ALBANY, NY – A brand new season is upon us and the Albany Devils skated for the first time Tuesday since their 5-2 victory against the Springfield Falcons to close out the regular season Saturday. The Devils are staring down a first round series against the St. John’s IceCaps, which is set to begin Friday at Times Union Center.
In the AHL, the opening round is a best-of-five and the higher seed doesn’t necessarily always open at home. That’s the case with the Devils and IceCaps. Fifth-seeded Albany will host the first two games before traveling for the remainder at fourth-seeded St. John’s.
Both clubs have stellar home record: the Devils .697 winning percentage ranks fifth in the league, while the IceCaps .671 is 10th.
“You know what, there’s no question it’s important,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “Obviously, we’ve played well here and we feel comfortable here. I don’t think you want to put too much emphasis on it, I think you’ve just got to focus on that first game. The playoffs can be a crazy thing.”
Friday’s game will be the first between the Devils and IceCaps in 2013-14 and the fifth all-time meeting. Last season, Albany went 1-2-0-1 against St. John’s.
There is a cloud of unknown hovering over this first round series, but that doesn’t mean the teams don’t know what to anticipate.
“I expect it to be a fast series,” Kowalsky said. “They’re a team that has some skill up front. Some guys that have been around, proven scorers, that we’ve talked about in Gordon and Samson, Jaffray, their captain, a veteran guy that is their leading scorer. Then the back end, very active D that can all skate, so I expect that with the way we skate and the way they skate for it to be certainly a fast series.”
The Devils will continue their prep work with a Wednesday morning practice at Times Union Center. St. John’s is expected to arrive in the Capital Region Thursday.