The Albany Devils v The Former Albany River Rats
The Albany Devils are wrapping up a road trip against the former Albany River Rats, the Charlotte Checkers.
So why is this particular road trip rare?
In the world of hockey, it is rare for two teams to play each other three or more times in a week, unless if it a playoff series, where the two teams would face each other in a 2-3-2 format for the Stanley Cup. Due to the amount of travel and distance, the two teams played three games on Saturday evening, Sunday afternoon, and Tuesday evening from downtown Charlotte, NC.
On Saturday night, the Devils were 4-3 winners off of a game winning goal in OT thanks to Adam Henrique. On Sunday afternoon, the Devils fell by a score of 2-3 as the Devils and Checkers entered Tuesday evening.
So far this season, it has been up and down for the Albany Devils, as an AHL season can be with players constantly being called up and sent down to the parent teams. From my perspective this season for the Devils has come down to special teams. Devils are first in penalty minutes in the entire AHL and also 29th in the league in their penalty kill. Having a weak penalty kill and taking on as many penalty minutes as the Albany Devils are will keep a team from succeeding. The Devils' penalty kill sunk the team Sunday afternoon as they allowed a short-handed goal. To me, allowing a short-handed goal is like an NFL team allowing a pick 6, an interception ran back for a touchdown.
The Albany Devils need to focus on solidifying their penalty kill and their power play, which is only producing at a 19% rate, which is low for the AHL. They also need to play with more discipline and not take silly penalties as they have in the past few games, such as a few roughing and boarding calls. Doing this will allow them to focus on their 5 on 5 game, and put more shots on goal, which hopefully will result in more offensive production!