Preview: Devils at Bears, 7 PM
ALBANY, NY – The Albany Devils could secure their spot in the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs Saturday when they face the Hershey Bears at Giant Center (7 pm). The Devils, who still have 11 games remaining, can become the second team to clinch a playoff berth if they win in regulation against Hershey and Rochester losses or posts a shootout win at Syracuse. The other scenario would be a shootout win against the Bears and an Amerks’ setback against the Crunch.
The Devils are second in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference at 39-17-8-1 (.669). The Bears are tied for first in the Atlantic Division and tied for third in the conference at 37-18-4-7 (.644).
What To Watch For
• Albany: The Devils, who are making their first trip to Giant Center this season, are coming off a 3-1 loss at Syracuse Friday. Ben Johnson scored for the second straight game and Yann Danis made 17 stops. Albany’s penalty kill continues to impress, ranking second in the AHL at 87.9 percent. Only Ontario’s 88.3 mark is better.
• Hershey: Jakub Vrana scored the overtime winner, helping the Bears to a 2-1 victory at Utica Friday. Hershey has won their last two outings by a combined score of 10-1 – it defeated Lehigh Valley, 8-0, Wednesday. Chris Bourque leads the entire AHL with 71 points, including 28 goals and 43 helpers in 63 contests.
Devils vs. Bears Series
• All-Time: The Devils and Bears will meet for the 32nd all-time meeting Saturday. The Devils are 8-19-1-3 all-time against the Bears with a 6-9-0-1 home mark and a 2-10-1-2 road record. Hershey has won eight of the last nine games against Albany.
• Last Meeting: Reid Boucher delivered a major-league shot to give the Devils a 3-2 overtime victory against the Bears on Jan. 27 at Times Union Center. After Raman Hrabarenka tied the game with 76 seconds remaining, Boucher fired a wrister from the left-circle on a fast break 2:05 into the extra frame for the win. Yann Danis was the goalie of record after Scott Wedgewood, who had 12 saves, left the game in the third period with a right shoulder injury. Danis supplied 10:08 of relief and five saves.