Shootout unkind to the Devils
The shootout has not been kind to the Albany Devils this season. They've been in three in their first 11 games, and they've lost all three, all in the last five games.
In their first shootout, the Devils were shutout by Connecticut goalie Cameron Talbot. Jeff Frazee allowed just one in the shootout, but got no support from the lineup of Mattias Tedenby, David Wohlberg, Bobby Butler, Adam Henrique and Jacob Josefson.
In Friday's 2-1 shootout loss to Providence, Matt Anderson beat Providence goalie Niklas Svedberg, but Svedberg stopped Butler, Joe Whitney, Josefson and Henrique.
Monday afternoon, Whitney put Albany ahead 1-0 in the third round, but nobody else could beat Frederik Andersen. He stopped Anderson, Butler, Josefson and Adam Larsson.
"I think we've scored one goal or less in all those shootouts, so it's not on our goalies," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "It's on our shooters. We've got some guys who can shoot the puck. Even again tonight, Whitney made a nice move. But you've got to have a shoot-first mentality."
Larsson wasn't expecting to get the call for the fifth round.
"I was a little bit surprised," he said. "But you want to be in those moments. It's a lot of fun, but I think this time, it wasn't my turn. I scored my goal in the game. I was disappointed that we lost today."
Larsson's shot was gloved down by Andersen. So was Butler's shot. The Devils got their second goal of regulation, though, when Tim Sestito went glove-side with a bottle-popping backhander. Whitney mimicked that shot in the shootout, backhanding the puck up into the top netting. Kowalsky wanted his team to test Andersen's glove, hence the righty shooters Anderson, Butler and, yes, Larsson in the shootout.
"I thought their goalie is a big guy, but he kind of had a lazy glove," Kowalsky said. "We had talked about that during the game and before the game. Whitney made the move to his backhand and beats him. Anderson, Butler ... we went with three right-hand shots for that reason. But again, they didn't shoot the puck the way we thought they should have."
The Devils get some practice during the week for the shootouts, but Larsson thinks maybe they could use a little more, even though he doesn't care much for the paper-rock-scissors finish after 65 minutes of hard-fought hockey.
"We have been struggling, that's just facts," Larsson said. "We have to focus on that, maybe in the practices, and let guys who are going to do those penalty shots, they have to focus on it and be ready when they get a chance. I see the penalty [shots] as a lottery. I don't really think it's not good to end the game with."
Norfolk coach Trent Yawney's comments about his team's ability in the shootout echoes those of Larsson.
"Flip a coin," he said. "Like everybody else, you never know. They're kind of a bit of a crapshoot."
Yeah, but the fans love 'em.