TROY, NY — The Albany Devils will have a chance to strengthen their hold in the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings when they travel to face ninth-place Hershey Friday at 7 pm. As of Wednesday, the Devils were seven points ahead the Bears with 11 games remaining.
“There’s no question they’re on the outside looking in, so we have to expect their best,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “We have to keep doing what we’re doing: play a smart, responsible, hard game, play our game even though it’s in their building. They’re a very good team in that building. The biggest thing is to make sure we’re focused and ready.”
The Devils are riding a five-game point streak with four wins during that stretch. During that run, the Devils have allowed just six goals and have surrendered 20.2 shots per game.
Goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who was named last week’s CCM/AHL Player of the Week, was between the pipes for the Devils four wins, posting a 0.75 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.
“Confidence is a big thing with these young guys,” Kowalsky said. “We’ve played well in front of him and he hasn’t had a big shot total, but he’s had to make some key saves and that’s what you ask: that your goaltender gives you a chance whether you have 40 shots or 20.”
Wedgewood went 2-2-0 in five games last season and is 13-12-3 in his first full season in the AHL. Of his 13 wins, six have come during his last eight starts.
“I had a bit of a slump a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve been out here working,” Wedgewood said after Wednesday’s practice at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. “It’s kind of a cliché, but just working hard in practice and doing the little things to make things work. I’ve been bouncing things off [Dave] Caruso, bouncing things off Keith [Kinkaid] and [Johan Hedberg] — when he’s in town.
“You can’t really dwell on what’s happened and you can’t get too high on what you’re doing right now. We’re playing well as a team, so I haven’t seen the most amounts of shots in the games I have played. The ones I’ve had some opportunities against, I’ve kept them out and we’ve done a great job of keeping the quantity pretty low.”
The Devils will practice Thursday morning at Times Union Center before jumping on a bus and heading to Hershey immediately after the skate.
Reid Boucher, Mike Hoeffel, Cam Janssen, Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Harri Pesonen, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Mattias Tedenby, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac