time opportunity at 8:08. The Syracuse netminder’s glove then robbed Harri Pesonen alone in front at 15:32.
Desjardins finished with 24 saves as the Devils owned a 25-19 shot advantage.
“It’s tough to win on any night, but if you look at the chances, I think in the second period the shots were 5-5 and the chances were 4-1,” Kowalsky said. “Out of five shots you get four quality chances. In a game like this against a team that we knew was playing better, we know the way they’ve played over the years — they don’t give you much room — so when you get the chance you have to bury it. I think it takes the frustration out of it and gives you a little bit of momentum.”
In the third, Syracuse’s J.T. Brown added two more goals at 6:44, redirecting Kucherov’s bid at 6:44, and scoring on a wrister shot at 10:14.
The Crunch regained their two-goal lead when J.T. Brown redirected Kucherov’s bid at 6:44. Kucherov finished with two goals and two assists and Brown had two tallies.
The Devils conclude their four-game homestand with a 7 pm contest against the Norfolk Admirals Friday at Times Union Center.