ELMIRA, N.Y. - As the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Ottawa Senators and New Jersey Devils, and the AHL's Binghamton Senators and Albany Devils, the Jackals are tasked with developing prospects throughout the organizations. The Road To The Show presented by Liberty Travel provides details on how those prospects are progressing.
Ottawa Senators (NHL) – The Senators ended a tough six-game losing streak on Monday at Tampa Bay thanks in part to Erik Karlsson’s record-setting night. The Swedish defenseman set a new franchise record with his 20th goal just 3:57 into Monday’s game. Karlsson leads all NHL blueliners in goals and points (69) in 72 games. The next closest defenseman trails Karlsson by 12 points. Goaltender Robin Lehner has performed better of late with at least 35 saves in each of the last three games. Despite earning only one win in eight games as Craig Anderson’s replacement the 24-year-old netminder has continued to battle through the tough stretch. He stopped 39 of 41 shots faced in Tuesday’s shootout loss to Florida and 35 of 38 the night before against the Lightning. Rookie Mark Stone made his mark on Tuesday’s game as well with his second career goal. Ottawa recalled the 2010 sixth-round pick on March 22 to replace the injured Bobby Ryan in the lineup. Stone had 15 goals and 38 points in 35 games with Binghamton this year. Ryan has missed the last two games with a lower-body injury after crashing hard into the boards on Saturday. He joined Mika Zibanejad, Chris Phillips and Nathan Lawson on the Senators’ injured list. Zibanejad and Phillips both missed Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury and Lawson is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury after getting hurt in mop-up duty last week against the Rangers. Ottawa has an uphill battle with ten games left to play and eight points separating it from the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Senators have a 29-29-14 record and just a 2-5-3 mark in their last ten.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – Binghamton earned four important points this weekend on the road against Norfolk. The Senators were able to distance themselves by four points over their division rival and maintain control of the East Division over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by one point. Binghamton has bounced back from a six-game skid to win five of its last six games and improve its record to 38-21-5. Stephane Da Costa has played an integral role in the Senators’ recent hot stretch. The Paris, France native has five goals and 12 points during his current eight-game point streak. The 24-year-old leads Binghamton with 38 assists and is the team’s active points leader with 56 in 53 games. Defenseman Chris Wideman has been a dish-master all season. The 24-year-old ranks fourth among AHL defensemen with 36 assists and sits sixth in points with 43. The St. Louis, Missouri native has proved to be a power-play specialist for the Senators with 20 power-play assists and 26 power-play points. Wideman’s power-play numbers rank among the top four blueliners in the league. Fellow defenseman Fredrik Claesson hasn’t been posting the gaudy offensive numbers but is the league’s most secure defenseman. The Stockholm, Sweden native leads the league with a plus-38 rating. Known mostly for the defensive awareness, Claesson has developed his offensive game this season and has a career-high 25 points in 63 games. Danny New has been the odd-man out in the defensive unit without seeing game action since March 1 but he still has 12 assists and 13 points in 31 games with Binghamton. On Tuesday Binghamton returned Danny Hobbs on loan to Elmira and added Jakub Culek, who was reassigned by Ottawa to Binghamton. Hobbs had one goal and two points in six AHL games and 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in 50 games with Elmira. Culek hasn’t registered a point in two AHL games this season but leads all Jackals’ rookies with 22 assists and 30 points in 49 games. Culek also leads the Jackals with seven power-play assists and eight power-play points.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – With ten games remaining in the regular season New Jersey is going to need to couple skill and luck if it has any shot at the postseason. The Devils are 2-2-0 during a current five-game home stand and sit 31-28-13 overall, which places them sixth in the Metropolitan Division. New Jersey is eight points behind Philadelphia for the third automatic spot in the division and five points back of the final wild card slot. Rookie defenseman Jon Merrill was instrumental in the team’s 3-2 win on Sunday against Toronto. The former University of Michigan star notched his first multi-point game in the NHL with a goal and an assist to help the Devils down the Maple Leafs. In 45 games this season with New Jersey Merrill has two goals (both are game-winners) and nine points. Joining Merrill on the scoresheet Sunday night were Damien Brunner and Patrik Elias. Brunner scored his 11th goal of the season and now has four points in his last six games. The Zurich, Switzerland native has 22 points in 50 games this season. Elias netted his 17th of the season and notched his 49th point in just his 57th game. The 37-year-old from Trebic, Czech Republic has five points in the last four games. Cory Schneider was between the pipes for Sunday’s victory and improved his record to 14-14-9. The Marblehead, Massachusetts native ranks fifth in the league with a 2.14 goals-against-average and holds a .914 save percentage. In the attempt to keep Schneider and Hall-of-Famer Martin Brodeur satisfied Peter DeBoer has split the starts almost evenly. Schneider has started 37 games to Brodeur’s 35. Brodeur has a 17-14-4 record with a 2.51 goals-against-average and a .902 save percentage.
Albany Devils (AHL) – Albany is making the final playoff push at the right time of the season. The Devils have won four of their last five and currently sit comfortably in sixth in the Eastern Conference. Albany has widened the gap between earning a playoff spot in the top eight and sitting at home during the postseason. The Devils have a 34-20-11 record and sit seven points ahead of the ninth-place team in the conference. They still trail their division rival Springfield by seven points but have made a strong push to match the Falcons’ pace. Mike Sislo has continued his solid stretch of play and has produced four goals and five points in the last four games. Sislo now has ten goals and 13 points over the last 14 games stretching back to February 21. Joining the scoring is rookie Reid Boucher who has goals in back-to-back games and boasts 18 in his first full pro season. The Devils rookie points leader, Kelly Zajac, has seven points in his last eight games. Zajac ranks third on the team with 37 points in 57 games. Defenseman Raman Hrabarenka has two multi-point games in the last four and has widened his team lead to 21 points for a defenseman. The Mogilev, Belarus native has four goals and six points in his last ten games. Fellow defenseman Adam Larsson has also been active offensively with two goals and three points in the last two games. The 21-year-old Swede has ten points in his last 13 games and now has 19 on the season, which ties his career-high. Albany has a very strong defensive core even with Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill graduating to the NHL. Hrabarenka, Larsson, Reece Scarlett, Brandon Burlon, Dan Kelly, Seth Helgeson, Corbin McPherson and Alex Urbom comprise the shutout blueline unit that has helped hold opponents to just 170 goals this season.