TROY, NY – While most of the hockey world had its eyes on Wednesday’s trade deadline, the Albany Devils were on the ice for their first practice of the week at Knickerbacker Ice Arena. The Devils are preparing for a three-in-three road set, which includes games Friday at Portland, Saturday at Hartford and Sunday at Worcester.
Those teams rank 15th, 14th and 13th in the conference, but Albany is approaching the weekend with caution.
“You can never take those games for granted,” said forward Scott Timmins. “Sometimes they can catch you on an off night and really surprise you, so we have to be ready. We can’t really just look at the standings, show up, and expect a win.”
With the entire Eastern Conference off until Friday, the Devils will enter the weekend tied for seventh. Only 20 games remain before the end of the regular season and Albany’s remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of .536.
“I think everybody knows the importance and everybody wants to get a taste of the playoffs,” said assistant captain Tim Sestito. “I think we’re hungry for it and ready for it as well.”
Playing with the Lead
Albany gave up third period leads in both of its losses last weekend. They lost to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 2-1, in a shootout Saturday and to Providence, 3-2, Sunday.
Despite the recent results, the Devils are 25-1-0-5 when leading after two periods.
“It’s obviously easier playing in front than from behind,” Sestito said. “Now we just have to close them out in those third periods. We pride ourselves on our third period play and a couple games got away from us, so hopefully we get rid of some bad habits going forward.”
New Jersey acquired forward Tuomo Ruutu from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for forward Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third round selection in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Reid Boucher, Mike Hoeffel, Cam Janssen, Stefan Matteau, Chris McKelvie, Rod Pelley, Tim Sestito, Mike Sislo, Mattias Tedenby, Scott Timmins, Joe Whitney, David Wohlberg, Darcy Zajac, Kelly Zajac