TROY, NY — The Albany Devils still have business to accomplish before the Holiday break. The team travels to face the Binghamton Senators Saturday and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Sunday. Albany, which is riding a franchise-long six-game winning streak, will then break for three days.
Before the Devils can have thoughts of time off, they will need to remain focused on two conference games this weekend.
“We’ve been pretty good with maintaining our focus and getting reset for the next game thus far,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “I don’t think this will be any different.”
The Devils lineup is back to 20 players in Albany, including two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 11 forwards. Mattias Tedenby, who had three goals and one assist in two conditioning games, is the latest player to make the trek from Albany to New Jersey. Kowalsky is forced to maneuver his lines once again.
But playing with 11 forwards isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I think the players like it up front,” Kowalsky said. “You work an extra forward in; he’s double shifting. We’ve done some different things where we spent a period with a left winger doing it and another period with a right winger doing it. We have some options that way. I think as a player it gets you in the game more.
“As a coach, you worry about fatigue and guys wearing down. So far we’ve been lucky enough to keep winning with it, but hopefully we’ll get back to four lines and six [defensemen].”
Scott Timmins, who continues his comeback after suffering a lower-body injury on Nov. 8, could return to the lineup this weekend. In 12 games, he has 13 points with five goals and eight assists.
“We aren’t sure what we are going to get out of him or how many games we are going to get this weekend,” Kowalsky said. “You work him into a rotation of 11 forwards and now that’s a different story. We’re not sure what kind of game shape he is going to be in. No matter what we’ve done out here, it’s going to be an adjustment playing in the games.
“He’s going to get a couple of days to practice with the team. We’ll see how he feels and make a decision. There is no question he’s going to be a welcome addition back to our lineup.”
December has been kind for Albany, which is 4-0-0-0 during the month. After this weekend’s contests the team returns to Times Union Center for games on Dec. 27 vs. Adirondack and Dec. 28 vs. Portland.
• Raman Hrabarenka is on a seven-game point streak, producing three goals and six assists. His point streak is tied for fourth longest in franchise history alongside Matt Halischuk (Feb. 14-Feb. 27, 2009) and Kelly Zajac (Nov. 20-Dec. 7, 2013). Hrabarenka, who was reassigned to Albany from Elmira on Nov. 5, has 12 points (3g-9a) in 15 games this season.
“Right now I’m just trying to be hard and do my job every shift,” Hrabarenka said. “I try and score goals every game and make good plays. My [teammates] help me a lot to score goals and make some plays. It’s kind of team points, we will say.”