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) – Despite falling in overtime on Wednesday in Colorado the Senators have been playing their best hockey of late. Wednesday night’s loss snapped a season-long four-game winning streak but the team’s point streak was extended to five games. To coincide with the team’s improved play has been the heightened goaltending of Craig Anderson. The 32-year-old netminder has reclaimed his title as the outright number one goalie with starts in each of the last five games. He has improved his record to 14-9-5 with a 3.18 goals-against-average and a .903 save percentage. Captain Jason Spezza made his return to the lineup against Colorado after sitting out the last four games with a hip flexor. He announced his presence with a backdoor power-play goal in the second period. Rookie Mark Stone earned his first NHL regular season assist in the game as well. The 2010 sixth round selection has notched points in back-to-back games and was rewarded with some time on the team’s top line alongside Spezza and Colin Greening. Part of Stone’s increased ice time is due to Chris Neil’s lower body injury. Neil is currently listed as out indefinitely. Erik Karlsson contributed two assists in the loss, which extended his team-leading point total to 41. Karlsson’s performance on Wednesday was coming on the heels of being named to Team Sweden’s Olympic roster. The 23-year-old Swede is the second Senator to be named to an Olympic roster. Milan Michalek was named to Czech Republic’s squad. Ottawa remains sixth in the Atlantic Division with a 19-18-8 record.
Binghamton Senators (AHL) – The East Division leading Senators saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end last Sunday at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but they quickly rebounded with back-to-back victories against Rochester and Hershey. Binghamton’s 9-1 mark in its last ten games has propelled the Senators to a 23-10-3 record. Nathan Lawson and Andrew Hammond have solidified the backend for Binghamton in net and Mike Hoffman leads the Eastern Conference’s most potent offense. The Senators’ 129 goals scored ranks first in the East and second in the AHL. Hoffman leads the team with 16 goals and 40 points in 34 games. Former Jackal Chris Wideman leads all Senators’ defensemen with five goals and 25 points in 34 games. Wideman also leads all AHL blueliners with 13 power-play assists and 18 power-play points. Danny New has remained with Binghamton since he was recalled on Dec. 16. In 11 AHL games this season New has one goal and three points. New had two goals and 11 points in 22 games with Elmira this season. Ludwig Karlsson is still searching for his first AHL point. The Swede has played in seven AHL games this year. Karlsson had four goals and 11 points in 19 games with Elmira prior to his call-up on Jan. 1.
New Jersey Devils (NHL) – New Jersey’s suffocating defensive style of play was on full display Thursday night against Dallas. The Devils dominated the possession and controlled the pace of play against the speedy Stars. Cory Schneider stopped all 26 shots he faced and earned his third shutout of the season. Schneider has been a brick wall lately with a 2-1-0 mark, a 1.01 goals-against-average and a .962 save percentage in his last three starts. Commitment to team defense is the perpetual key for the Devils’ success. New Jersey’s stout defensive zone coverage has resulted in the league’s lowest shots against per game average of 24.9. However, the offensive production is the team’s Achilles heel. The Devils average 25.7 shots per game, which is the lowest average in the NHL. New Jersey is also averaging just 2.31 goals per game, which is 26thin the NHL. The loss of Patrik Elias, who is the team’s second-leading scorer, weakens an already thin scoring attack. Given the offensive woes it seems like the perfect time for Michael Ryder to heat up. The Devils’ offseason acquisition has scored in three straight games and has goals in four of the last five contests. Ryder’s 15 goals lead the team and have provided a boost to the Metropolitan Division’s most anemic offense. New Jersey hosts Florida tonight and then heads on the road for four straight. The Devils currently sit in sixth place in the Metropolitan Division with a record of 18-18-9. On Monday many of the Olympic rosters were announced and three Devils will be international teammates in Sochi. Jaromir Jagr will participate in his fifth Olympics and will be joined by Elias and Marek Zidlicky on the Czech Republic squad. Injured forward Damien Brunner was named to the Swiss Olympic roster on Monday as well. Brunner is currently on the injured reserve list with a sprained right knee. Adam Larsson, Peter Harrold, Jacob Josefson and Elias join Brunner on the IR. Larsson was assigned to Albany on Thursday along with Alexander Urbom, who was claimed off waivers from Washington on Wednesday.
Albany Devils (AHL) – Albany stopped its four-game winless skid last night with a 3-0 victory over Springfield. Joe Whitney scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season while Scott Wedgewood shut the door at the other end. Wedgewood stopped all 21 shots he faced and earned his first AHL shutout. The second-year pro improved to 7-6-1 on the season with a 2.80 goals-against-average and a .889 save percentage. Stefan Matteau has returned from Malmo, Sweden, where he notched three goals, four points and ten penalty minutes in five games with the U.S. WJC squad. The 2012 first round selection has six goals and 13 points in 28 games with Albany this season. Artem Demkov found the back of the net last night for the first time since Dec. 14. Demkov has four goals, six points and a plus-3 rating in 14 games with Albany. The Belarus sniper has been a solid addition to the Devils’ lineup since he signed a standard players contract on Dec. 13. Demkov had ten goals and 12 points in 17 games with Elmira this year. Raman Hrabarenka has continued his strong play since being reassigned to Albany from Elmira on Nov. 5. He leads all team defensemen with 12 assists and 15 points in 23 AHL games. Hrabarenka’s three power-play goals are tied for third on the team. Riley Boychuk has two points in 17 AHL games this season. Harry Young has yet to record a point in ten games with Albany this year. He does have three fighting majors and one in each of his last two games.