Devils win in shootout
The Albany Devils got the job done in the shootout, a rare occurance for them this season, to secure one more standings point and remain one point out of the playoffs, beating Adirondack, 3-2. They won the shootout, 3-0.
Adirondack's Jason Akeson got the scoring started in the first period, riding some momentum from his first pro hat trick a night earlier. Albany's Joe Whitney drew the Devils even 20 seconds into the second period, then Mike Sislo fired a shot through goalie Brian Boucher at 12:28 in the second for a 2-1 lead.
At 18:58, though, Jon Sim deflected a Cullen Eddy shot from the point to tie it up.
The Phantoms outshot the Devils, 36-21, in the game, most of that coming in the first and third periods when they combined to outshoot Albany, 24-7.
"I really liked our effort here today," Adirondack coach Terry Murray said. "I thought we, right from the very beginning, had a good attitude with the three games in two and a half games. It's a hard game, and it's hard to find the energy sometimes, and you have to just find different ways to get the job done. I thought we dug in with a good team attitude and pressured the puck pretty much all night long. We had a lot of good chances, we're just having a tough time scoring."
The Devils were playing without Jacob Josefson after he left in the last minute of the first period. He took a puck to the head, behind his right ear. Kowalsky said it wasn't much of a cut, and he may have been held out more from a bit of a woozy feeling after being hit.
The Devils got no shots on goal in the overtime period, which isn't overly surprising. They have gone past regulation 13 times this season, and only one of those games ended in overtime. It was a loss. Four-on-four hasn't been their strong point, but it hasn't been a weak point either.
They got to the shootout, where they were 2-10 in 12 tries before Sunday, and they were perfect. Wedgewood stopped Akeson, then Albany's Mike Sislo scored. Adirondack's Andreas Lilja lost the handle, then Phil DeSimone scored. Wedgewood stopped Matthew Ford, then Matt Anderson ended it by beating Brian Boucher over his glove shoulder.
"DeSimone, bumped him up a bit in the order. I don't necessarily have my shooters always right in order," Kowalsky said. "I have a rough idea. Anderson's had some recent success, so depending on how it goes, you want to save him, but once we got the first two. ... Sislo's usually early, if not my first guy, and we use Wiseman early, too. Once we got the first two, I kind of wanted to close out if we could, and we did."
Anderson scored his 200th AHL point with the secondary assist on Whitney's goal.
"To reflect a little bit, it's definitely been a lot of fun," Anderson said. "My first few years, playing in the playoffs. Now trying to get back into that mode and playing the style of hockey we're playing. Then this year, getting a couple games in the NHL, I'm just so blessed. I really am. I could probably get choked up right now. I'm so thankful. I've had so many people supporting me. It's been a great ride."
Whitney now has a four-game goal streak going. He has five goals and two assists in that time. In his last seven games, he has nine goals and three assists. In his nine games against Adirondack, he has seven goals and five assists. He leads the team with 21 goals and 39 points.
The Phantoms are last in the Eastern Conference, but they pulled five of a possible six points out of the weekend. That still doesn't have Murray talking playoffs.
"We talked about it several times in team meetings," he said. "It's a mountain that's there in front of us. You've got to have hope all the time. If you ever lose hope as an organization or a team, the mountain gets to be very difficult. We talk about it, we understand our position. We want to keep improving as individuals, keep improving as a team, and if you do that, at least you have a reason to go out and give your best effort every night. Go back before this weekend, we needed something like 37 out of 42 points just to get into the minimum of last year's eighth-place playoff team. So we understand how hard it is. So it's fun right now. You can still have fun and you can still improve and try to continue to put your culture in place and get it set up for next year."