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) – If Tuesday’s demoralizing 8-4 loss at home against the New York Rangers didn’t set off the alarms the Senators may not wake up in time for the playoffs. To add insult to injury Ottawa has been forging ahead without number one goaltender Craig Anderson who is still suffering from a shoulder injury he sustained when a Shea Weber blast caught him up high on March 10. Robin Lehner hasn’t taken advantage of the opportunity as the temporary starter. Lehner has allowed 13 goals in the last three games since taking over for Anderson and has seen his goals-against-average inflate to 3.24 while his save percentage has dipped to .907. Cody Ceci, who was also injured by Shea Weber on March 10, returned without missing a game and logged over 18 minutes in each of the past three. The 20-year-old rookie has seven points in 36 NHL games. On the offensive side Ales Hemsky scored his first goal as a Senator on March 15 and now has seven points in six games with Ottawa. Mike Hoffman scored his second NHL goal in Tuesday’s loss and continues to display his speed game at the NHL level. Bobby Ryan seems to be waking up from his slumber as he has accrued four points in his last five games. Ryan leads the team with 23 goals and ranks third with 48 points. Kyle Turris is right behind him with 21 goals and 47 points. Perhaps what is even more impressive with Turris is his team-leading +18 rating, which is showing he is a dependable defensive forward as well as a scoring threat. Erik Karlsson is the most lethal offensive defenseman in the world. He has five assists during his current four-game point streak and leads all NHL defensemen with 62 points. His -18 rating is anything but impressive but you have to take the risk with the reward with a skilled blueliner like Karlsson. Despite his efforts the Senators remain sixth in the Atlantic Division with a 28-27-13 record and continue to lose ground in the playoff race. Ottawa sits 14 points back of the automatic third slot in the Atlantic and seven back of the final wild card spot.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – The AHL playoff race is so tight only two points separate Binghamton from third in the Eastern Conference and being tied for eighth. After dropping six straight the Senators rebounded to win three of their last four. They currently sit atop the East Division by one point with a 36-21-5 record but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Norfolk are nipping at their heels. A big reason for Binghamton’s recent resurgence has been the stellar goaltending by Andrew Hammond. The rookie from Bowling Green University has allowed just seven goals in the last four games. Hammond has taken over for Nathan Lawson who was recalled by Ottawa on March 13 to replace the injured Craig Anderson. The 26-year-old has improved his record to 20-15-3 and holds a 2.86 goals-against-average and a .907 save percentage. Scott Greenham has been recalled from Elmira twice in the past week to backup Hammond but has not seen game action with Binghamton since January 26. Troy Rutkowski was reassigned by Ottawa to Binghamton on March 18 but did not dress in the team’s 2-1 loss Wednesday to Albany. Rookie winger Matt Puempel continues to stand out for the Senators with four goals and six points in seven games this month. The 2011 first round pick by Ottawa ranks second on the team with 24 goals and leads all Binghamton rookies with 37 points. Puempel also overtook Mike Hoffman and now leads the team with 14 power-play goals, which is tied for second in the AHL and tops among league rookies. Mark Stone has taken his game to the next level in his second season with Binghamton. Last year he notched 15 goals and 38 points in 54 games. This season he has 15 goals and 36 points in just 33 games. Stone is currently riding a three-game point streak and is averaging a point-per-game in March.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – After winning a vintage battle against Philadelphia and moving within two points of the automatic third spot in the Metropolitan Division New Jersey has lost three straight. The current losing streak has dropped the Devils to 29-27-13 and sixth in the Metropolitan. New Jersey now sits seven points out of third and five out of the last wild card spot. The Jaromir Jagr history watch continues. Last Friday Jagr scored his 22nd goal and 703rd of his career, which moved him within five of Mike Gartner for sixth on the all-time list. His assist on Tuesday brought his point total to 1,747 and just eight behind Steve Yzerman for sixth on the all-time point list. It is amazing at 42-years-old Jagr is still producing at such a high rate. 37-year-old Patrik Elias continues to defy the odds at his age as well. Elias leads the Devils with 17 power-play points and ranks second with 45 points in 54 games. The Trebic, Czech Republic native also leads the team with five shorthanded points. Adam Henrique has cooled off in his last four games after posting a six-game goal streak out of the Olympic break. The 24-year-old leads the Devils with 23 goals and ranks third with 38 points. Rookie defenseman Eric Gelinas notched his 20th assist on Tuesday and now has 27 points in 51 games. Gelinas has been a threat with the man advantage in his first pro season. The Vanier, Ontario native is tied for second on the team and ranks second among NHL rookies with 16 power-play points. The Devils will receive home cooking down the stretch with nine of their remaining 13 games on home ice. They are 16-9-7 on home ice this year, compared to a 13-18-6 record on the road.
Albany Devils (AHL) – Can anybody solve Scott Wedgewood and the Albany Devils defense? The Devils have allowed just one goal in their last three games. Wedgewood made 23 stops in Albany’s 2-0 win last Saturday and needed just 13 saves to earn his second consecutive shutout the next night against Syracuse. His record shutout streak of 164:22 came to an end when Matt Puempel scored in the second period of Wednesday’s game against Binghamton. But Wedgewood and the Devils would get the last laugh with a late comeback in the third for a 2-1 victory and their third win in a row. Reid Boucher scored on the power-play and was followed by Mike Sislo on the breakaway less than five minutes later to propel the Devils to victory. Boucher’s 17th of the year ranks third on the team and leads all Albany rookies. Sislo, who also assisted Boucher’s tally, moved himself into the team lead with 22 goals and sits second with 38 points. He now has nine goals and 12 points in his last 12 games and four points in the last two. Harri Pesonen has three goals and five points in his last six games. The 25-year-old Finnish product has 11 goals and 27 points in his second pro season with Albany. Raman Hrabarenka scored his sixth of the year and notched his 13th assist in Sunday’s victory. The Mogilev, Belarus native leads all team defensemen in goals and points in just 37 games. The Devils are streaking at the right time and have improved their record to 33-20-10, which places them sixth in the Eastern Conference currently. Their stalwart goaltending, stout defense and timely scoring has the Devils within reach of their first postseason since relocating to Albany.