TROY, NY — Nineteen times the Albany Devils have carried a lead into the third period and only once … just once, have they not skated away with two points. Entering Friday’s matchup against the Utica Comets, the second-place Devils are 18-0-0-1 when leading after two periods.
The team’s ability to close dates back to last season when it went 20-1-0-3 in those games.
“I think it’s the style of play we play,” said assistant captain Chris McKelvie. “We kind of lock it down and I think we play a fast, smart, pretty physical game. It certainly helps in the third period, especially, when you have the lead.”
Albany has established its leads by outscoring opponents 38-31 in the first and 41-33 in the second period. The team has closed out games by besting the competition 31-25 in the final frame.
Defenseman Brandon Burlon indicated there is a time when the team switches from “attack” to “defend.”
“In the third period if you have a comfortable lead, you don’t want to take any chances or forfeit it in anyway,” he said. “You are always trying to protect it. You aren’t just run and gun; attack, attack, attack. It’s part of being a hockey player and reading the game and knowing the score.”
The Devils resume preparation for the upcoming three-in-three weekend with a morning skate Friday at Knickerbacker Ice Arena.
• With 37 games under his belt this season, McKelvie is already having a record season. He has his career-high marks with six goals, seven assists and 37 points.
• While Albany practiced, New Jersey announced that Mike Sislo was returned on loan to the AHL Devils. Sislo, who was recalled on Jan. 3 and made his NHL debut that same day, ranks tied for third on Albany with 20 points, backed by nine goals and 11 assists.