Notes from Saturday's game
Just a couple general notes on the Albany Devils' 2-1 shootout loss Saturday to Providence:
Albany goalie Jeff Frazee was playing for the first time since Nov. 30, a 1-0 loss to St. John's. He admitted to gathering a little rust, but it was hard to tell from the one goal he allowed through 65 minutes of game play.
"There's a little rust at times," he said. "I think you've just got to stay sharp in practice, and you've got to use your time on the ice to prepare for everything."
The goal he let in was one he never saw. On a first-period faceoff in the Albany zone, to Frazee's left as he looks out from the crease, Providence's Jamie Tardif won the puck back to rookie defenseman Zach Trotman.
Trotman carried the puck out away from the boards for a couple yards, saw a screen moving into place and fired back to the top right corner of the goal, past Frazee's left shoulder.
"The guy kind of pulled it from my left to the right, and I was looking to the right, and the screen came right in front and [the shot] went back across the screen, so I didn't see anything," Frazee said.
The Devils stepped up a bit in the second and third periods, generating more scoring chances, but aside from a nice power-play goal in the second were unable to convert on those chances.
"I didn't like our first period," Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. "I thought they were a hungrier team. They were harder on pucks. I thought we ... not that we weren't ready, but we weren't ready to compete. I challenged them a bit, and they came out in the second period and played our game, which we've had success, lately, doing. It carried over to the third. We had a lot of chances."
"We had a lot of chances to score," left wing Joe Whitney said. "Their goalie played well, he did a good job blocking shots. There were a few that looked like they hurt, which were good blocks on their part. But we had chances. We followed the puck to the net in the second and third, not so much in the first. Another night, maybe one of those goes in and we get the win, but that's the game."
Despite the shootout loss, the Devils gained one standings point. It snapped their five-game winning streak, but extended their point streak to six games. All six of those games have come in the month of December.
This Providence team is a pretty good one this year, topping the Atlantic Division and holding steady near the top of the Eastern Conference at 14-8-0-2.
"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.
"We didn't get the two points, but we at least got some points toward the standings. We can take that as a positive. We haven't lost in regulation in our last six games."
"We played well," Kowalsky said. "It's not always about the result. We've talked about trying to establish an identity or set the bar for ourselves as far as how we want to play every night, regardless of the result. With the exception of not getting another one, if not two, on the power play, and getting outplayed in the first, I thought it was a real solid 40 minutes."
Earlier in the day on Saturday, Albany general manager Chris Lamoriello released a statement regarding defenseman Matt Corrente, whose shoulder injury from the previous Sunday required surgery and knocked him out for the remainder of the season.
"It's a tough loss, and you feel for the kid," Kowalsky said. "He's just been injury prone. Hopefully, he can get through this and get back to trying to play the game and play the game at a high level. It just seems to be right now, he's one of those guys early in his career who's been snakebitten and injury prone."
The Devils entered the weekend with six defensemen who were definitely healthy and two who were probably so. Raman Hrabarenka was recovering from a cut to his foot suffered during practice on Dec. 6, and captain Jay Leach was recovering from a lower-body injury.
"Raman is available now, and we're looking at Leach, potentially, for next Wednesday," Kowalsky said, meaning the upcoming Wednesday game at Bridgeport. "Our D have been playing hard. We've got some guys that are banged up, but that's what happens when you play the way we want to play, and guys are taking pride in that, so it's a good thing. But we've dipped into the depth a little bit here, and it's paid off, because we're still winning games."
Centerman Stephen Gionta returned from an upper-body injury to play Saturday. Centerman Adam Henrique (thumb) remains out, likely until late December or early January. Left wing Jean-Sebastien Berube (upper body) is out indefinitely and rehabbing in Newark.