You can't give up four power-play goals and win too often, and that was the case Saturday as the Devils downed the Phantoms 5-2. Somehow Albany went from 1 for 25 coming in on the power play to 4 for 5 in this one.
Two or three of the goals were very similar, with the puck rebounding off Michael Leighton through traffic to an open Devil on the far post. Not much to do about those, except perhaps seal off the crease a bit better.
The Phantoms talked about two things after the loss:
1) Getting more pucks to net and then traffic in front. Even though they've been winning and scoring, they've been outshot in all six games.
2) Take fewer stick penalties. Three of the Phantoms' five infractions were with the stick.
There was also a very questionable disallowed goal against the Phantoms that could have changed the game. I wrote about that in my game story. That goal was by Zac Rinaldo, who I thought played an all-around strong game. He had a trademark crushing hit in the third and then avoided being baited by some rough stuff following it (see telling quotes below).
The Phantoms should get Eric Wellwood and Oskars Bartulis back from minor injuries on Sunday. Wellwood missed his second game.
Also see my game story for more on Denis Hamel, who with two goals inched closer toward Glenn Merkosky on the all-time AHL list.
Lines: Hamel/Holmstrom/Testwuide; Zolnierczyk/Akeson/Rinaldo; Sestito/Roe/Brown; McGinnPither/Harper.
Defensive pairs: Marshall/Gustafsson; Bourdon/Kessel; Jancevski/Lauridsen.
Scratches (all injured): Wellwood, Bartulis, Kalinski, Klotz, Backlund.
One disallowed goal:
"No one else saw it on our team, no clue. Huge. Huge. I mean, I think if it would have counted the game would have gone definitely a different way."
"We've got to keep skating and not use our sticks as much. The way this league is now, you can't hook, hold, can't slash, can't do nothing."
On ignoring a few Devils trying to engage him:
"I just want to play hockey. I just want to get some points, get a couple goals and work on my skill. I know I can throw a couple hits here and there that get some energy on the team, but I'm not going to waste my time with guys trying to make a rep for themselves."
On Devils' power play being the difference:
"It certainly was. Specialty teams are huge. When Albany scores four power play goals out of five goals it's big for them. I thought when we had that opportunity, we scored on the power play, it was a little bit of a bump, I saw on the replay, I thought it was kind of a questionable call. That could have been a momentum changer there if we scored. But give them credit. We took a couple of penalties in a row, they were able to capitalize. That put us behind."
On giving Albany five power plays:
"We've been very (disciplined), that's just sometimes the way it goes. You've got to move your feet. Hooking penalties, they're not acceptable. You have to move in today's game. A couple of those ones, put us back there. Give Albany credit, they kept going, got some power play goals against us and hung around the net. That's where they got most of them on those scrums, two at least."
On being outshot in all six games:
"We've been scoring some goals up until tonight. I don't think we shoot the puck enough in certain. We get in areas where we want to be fancy or make the extra pass ... We've been getting outshot a lot in game. We've been winning, which is a real plus, but I think we have to still put pucks to the net and just got in there. We end up making side or lateral passes. Now all of a sudden it's not a great pass to our partner or teammate coming up ice, all of a sudden we're going the other way. I think we need to keep the puck ahead of us a little more, especially when you go into three-in-three nights."