ALBANY, NY — Keith Kinkaid’s 38 saves and a three-goal second period helped the Albany Devils to their franchise-record sixth-straight home victory. Joe Whitney, Seth Helgeson and Mike Sislo each scored in the middle frame and Rod Pelley added an empty netter in the Devils 4-1 win against the Portland Pirates Saturday at Times Union Center. The Devils, who improve to 19-8-2-1, have earned a point in nine consecutive home games — the second most in the AHL this season.
“It’s important to defend your home ice,” Whitney said. “Every night a good team is coming in here and we are just trying to play the way we know how within the system. Hopefully, we can get [wins] and we continue to do that.”
Coming off his league-leading fourth shutout, Kinkaid made earned his 13th win of the season. Despite having his shutout streak ended after 95 minutes and 46 seconds, he has won six of his last seven starts. His 1.92 goals-against average leads the AHL.
After a stagnant first period, Whitney registered his team-leading 11th goal and 31st point by picking the upper-left corner over netminder Mark Visentin’s shoulder at 9:35 of the second. Scott Timmins, who found Whitney in the slot, and Reece Scarlett posted the assists.
Albany added to its lead when Timmins won an offensive-zone faceoff to Helgeson for a blast at the point. The goal, which came at 11:10, was the first of the Devils defenseman’s career.
“It was nice to get it out of the way,” Helgeson said of the goal. “Took a little while, a little longer than I expected, but I had a little luck on my side and it worked out for the best and gave us a 2-0 lead in the second period.”
Portland’s Andy Miele made the score 3-1 before the intermission break at 15:46.
In the third, Pelley capped the scoring with 5.6 seconds on the clock.
“This team has done a good job of grabbing momentum or taking momentum away,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “I know the shot differential was pretty big and they have some skilled players and their top guys — Brown and Miele — were playing a ton at the end. So, I thought we took the momentum back away. It’s huge if you can build off that and I think this team really has done a good job of kind of riding those waves.”
Next up, the Devils complete their three-in-three weekend with a 3 pm outing against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. Fans can follow the action online or on mobile devices at ahllive.com.