COMETS GO RUNNING WITH THE DEVILSDec 14, 2016
UTICA COMETS (10-12-1-1) vs. ALBANY DEVILS (13-11-0-1)
Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s Game: The Utica Comets do battle with the Albany Devils. Puck drop for the fourth meeting between the North Division rivals is at 7 o’clock.
Last Game: The Comets dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday, December 10th. Pascal Pelletier notched his first goal with the Comets this season and Jake Virtanen tallied his fourth goal in five games. Cole Cassels tied the game with five minutes remaining in the third period. Curtis Valk scored the lone Comets shootout goal in the loss while goaltender Michael Gartieg racked up 30 saves as his record dropped to 0-1-1.
Head-to-Head: Utica leads the season series 2-1-0-0, but are 4-11-2-0 all time against Albany. The Comets have outscored the Devils 7-5 so far this season while Carter Bancks leads the season series with three points (two goals, one assist).
Scouting the Devils: Albany has been struggling as of late, dropping their last three games. Offensively, the Devils are led by John Quenneville and Joe Blandisi with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Goaltender Ken Appleby leads the Devils netminders with a 2.01 GAA and .919 save percentage. The Devils have sunk to the bottom in the league with a power play conversersion rate of 15%. That ranks fifth worst in the AHL.
Everyone in the Mix: Jake Virtanen, Alexandre Grenier, Colby Robak, and Jordan Subban have been piling up points in the past two weeks. Virtanen has four goals in the last five games, Robak and Grenier have had an assist in the last four contests and Subban has tallied at least one point in the last three games. Grenier leads the Comets with 18 points, and Subban is fifth amongst defensemen with 17 points.
Three's Company: Prior to December 2nd, Utica had never defeated Albany in regulation. The Comets proceeded to sweep the weekend home-and-home series with a 2-1 and 3-1 win over the Devils, and will look for their third consecutive win against their in-state rival tonight.
Tame the Devil: The Comets’ penalty kill has been stellar against Albany so far this year, surrendering only two goals in 17 attempts. Utica has also successfully killed off 10 consecutive penalties against the Devils.
Got the Power: With two goals on the man advantage against Syracuse, the Comets’ power play percentage has moved to 20.0% on the season. This ranks tied for ninth in the American Hockey League. The team has scored on the power play in seven of the last eight games.
Next Game: The Comets return to action Friday night against the St. John’s IceCaps at the AUD. Puck drops at 7 p.m. It will be the first meeting at home and third of the season series against the IceCaps.