The Albany Devils lost their sixth straight coin toss of the season, falling, 2-1, to the Providence Bruins in a shootout Saturday night at the Times Union Center.
For the first time this season, though, they scored more than once in the shootout, but they fell, 3-2, in the ninth round after playing to a 1-1 draw through regulation and overtime.
“Every time we get in a shootout now, it’s ‘Let’s win this thing and get over the hump, out of the slump,’ ” Albany left wing Joe Whitney said. “We gave a good effort today, it wasn’t good enough, though.”
Whitney came up empty in the second round, but was bookended by goals in the first and third from Mattias Tedenby and Mike Sislo. The Bruins got tallies from Jamie Tardif and Chris Bourque, two of their regulars in shootouts, but it took David Warsofsky finding the net on his first shootout attempt of the season — a backhander past goalie Jeff Frazee at the right post — in the ninth round to win it.
“It might be in our head a little bit,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “You feel bad for the goaltenders, because we got a couple breaks and Jeff made some saves. When we got two, I thought we were going to get it. I tried some different guys who haven’t shot much this year, maybe to change it up, and I really thought we were going to pull it out tonight, but unfortunately not.”
Frazee had not played since Nov. 30, a 1-0 loss to St. John’s. He said it can be tough going so deep in a shootout.
“Every save you make, you’re really hoping the next guy is going to score for you,” he said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t. It’s too bad.”
Some of the players skating both ways lost possession while skating in for their shootout attempts. The ice was bad after 65 minutes of back-and-forth, and Kowalsky said he wished the Devils had more of a mind to shoot earlier against the big Michael Hutchinson, standing 6-foot-3 in the Bruins net.
The Devils gave up a goal on a lost faceoff in their own end, when rookie defenseman Zach Trotman used a screen to fire the puck over Frazee’s shoulder in the first period. Albany came back to tie it on a power play in the second on Whitney’s seeing-eye pass from the left boards between the legs of defenseman Kevan Miller, hitting Bobby Butler at the back door for his 10th goal of the season.
“Lars did a good job, we played catch to make it a two-on-one with that guy up top,” Whitney said. “I kind of saw Butsy go backdoor out of the corner of my eye. I tried to put a little bit of flight under it and get it through some sticks and skates, and he made a good play on the back door to tuck that one in.”
The Devils have the worst power-play conversion rate in the AHL, now at 9 percent (9-for-100). They were 1-for-8 Saturday night. The biggest disappointment was the power play that covered the first 1:46 of overtime, when they had a four-on-three advantage.
“The one that bothered me was the four-on-three, not getting a quality look,” Kowalsky said. “We’ve got some shooters out there. You’ve got to at least get a couple shots on that with traffic in front. It’s funny, because I talked this morning to the PP and said this is a game that could be determined by a power-play goal here or there. Sure enough, we got the one, but two would have won it for us, and we had the opportunity.”
The one standings point the Devils get, though, extends their point streak to six games as they head out on a road trip through Bridgeport and Norfolk next week.
“We played a really good game against a good team,” Frazee said. “They’re at the top of their division and third in the conference, so it was a big test for us tonight. We can definitely play with anybody in the league.”
Providence 1 0 0 0 1 — 2
Albany 0 1 0 0 0 — 1
Providence won shootout, 3-2.
First Period — 1, Providence, Trotman 2 (Tardif), 10:46. Penalties — Robins, Pro, double-minor (high-sticking), 6:10; Camper, Pro (high-sticking), 19:08.
Second Period — 2, Albany, Butler 10 (Whitney, Larsson), 5:58 (pp). Penalties — Button, Pro (delay of game), 4:09; Sestito, Alb (hooking), 9:26; MacDermid, Pro (roughing), 17:33; Tedenby, Alb (slashing), 18:35.
Third Period — No scoring. Penalties — Urbom, Alb (interference), 1:13; Cunningham, Pro (hooking), 13:23; Warsofsky, Pro (holding), 15:50; Trotman, Pro (high-sticking), 19:44.
Overtime — No scoring. Penalties — None.
Shootout — Providence 3 (Spooner NG, Tardif G, Bourque G, Cunningham NG, Camper NG, Sauve NG, MacKinnon NG, Caron NG, Warsofsky G). Albany 2 (Tedenby G, Whitney NG, Sislo G, Zalewski NG, Butler NG, Anderson NG, Pesonen NG, Josefson NG, Gionta ).
Shots on goal — Providence 8-13-4-4-1 – 30. Albany 12-8-8-1-0 – 29.
Power-play opportunities — Providence 0 of 3; Albany 1 of 8.
Goalies — Providence, Hutchinson 9-2-4 (29 shots-28 saves). Albany, Frazee 3-3-3 (29-28).
A — 3,441. T — 2:13.
Referee — David Banfield. Linesmen — Jim Harper, Jud Ritter.