In NHL/AHL Nightly Notables, the Albany Devils lose, Adirondack Phantoms win on a busy night in both leagues. But first we start out with an elite clash of original six squads with the former parent club of the Adirondack Red Wings, the Detroit Red Wings going up against the Montreal Canadiens. Former A-Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom added his seventh assist and 15th point of the year as the Wings doubled up the Habs 4-2 in Detroit.
Down in Atlanta, former River Rats Niclas Bergfors and Andrew Ladd factored into the Thrashers first goal to get the scoring started early in the first. The goal from Bergfors was his seventh, while Ladd garnered his 20th assist. However the Colorado Avalanche came on strong with two goals a piece in the last two periods to double up Atlanta 4-2.
Up in Canada, the papa Devils fared no better against the papa Sens, coming up short 3-2. Marty Brodeur was back in net, making 26 saves and picking up an assist. That assist came on former River Rats forward Patrik Elias’ fifth goal of the year for a power-play marker, knotting events at 1-1 in the second. Ilya Kovalchuk also added an assist on the goal.
Ottawa picked up two goals in the second to go up 3-1. Dainius Zubrus then chalked up his fourth goal from ex-Rat Travis Zajac and Kovalchuk to trim the deficit. However there was no scoring in the third and the Senators escaped with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Down in Dallas where former Rat Jiri Tlusty with his third goal of the year tied things up for the Carolina Hurricanes against the Stars, 1-1. Though nothing would be resolved following that second period score in the third or in OT. Thus the Stars knocked off the Hurricanes 2-1 in a shootout victory.
Meanwhile in AHL action: In two Empire State Cup tilts in Central New York the Adirondack Phantoms and Albany Devils found themselves on the good side and the bad side of a five spot, against the Syracuse Crunch and Binghamton Senators respectively. Both Albany and Adirondack held unblemished records against their East Division Thruway rivals, but only one would walk away with such a mark intact.
The Phantoms seem to own at least one AHL team this year, that being the Crunch. On the strength of three power-play goals and a flawless penalty kill holding Syracuse to 0-4, Adirondack won by an impressive final count of 5-2. In the win former Albany River Rats puck stopper Michael Leighton won his first decision between the pipes for Adirondack with 29 saves.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, Denis Hamel got the Phantoms kick started on one of those power-plays. Hamel registered his seventh goal of the season from Erik Gustafsson and Danny Syvret to tie things at 1-1. Adirondack went up 2-1 with the help of Mike Testwuide’s first, with assists credited to Captain Dan Jancevski and Gustafsson.
After Syracuse squared things at 2-2, Gustafsson rounded out his impressive second period of scoring by netting his third goal of year on the power-play from Hamel and another former River Rat Michael Ryan. That line combo would work again, up 3-2 going into the third, Ryan notched his second of the year on the power-play from Hamel and Gustafsson. The Phantoms capped off their high scoring night with a shorthanded empty netter from Eric Wellwood on assists from Gustafsson and Ryan.
In their 5-2 victory, Adirondack got a five point effort from Gustafsson, and three point nights from veterans and former Rochester Americans Hamel and Ryan. Adirondack is now 2-0 on the season against Syracuse. Their overall record is now 4-20-2-0 (10 points) finally cracking double digits in points.
Coming into the night the Albany Devils trailed the Binghamton Senators by just one point in the East Division standings. With some reinforcements back in forward and captain Stephen Gionta, alternate captain Olivier Magnan and fellow defenseman Anssi Salmela, the Devils looked wobbly like jello and unfortunately weren’t jellin’.
Salmela was a -1 with three shots, while Gionta also had a -1 with two shots and was involved in a fight against the Sens Eric Gryba. Upon getting pelted with 42 shots, Jeff Frazee made 37 stops, but was out dueled by Barry Brust whose 25 denials were good enough for the shutout. On a separate note, former Devils prospect and Albany River Rats defenseman David Hale suited up on the blue line for Binghamton.
The B-Sens totaled five goals from five different players and evened the season series between the two clubs at 1-1-0-0. Also helpful to the Senators cause was their 2-3 mark with the odd-man advantage. Albany’s record falls to 11-15-0-0 (22 points) as they return home for the next two contests.
In Charlotte, former River Rats sniper Jerome Samson tied things at 1-1 in the first against the Hershey Bears. For Samson the goal was his 15th for the Checkers and he was assisted by another ex-Rat Chris Terry. In what ultimately turned out to be a 2-1 defeat, the player of the game was former Rats netminder Justin Pogge. Pogge was blistered by 49 shots and turned away 48 of them in the hard luck loss.
In Providence, former Rats defenseman and captain Tim Conboy was involved in a couple of fights as the Portland Pirates drilled the Providence Bruins 5-1.
In an early statement game from down in Norfolk, Virgina, the Admirals knocked off the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins by a count of 4-2. Former River Rat Mike Angelidis regained a 2-1 edge Norfolk would never again relinquish in the first on his ninth of the year. The teams would trade scores in the second, while the Admirals would add one more for good measure in the third. On another note former Rats enforcer Jesse Boulerice was involved in one of three fights to occur within the first eleven seconds of the first period.