Scott Timmins isn’t the most vocal guy in the Albany Devils’ dressing room, but he chooses his spots.
After Albany lost Game 1 of its first-round Calder Cup playoffs series against St. John’s in the final minute on Friday, he chose that spot.
“We were pretty dejected,” he said after Monday’s practice at the Times Union Center. “I just said, ‘It doesn’t matter. We’re down, 0-1, that’s the only important thing. If we lost 5-0 or 2-1, it’s the same situation. We have to have the short memory, obviously learn from the mistakes we made, but just hit the reset button. We have to win tomorrow.’ ”
He won’t take credit for Saturday’s win, though.
Whether or not his comments helped, his stick certainly did, deflecting a Mike Sislo power-play shot from the slot at 10:01 in the third period for an insurance goal in the 4-2 win.
The Devils will play Games 3 and 4 tonight and Friday, respectively, and Game 5 on Saturday, if necessary, all in St. John’s.
Being in a tough spot on the road in a short playoff series is something on which Timmins can do some more speaking.
Of the few Devils who came into this series with playoff experience, Timmins had the most at the AHL level, having played 10 games with San Antonio in the 2012 postseason. In the Rampage’s first-round series, they won two at home before dropping the next two on the road to the Chicago Wolves. The Rampage responded by winning Game 5 in double overtime.
“The situations you can reflect back on [are valuable], the mistakes you made back then, the situations you can improve upon,” he said. “The key is to put yourself in a good spot.”
The St. John’s IceCaps boast a 23-10-2-3 home record this season. They have sold out their 6,287-seat arena — Mile One Centre — each game since coming to town in 2011.
“You just make sure you get a good warm-up. The start is key, if you can get an early goal and take the crowd out of it,” Timmins said. “I don’t expect them to be quiet at any point.
“The third period, especially, we seem to let leads slip away, especially on the road. With a long season here, hopefully, we’ve learned from those mistakes and can put ourselves in a better situation going into the third period so we don’t let those mistakes happen again.”
Timmins is centering a line with Reid Boucher and Harri Pesonen. Boucher had Albany’s first goal Saturday, just 59 seconds after the IceCaps took a 1-0 lead.
Playing a simple game, Timmins said, especially early, can help the Devils steal some momentum in these road games.
“Momentum is a crazy thing, especially in the playoffs,” he said. “You can see it in the NHL, those buildings are wild. If you can, play a simple, but not boring game, then you kind of suck the life out of them.”
Centerman Kelly Zajac and defenseman Dan Kelly both sat out Monday’s practice with soreness, though neither has been ruled out for tonight’s game.
David Wohlberg practiced in Zajac’s place on the line with Stefan Matteau and Mattias Tedenby. . . .
Joe Whitney recorded 14 of his 22 regular-season goals on the road, along with 17 of his 31 assists, averaging .86 points per away game.