UTICA COMETS (24-23-9) vs. ALBANY DEVILS (32-24-2)
The Utica Memorial Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.
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Tonight’s game: The Utica Comets square up against the Albany Devils tonight for the seventh time this season and final visit of the regular season by Albany.
Last game: The Comets erupted for four goals in the first period by Darren Archibald, Joseph LaBate, Jordan Subban and Pascal Pelletier. The Senators broke the scoreless drought with a tally from Paul Ryan after the Comets third goal. The 4-1 lead was carried into the third period where the Senators closed the gap with another score. Alexandre Grenier scored an empty net goal to complete the scoring and secure the 5-2 win.
Thatcher Demko made 28 saves to move his record above .500.
Head-to-head: Utica has controlled the season series to this point with a record of 4-1-1. The lone regulation loss came in the first meeting with a 3-2 Devils win in Albany. All-time, the Comets are 6-11-3 against the Devils. Darren Archibald and Alexandre Grenier are tied for the lead with five points in the season series. Each player has scored two goals and added three assists.
Scouting the Devils: Albany won last night by a score of 4-3 to the Providence Bruins in regulation. The Devils split games last weekend against St. John’s. Since January 28, the Devils have played sub .500 hockey with a record of 7-8-0. Rookie John Quenneville leads the team with 29 assists and 40 points. Ben Sexton leads the team with 19 goals. Ken Appleby leads Albany goaltenders with a record of 16-11-0, a save percentage of .909 and a 2.44 goals against average.
Playoff picture: The Comets win last night pushed the Senators even further out of the playoff picture. However, the Comets remain behind the St. John’s IceCaps who won last night by shutting out Rochester 3-0. The IceCaps are three games above .500 and have a pair of games in Toronto to finish the weekend.
Offensive weapons: With the five-goal win last night, the Comets improved the team’s average in goals per game. After four straight games of scoring three goals or less, the Comets upped the average to 2.61. Last night marked the seventh game in 2017 in which the team has scored four or more goals.
Power play sniper: Jordan Subban leads the team with nine power play goals. His goal last night moved him into a tie with T.J. Brennan for second among defensemen in power play goals. Subban has also registered seven assist on the man advantage, moving him two points behind Alexandre Grenier for the team lead.
Home is where the heart is: The Comets are in search of a win tonight which would return them to a .500 points percentage at The AUD. The team is exceptional when protecting the late lead at home, moving their record last night to a perfect 7-0-0 when leading after two periods on home ice.
Next game: The Comets return to action tomorrow afternoon against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Puck drop from the Utica Memorial is scheduled for 3 p.m. For tickets, visit the fan ticket exchange website, StubHub!. The game can be heard on 94.9 KROCK and viewed on AHL Live.