In Rinkside Roundup a very big roundhouse was delivered to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the form of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Evgeni Malkin scored just seven, that’s right seven seconds into the game which opened the floodgates leading to five first period goals. After two periods the Pens held a seven goal advantage and Chris Kunitz already posted a hat-trick. Pittsburgh went on to an 8-1 domination of the Lightning.
Locally the New York Rangers the first goal in the NHL career of Mats Zuccarello’s was an overtime winner as the Blueshirts skated past the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1.
Down in Florida former Albany River Rats Niclas Bergfors and Andrew Ladd got into the scoring act. Bergfors lit the lamp to put Atlanta out front with his eighth on the year in the first. Ladd for his part had two helpers on the night, including the Bergfors goal and Rich Peverly’s eventual winner in the second. On the Panthers side of things former Rats keeper Scott Clemmensen was perfect in turning away all 16 shots he faced, but it was too little too late for Florida as they fell to the Thrashers 3-2.
Around the “A” It was a game between teams with the worst two records in the AHL and after a rather lethargic first period, boy oh boy it sure as heck looked like it. Hard to believe that two clubs involved in three scraps just five days and 46 miles ago could appear so dead in what’s supposed to be a heated rivalry.
Flashing forward to the second period and it was the start of a big night for two former Albany River Rats. First it was Stephen Gionta for the Devils driving to the net and flipping the puck over Phantoms goalie Brian Stewart for the 1-0 advantage.
Following Gionta’s goal was Michael Ryan whacking home a loose puck for in front of Devils keeper Jeff Frazee to pull Adirondack even with his sixth on the season.
Moving along to the third just 55 seconds in it was the Devils Captain Gionta once again to re-take the lead for Albany on a bang-bang pass from Michael Swift. Swift with two helpers on the night extended his point streak to nine games. Chad Wiseman was also credited with assists on both goals as well. Contrary to some local sports hack (cough cough Rodger Wyland) it was a two goal night for Gionta, who now has six on the year.
However not too long after, Ryan went back to work for the Phantoms. On a play where the netminder Frazee looked completely unaware, Ryan wrapped around the net and stuffed the tying goal in the cage for his seventh on the season.
After a scoreless OT session it was onto a shootout. Ryan got the Phantoms on the board beating Frazee. After trading misses, the Devils got three straight from Chad Wiseman, Matt Anderson and Adam Henrique to go up 3-1, just one save or one goal away from a victory.
But the Phantoms finally got the book on Frazee and waited him out until he would bite and go down on a shot attempt. Adirondack stormed back with tallies from Eric Wellwood, Ben Holmstrom and finally the clincher from Jonathon Kalinski. Phantoms netminder Stewart was able to turn away the final three Devils shots as Adirondack picked up the extra point. One thing that left most fans flummoxed was the fact that Gionta and his two goals were not used by coach Rick Kowalsky in the shootout contest.
So the Phantoms have now passed the Devils in the Empire State Cup standings, Time Warner Cable Cup series standings and after this game leave many wondering amazingly how long it will be until they pass them in the East Division standings.
Former Albany River Rats Captain and defenseman Tim Conboy registered an assist for the Portland Pirats as they put away the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5-3.
After getting smoked Tuesday by the SWB Penguins the Charlotte Checkers were downed once again in the teams’ second meeting in three days, however this time they earned a point for their efforts in a shootout. During regulation Chris Terry notched his 16th goal of the year to tie things at 1-1 for the Checkers with the assists going to Michal Jordan and Bryan Rodney. Jerome Samson’s shorthanded goal and 19th of the year put the Checkers up 2-1 in the second before the Pens tied things shortly thereafter. Charlotte netminder Justin Pogge made an incredible 40 saves in the loss.