ALBANY, NY — Yann Danis‘ seventh shutout of the season helped the Albany Devils become the third team to secure a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Devils dominated play, defeating the Hartford Wolfpack 3-0 Tuesday at Times Union Center.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday’s action:
Playoffs Here We Come
The Devils can breathe a bit easier with nine games remaining knowing that they have locked up a spot in the playoffs. The team can focus on chemistry and areas of need, while resting players. However, while the team celebrated the important moment, they also looked forward to the rest of the regular season and beyond.
“It’s nice to clinch, you work hard all year, preseason and all season long to make it to the playoffs,” Danis said. “We’ve accomplished that but we have to keep going now. You want to go in on a high. You want to go in with the momentum. We just have to keep playing the way we’ve been playing all year.”
This will be the Devils’ third trip to postseason play in franchise history. The team last made the playoffs in the 2013-14 season.
The Devils remain on a franchise-best pace with 90 points through 67 games and sit second in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference.
Novak Making The Most of Opportunity
Novak has played most of the season in a bottom six checking role. but found himself slotted onto the top line alongside Matt Lorito and O’Neill. Novak wasted no time adjusting to his new role and found the back of the net just 4:23 into the game. Novak would add an assist in the second period, as he dove to set up Scarlett’s point shot. Novak’s two point effort gives him five points in his last six games.
“Max is a perfect guy to compliment any line,” said Head Coach Rick Kowalsky. “I’m a big fan of his hockey sense, he has the ability to play with skill guys or play the checking role. He can kill penalties you can put him in on the power play. He’s an easy guy for me to move around the lineup. It’s good to see him get rewarded tonight.”
Two former Providence Friars made their AHL debuts Tuesday. Kevin Rooney and Trevor Mingoia were linemates in their first pro game. Rooney is a big center, who played a physical game with a strong defensive presence. Mingoia showed off his powerful shot on several quality chances, including a shot that just went off the edge of Magnus Hellberg‘s glove.
Kowalsky felt that that both new players fit right in.
“What I found early that gave me confidence was their compete level,” Kowalsky said. “They both looked like they have good hockey sense. Rooney, in the middle, you can really tell he has really good defensive awareness. Mingoia, he worked, he competed, he buzzed around, he won battles, got a couple shots on net. They were responsible with the puck and without it. I felt pretty confident playing them in a regular role.”