Perkovich, Devils Handle Crunch

ALBANY, N.Y. – With the help of two Nathan Perkovich goals the Albany Devils extended their winning streak to four games with a 4-1 victory Sunday against the Syracuse Crunch. Perkovich, who missed 33 games with an injury between Dec. 10 and Feb. 27, scored twice in the first period for his fifth and sixth goals of the season.

“We kept it simple and got the puck deep,” Perkovich said. “We chipped it in, got it behind their net and forechecked pretty hard. When we do that it helps us win games.”

Goaltender Mike McKenna made 22 saves as the Devils improve to 28-34-1-3 on the season and 6-2-0-0 in their last eight games. Their four-game winning streak is tied for the longest of the season. McKenna is also riding a four-game winning streak of his own and is now 12-16-0 on the season.

“It’s such a momentum game, especially in your third game in three nights like this.” McKenna said. “It’s easy for the brain to shut off sometimes – it really is difficult. We responded well to it; we killed our penalties when we needed to. They had a few chances, but we kept things to the outside. That’s what you want to happen, so it was a good night.”

Chad Wiseman and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond also scored for the Devils. Wiseman’s goal came at the end of a penalty kill. Chris Murray sprang him for a breakaway at 7:59 of the first. Wiseman now has six goals in four games this week alone. For the season, he has 12.

Leblond scored at 2:28 of the third period off a rebound on a David McIntyre shot. The goal was Leblond’s fifth of the season, matching a career-high total

Perkovich’s first goal came off a rebound at 2:32 of the first. Tim Sestito and Alexander Vasyunov had the assists. They also had the helpers on his second goal, which made it 3-1 at 16:46 of the first.

Syracuse’s goal came off the stick of Brian McGratton at 4:31 of the first period. Later, McGratton and Leblond came to blows midway through the third period.

Notably, captain Stephen Gionta played in his 300th career AHL contest. He was a plus-1 with two shots on goal. Alternate captain, Olivier Magnan was a season-high plus-4 and earned third star of the game honors.

These two teams will meet again on Wednesday, Mar. 16 at 7 p.m. at the War Memorial at Oncenter.

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