ALBANY, NY — In front of the third largest crowd in franchise history, the Albany Devils came out firing, grabbing an early lead and never giving it up in a 3-0 victory against the Hartford Wolf Pack at Times Union Center.
Yann Danis was perfect in net, stopping all 21 shots he faced. Ben Thompson scored just under two and a half minutes into the game. Paul Thompson and Mike Sislo each added a goal to secure the victory.
Here are three thoughts from Saturday’s action:
Danis Grabs Record
Playing in back to back games didn’t faze Danis, who set the new franchise mark for shutouts in a season with his fifth of the year. Danis stopped 21 shots for his 25th career AHL shutout. Danis tracked the puck well and was economical in his movements. He held his posts well when necessary, including denying a partial breakaway when his team was on the power play.
“I’ve said it before it’s always easier when you’re playing back-to-back games,” Danis said. “It’s easier to be focused and ready to go. I felt good, I was seeing the puck well and wasn’t tired at all. I thought we played well the whole game. Defensively, offensively, it was a pretty complete game for us tonight.”
Striking first has been important to the Devils’ success this season. It was especially important Saturday against a Wolf Pack squad that has been dominant once they grab the lead. Hartford is 12-2-1-0 on the season when leading after one period and a perfect 15-0-0-0 when they take an advantage into the third. The Devils never gave them a chance as Thomson scored to stake the Devils to the lead at just 2:29 of the first period and set the tone for the rest of the game. Thompson added another later in the frame and the Devils never looked back.
“It was good, especially with the big crowd, we got them into it early,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky of the team’s start. “I thought our first period was excellent. Probably deserved more than what we got; we kept the pressure up. That was exactly the start we needed.”
The Revolving Door
Several nagging injuries and a few new ones had the Devils sport another new lineup Saturday. With captain Rod Pelley out along with defensive stalwarts Marc-Andre Gragnani and Vojtech Mozik the Devils turned to Joe Faust, who was called up from the ECHL earlier in the day. Max Novak made his return, returning from a lower-body injury. Shuffled lines had new energy and the team didn’t miss a beat. Both Faust (+2) and Novak (+1) were plus players on the night.
“You take Gragnani, Pelley, Mozik out of our lineup, it’s even a different team than we saw last night,” Kowalsky said. “The message tonight, was being simple with the puck and playing hard and playing smart and I thought we did a really good job of it. ”
“We were saying as a coaching staff, this poor kid, every time we throw him into the fire it’s against the best team in the league,” Kowalsky said of Faust. “He looked real comfortable and he did a great job for us.”